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Sandy Actors Theatre Presents “A Nice Family Christmas”

By Sandy Actors Theatre

Sandy Actors Theatre Presents “A Nice Family Christmas”

On Friday, November 24, Phil Olson’s “A Nice Family Christmas” will open at Sandy Actors Theatre, continuing every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. through December 17.
It’s Christmas Eve, and a young newspaper reporter on the brink of being fired is assigned a last-chance story about a typical family Christmas. He goes home to his recently widowed mother, his crazy uncle, his eccentric grandmother, his battling siblings and their neurotic spouses, who provide no shortage of material. One by one, we learn each family member’s secrets, problems and dysfunctions. When they learn that he’s writing an article with some very personal information, the fruitcake hits the fan. Will the magic of Christmas bring this family back together?

At 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22, the Wy’East Artisans Guild will present their Gallery Opening of “Ho, Ho, Ho.” Join the artists as they share how humor and time with friends and family inspired them. At 7:30 pm, following the opening, guests are invited to a full preview presentation of the play. Donations to the theater and guild are most appreciated.

Carl, the young journalist who fears for his job, is played by Dean, Julie [sic] who says she has been active in performance art since “Frankenstein vs. the Werewolf” was made in 1972. “I identify with so many little things in this play,” she said. “Each character has their own story that connects them to the family. They find that love is the great equalizer.”

Thelina O’Daniel portrays Mom. “I’m channeling ‘That 70’s Show’ Mom character: nice hairdo, keeps the peace and just wants everyone to get along,” O’Daniel says. “She loves her kids from a distance.”
The matriarch of the family is played by Lexi Dillon, longtime member of SAT, who played Cassandra in “Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike” in 2021, and in 2023, Julia in “Lend Me a Tenor.” “Grandma has a wild sense of humor,” Dillon says, “She doesn’t let a good story be dictated by truth.”

Jill, one of the siblings, is played by Morgan Amburn-Cauch, who was a theater major in college and acted in dozens of plays; this is her first show in 15 years. “As a neurodivergent person on the autism spectrum, theater and the arts gave me a place to belong, the community that I always craved,” Morgan said.
Uncle Bob is played by Ron Palmblad, who has played the Mayor of MunchkinLand in “The Wizard of Oz,” as well as Candy in “Of Mice and Men.” “This is a fun, light-hearted tale, sort of a Mom’s Family Up North,” Palmblad said.

Hanna Russell plays the part of Stacy, the youngest. “I’m a middle child, and I can relate to the teasing and bickering between siblings in this show,” she said. Russell has been Mr. Poole and Mrs. Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol,” as well as Ms. Gulch and the wicked witch of he west in “The Wizard of Oz.”
Grady Voigt plays Michael. He was Will Parker in “Oklahoma!” in middle school and Glenn Cooper in SAT’s production of “Rumors” last year. Voigt’s motto is “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” a Wayne Gretzky quote. Diane Etter directs this performance and is president of SAT’s board of directors. She was stage manager for SAT’s presentation of “Fox on the Fairway.” She said her view of life is “The grass may be greener on the other side, but it still has to be mowed.”

Ruthanne Kendrick, stage manager, played in last month’s SAT production of “Bad Year for Tomatoes” as Myra Marlowe, Myrtle Durdle and Sister Sadie. She says she has been intermittently involved in theater all her life and welcomes this opportunity to learn more about the backstage aspects of the craft.

Tickets for adults are $20, senior citizens and veterans $18, and children $15. All may be purchased at the door or online. Concessions are $2. Sandy Actors Theatre is located behind Ace Hardware in Heritage Plaza, 17433 Meinig Avenue, Sandy. Additional parking is available across Meinig Avenue in the Sandy River Center. Please do not park in Ace Hardware designated spaces. For additional information, please visit or find us on Facebook.

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