Two Holiday Plays to Hit the Whitefish Stage

By Beacon Staff

The end of the calendar year signals a time for holiday celebrations of all sorts; people everywhere celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Yule, and more. It’s a season as diverse as the people who celebrate it.

That sentiment is why the Bet Harim Jewish Community will host its second annual Community Holiday Celebration, with a performance of “This Wonderful Life” and another of “A Christmas Carol.”

Ina Albert of Bet Harim said the idea is to celebrate community with the people of the Flathead, regardless of religious affiliation.

“It’s so exciting because it’s the one time when we all celebrate together,” Albert said last week. “It’s not overtly Christian, it’s not overtly Jewish; it’s not overtly anything except a good time and classic entertainment.”

On Thursday, Dec. 27, Luke Walrath of the Alpine Theatre Project will take the stage in “This Wonderful Life,” a one-man show that follows the classic tale of the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Walrath, an ATP founder and veteran Broadway performer, will play the whole cast of characters, including George Bailey, Clarence the Angel, Mr. Potter, Mary Bailey and more.

Then, on Dec. 29, another ATP founder – David Ackroyd – will perform a one-man show recreating Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol,” playing the roles of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, the three Ghosts of Christmas, and many more.

Both shows take place at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for children under 12 years old. They are available at Village Shop in Kalispell, Sweet Peaks and the Imagination Station in Kalispell and Whitefish, and at the door.

At each performance, members of Bet Harim will light the menorah, and Albert said she has written a story for children about a Jewish elf to help educate them about other religions. That story will be given to audience members, Albert said.

Albert said the performances come as part of a vision Bet Harim has been putting into action in the past five years – the idea that religious affiliation shouldn’t separate a community, and that differences should be celebrated.

“The whole idea is that we live together in harmony and that it’s a caring community we live in here,” Albert said.

She said she hopes the multi-faith celebration will serve as inspiration for others around the valley, and that it brings hope during the coldest part of the year.

“We should be in the community, creating a caring community, contributing to everyone getting along,” Albert said.

For information on tickets to both shows, call 406-862-7469 or 406-314-4345.