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Playhouse reunites cast of Christmas past

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SANDRA SANCHEZ
Contributing Writer

It’s in Season

In the heart of downtown, the Harbor Playhouse is preparing for their holiday production.

The most recent show they will host, per director Joseph Muniz, is the Broadway version of “A Christmas Carol” written by Alan Menken. This show will feature every weekend between, Nov. 17 and will end Dec. 17. This marks the eighth annual showing of this musical in Corpus Christi.

“Out of every show that I have worked with, ‘A Christmas Carol’ has a special feeling in my heart,” Muniz said. “This is the show that I love the most, this play or musical is the lyrical version that Alan Menken produced. He has Broadway heavy hitters like Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’.”

From working as either a stage manager or a director, Muniz has proclaimed that he is not an actor and prefers to work behind the scenes. He is very organized and enjoys the people that he works with while bringing this whole production together.

“I am a behind the scenes kind of guy,” Muniz, who has worked with the musical since 2008, said. “I have been on stage, but I do not like the limelight, I started off as a technician and I love putting it all together but, behind the scenes.”

He started off helping by painting sets for the Harbor Playhouse and because his daughters loved the theatre, it inspired him to get more involved. He has met many people along the way who have helped him and guided him in the theatre. Muniz said there is much to expect from the production this year because they added more special effects to the musical and he is looking forward to how the audience will react. He is excited about the whole musical and didn’t want to give too many details about it because he wants it to be a big surprise for whomever comes out to see it.

It takes a Village to Raise the Curtains

There is a lot that must be done to make a musical like “A Christmas Carol” and all the other plays that the playhouse produces. Muniz says that everyone has their role in putting everything together and a large amount comes from volunteers. The playhouse is a community theater and is a nonprofit, so they rely on volunteers to help and to play roles in the productions.

“We have a family that has worked with us since 2010,” Muniz said. “their daughter was 10 when we they started and now she is 16 years old and still participates in the plays. Without our passionate volunteers, there would be no show.”

The cast are volunteers which participate in working behind the scenes as technicians or building sets. Bonnie Rodda has worked with the playhouse since 2013 and said a lot goes into organization before a musical or play can be produced.

“There is a lot that we do before a show is ready,” she said. “We must go through procedures to get the licensing and that requires paying certain required fees. We rely on donations and volunteers spend six weeks preparing and always deliver a wonderful performance,” Rodda said.

Both Muniz and Rodda said shows at the Harbor Playhouse would not exist without the community and their involvement.

90 YEARS with help of the Community

The year 2016 marks 90 years that the Harbor Playhouse has been open and so many people have walked through their doors to help or act in the plays. From Lou Diamond Phillips who was in the motion picture “La Bamba,” to Jeremey Jordan who was in “Supergirl” and “Smash.” The Harbor Playhouse opened in 1925 but was called Little Theatre of Corpus Christi and then transitioned to Harbor Playhouse Company in the 1972. It has been around for a very long time and many people not only outside of the community but within, has contributed to the playhouse in some way another. Muniz says that every year the company has new volunteers.

“More than 500 volunteers give their time…. 10,000+ hours per season,” Muniz says. “Volunteers range in age from 5 to 80 and at the end, we all have become family.”

Located in the cultural heart of Corpus Christi, The Harbor Playhouse’s upcoming year will consist of six shows. Some of the shows that will be held at the playhouse in 2017 include, DreamWorks “Madagascar” and Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” To commemorate the 90 years of being open, The Harbor Playhouse is planning something special.

“In February, we are planning something big to celebrate our 90-year mark. We are collaborating with someone famous and cannot wait for the community to see it,” Rodda says. “They deserve it because of all the help and contributions they have provided to the Harbor Playhouse.”

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