ABC Players Present “Charlotte’s Web the Musical”

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You’ve probably seen numerous sales or events advertising “Christmas in July.”

But what about “July for Christmas?”

That’s the situation with the Athenian-Berean Community Players’ Christmas offering, Charlotte’s Web the Musical, set in a typical Midwestern rural community in mid-summer.

The theme of the play, however—that sacrificing something of yourself for the benefit of a friend is a mark of true friendship—is perfectly appropriate for the holiday season.

Show times are 7 p.m. on Dec. 4-5 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 5-6. Get a preview by listening to a Conversations from Studio B show with Director Jodi MacNeal and cast members.

Based on E.B. White’s beloved classic book, the play tells the story of two unlikely friends—Wilbur, a piglet who is the runt of the litter, and Charlotte, a spider living in the barn. When John Arable, the farmer, is about to dispose of the tiny pig as too much trouble, his daughter Fern pleads for his life. Fern’s Uncle Homer agrees to raise Wilbur, but the other barnyard animals remind Wilbur that most pigs eventually become ham and bacon.

Charlotte comes to the rescue by spinning words into her web: “Some Pig,” “Terrific” and “Radiant.” The farm families decide that the miraculous descriptions mean Wilbur is destined for better things, and Uncle Homer declares that, if Wilbur wins a blue ribbon at the county fair, he can live out his days on the farm. But will Charlotte’s descriptions be enough to cinch the blue ribbon — especially when the time is coming for her to lay her eggs and pass her web on to her children?

With music and lyrics by Charles Strouse (whose other credits include Annie and ‘Bye, ‘Bye Birdie) and book by Joseph Robinette (a national award-winning children’s playwright), Charlotte’s Web provides a toe-tapping, upbeat experience for the whole family.

Caleb Bryant, an eighth-grader at Trimble Middle School, plays Wilbur the pig, and Zoie Lanning, a ninth-grader at Trimble High School, plays the spider Charlotte. The farm families include Martha and John Arable (Lee Carter and Joe Balding) and their children Avery (Orion Carter) and Fern (Sydni Roell), as well as Uncle Homer and Aunt Edith (Sandy Russell and Celeste Parsons) and their farmhand Lurvey (Tanner Sebastian).

The barnyard animals and county fairgoers are brought to life by a large ensemble, including Avery Brooks, Ethan Cooper, Emily Davis, Catalina Dixon, Gianna Dixon, Jade Frame, Paige Fuller, Clay Fuller, Annie Haseley, Teagan Hughes, Allyriane Huq, Elena Johnson, Brandi Kisor, Sydney Lewis, Tatum L’Herueux, Brittan Posey, Eden Radcliff, Harmony Radcliffe, Kaela Ricket, Becca Robinson, Sean Wendelken and McKenna Williams.

Although you might want to leave those summer flip-flops and shorts at home, MacNeal promises “You’ll leave the theater with a warm heart.”

Caroling in the lobby will follow the show. Continuing traditions established in previous years, tickets are $7, no seats are reserved, and all proceeds from ticket sales will go to Stuart’s Opera House. Money collected in tip jars at the refreshments counter will be donated to the Nelsonville Food Cupboard.