SHEFFIELD– Start your holiday season with music and laughs at the Ritz Theatre! A top-notch cast of local actors will perform Sanders Family Christmas on Nov. 12-13 and 18-20. This heartwarming musical comedy features 25 Southern gospel Christmas classics. Tickets are $15-$25 and are available now at tennesseevalleyarts.org. Group rates are available by calling 256-383-0533.
The setting of the play is December 24, 1941, and America is going to war. So is Dennis Sanders, of the Sanders Family Singers. The audience will join Pastor Mervin Oglethorpe and the rest of the Sanders family, as they send Dennis off with hilarious and touching stories, along with plenty of heartfelt music.
The play is a Christmas-themed sequel to the classic Smoke on the Mountain, which The Ritz produced in 2020. Directing team Laura Connolly and Andrew Maples have brought back most of their original cast for Sanders Family Christmas.
While the sequel stands on its own, the audience will enjoy the lived-in feel that the returning cast provides.
“Having played these characters before, we know them quite well,” says William Freeman, one of the returning cast members. “We don’t have to figure out who they are, or how they would act/react to things. We’re very comfortable with one another. That means that we really do look and feel like a family, and it shows to the audience.”
Freeman says the show is “a very unique way to start your holiday celebrations. It’s full of
Gospel songs and a host of Christmas tunes that will lift the spirit.”
“This is the perfect show for someone who ‘doesn’t do theatre’ or has never been to live theatre, because it’s less like a play and more like attending an old time sing,” says Freeman. “The 4th wall is broken from the very beginning and you’re a church member or visitor attending a sing on
Holiday events at The Ritz will continue throughout December. The annual Christmas Cabaret returns to the intimate Ritz Studio on December 1, 2, and 3. Public performances of the children’s theatre play Prancer will take place on December 10. A screening of Polar Express with Santa and trolley ride will be on December 16 and 17, and other Christmas classics will also return to the big screen in December.
For more information about the Tennessee Valley Art Association, which runs the Ritz Theatre and the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art, call 256-383-0533 or visit tennesseevalleyarts.org.