The Lompoc High School drama department will present the Christmas musical “Yes, Virginia” in a series of performances set to begin Saturday at the school’s Little Theater.

The play, first produced in 2012, is a family-friendly, one-act musical that explores the common childhood question: “Is Santa Claus real?” With music by Wesley Whatley and lyrics by William Schermerhorn, the show is an adaptation of the animated special and storybook by Chris Plehal.

The musical will open at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. It will continue with a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday, and then return for another 7:30 p.m. show Dec. 8. There will be two performances, at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Dec. 9, and then the closing performance at 2 p.m. Dec. 10.

The theater will open for general seating 30 minutes before showtime. Tickets are $5 and are on sale at Wild West Pizza and Grill, 1137 North H St., and at the LHS Activities Office, 515 W. College Ave.

The musical is set in 1897 New York City, where 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon has always loved Christmas. When her classmates question whether Santa Claus is real, Virginia ventures into the city to find out for herself. Along the way, she consults some unusual characters, including a scraggly Santa ringing a bell and an excitable librarian with a shelf full of Christmas books.

Unable to find the answer she’s looking for, Virginia writes to the editor of an area newspaper, a curmudgeon of a man named Mr. Church. Virginia’s determination ultimately gets Mr. Church to write a response — an answer that becomes the most famous newspaper editorial of all time.

Lompoc High drama students and director Sarah A. M. Barthel have worked diligently to prepare for opening night. The cast of nearly 50 includes many students from several local elementary schools, including Los Berros Visual & Performing Arts Academy.

Most of the principal roles are shared between two actors. Teagan Thompson and Kandace Flowers share the role of Virginia. James Aranguren and Cole Beattie double as Scraggly Santa, and Brianna Garrett and Erin McCallon share the role of Miriam, the librarian. Nicolas Lo appears as Virginia’s best friend Ollie, Scarlett Rains as her nemesis Charlotte, and Jacob Hensley as the cranky Mr. Church.

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A live combo will provide the accompaniment for the show. Rachel Mello will be at the keyboard, with Geoff Moran and Sean Causby on percussion. The dance numbers were choreographed by Riley Ranjo with assistance from Lainey Ranjo. Students from Lompoc High’s Technical Theatre class will provide the lighting, sound and costume designs.

The young performer coordinator is Diane Logan. Production assistance is from Alyssa Prieto.

For more information, contact Barthel at barthel.sarah@lusd.org.

This report was prepared by Willis Jacobson. He can be reached at wjacobson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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