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Tired faces all around, exhaustion starting to set in - it's just another hard day's work in the theatre. Preparations are underway at the Freed Center for the Performing Arts for the Holiday Spectacular, one of the oldest traditions at Ohio Northern University. This year is a new beginning for Holiday; many new cast members have come in, leaving some rather big shoes to be filled by this year's cast, including the very important roles of Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

"I'm very nervous to be playing Santa," said Kyle Roby, a senior social studies major from Bluffton, Ohio. "It's my favorite holiday, but on the stage things can get crazy quickly." Roby, who is playing Santa for the first time, said, "This role is challenging. I thought this would be easy because we see those guys in the malls. But kids can spot a fake, and that puts a lot of pressure on me."

"Playing Mrs. Claus is wonderful, and she's such a wonderful little old lady. It's an honor to play her," said Molly Howard, a senior music education major from Coudersport, Pa.

Roby and several other new students have created an interesting mix of new and old talent.

"There are a lot of new people this year," said Lauren Betz, a senior psychology major from South Euclid, Ohio. "It's been a big challenge having people who know what they're doing and others that have no idea. It makes staying up to speed a challenge."

As an Ada native, Sydney Kuhlman, a senior communication arts major and four-year veteran of the show, realizes how important the Holiday Spectacular is for the community. "For many of the kids in Ada and Lima, this is their Christmas, and it means a lot to us that we can bring some joy to those who are underprivileged. They get to see Santa after the show, and it just means a lot to the kids."

Christmas on stage also can take a toll on the actors.

"The show really works your stamina, and it's hard to keep up with everything always jumping around," said Tricia Hofacker, a senior communication arts major from Casstown, Ohio, who plays Pixel the Elf. "The thought that I might inspire a child to someday take part in the theatre makes it worth it."

Nathan Mirolo
Junior communication arts major from West Jefferson, Ohio