“It’s (Still) a Wonderful Life.” Memories of Frank Capra, Jimmy Stewart, and a visit with the Cast of Christmas Carol. Holiday Wishes from OWC

On this Christmas Eve, 2020, and throughout the coming year, we at OWC RADiO and Other World Computing have a very special wish for you: That you will be happy and surrounded by love. Cirina Catania reminisces about family holidays in the past and Sundance memories with Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart as she talks about the film, “It’s a Wonderful Life. ” She also paid a “virtual” visit to the cast of “Christmas Carol” that has been performing in Thousand Oaks for many years! Allison Williams, Debbie Price, Richard Winterstein, Terry Fishman, and Vanessa Sichmeller, are here with us on OWC RADiO!

Frank Capra, Director; Jimmy Stewart, Star of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” with Cirina Catania, in the early years of Sundance.
Christmas Carol cast
“A Christmas Carol,” is dark this holiday season, but the memories live on, along with hope for next year.
The cast tells their story in this episode of OWC RADiO with Host, Cirina Catania.

Yes, this is the season that makes people nostalgic. But it brings peace and happiness to our hearts.

This year, all our favorite holiday venues are closed, but we can still come together to share a few moments of friendship and cheer. Charles Dickens would be very proud of us!

So, for a few minutes, let’s enjoy the holiday spirit, give thanks to those who came before us and look towards a bright New Year.

We are grateful to Larry O’Connor, Jen Soule and all the wonderful folks at OWC who make this show possible. And we are looking forward to a great New Year!

In This Episode

  • 03:24 – Cirina introduces the cast members of Thousand Oaks Repertory Corporation’s, A Christmas Carol.
  • 07:06 – Cirina talks about Terry Fishman and Allan Hunt. As the cast’s senior members, they have performed 25 straight years.
  • 15:06 – William Burgos expresses his disappointment about the cancellation of the play. He also shares how the cast developed deeper relationships and were somehow thrown out the window because of the pandemic.
  • 22:33 – Debbie Price explains how difficult it is for the cast members and crew to go back to reality after the show is finished. They have been so used to spending time together in rehearsals almost every day.
  • 28:09 – Debbie Price speaks for the whole cast and crew of Thousand Oaks Repertory Corporation, A Christmas Carol. They are hopeful that their industry will soon be able to get back to do what they love doing. 

Jump to Links and Resources


Christmas is almost here, and many of us are thinking about our beloved traditions. For me, an army brat, growing up in Europe, it was always the season to enjoy going to the ballet, or classical concert, musical theater, or play with my family. After Christmas it was most often a trip to a ski resort in Switzerland, Austria or Germany. I grew up, moved to the states and now have children of my own. And when my daughters were little, we would travel back east to visit the Italian family, always leaving time to go into the city to see the Rockettes, enjoy the breathtaking, majestic tree at Rockefeller Center. Eat hot chestnuts and I escaped joyfully albeit a bit clumsily, to holiday music at the rink. On Christmas Eve, we would light a fire, bake cookies, burn our hands making popcorn balls, then play games and the glistening lights of our own colorful tree with both heirloom and homemade decorations. Outside, a nativity scene reminded us of the true meaning of the holiday. And we always hunker down to enjoy family time as we watch the angels rescue George Bailey in Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed. I’m reminiscing that I was lucky to be able to spend time with both Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart. When I was directing the Sundance Film Festival. Mr. Capra told me kiddingly that I was a Gouda girl, and we had many laughs together in those few days amidst Utah snowfalls. Before he left, he pinched my cheek and asked me to send him my copy of his book, the name above the title and autobiography so he could write me a message in it. Life got away from me, the festival wrapped for another year, and I got back to work making movies. It would be years before I thought about that book again. I never got it signed before he passed away. So many beautiful traditions, memories and thoughts have around us at Christmas. It’s a fact of life that many of our holiday traditions will be altered this year because of the lockdowns. Concert and theater venues, restaurants, stores, churches gathering places worldwide are closing. And we will have to find other ways to celebrate the love we have for each other as we create memories. One theater troupe in Thousand Oaks California, has been performing a brilliant version of A Christmas Carol for many years, both in the theater and for schools in the area. In November, I reached out to them in the hopes that they would somehow be able to find a solution and continue sharing their creativity with young and old in their community. This story is not a sad one. It is a reminder of all the things we hold dear.

Many of our holiday traditions will be altered this year because of the lockdowns. Concert and theater venues, restaurants, stores, and church gatherings are closing. We will have to find other ways to celebrate our love for each other as… Click To Tweet

This is Cirina Catania with OWC radio I have quite a few people who are active members and have for a long time been performing with a Thousand Oaks Repertory Company. Now it’s very unusual to have this many people on the line at once, right guys? So we’re probably going to be talking over each other and figuring out who’s talking but I don’t care. And I’ll tell you why I wanted to do this today. The pandemic has kept a lot of creative people from meeting in person, from rehearsing together, from performing together. And I grew up doing live local theater, like in the theater and plays with people that I ended up caring about very, very much. So it occurred to me that Debbie Price who produces OWC Radio has been a longtime member and I said to Debbie, “Do you think we could get some people from your theater group on and talk to them about how this is affecting them?” So I’m gonna real quick do a roll call, first of all, Debbie Price, who is also the producer of OWC Radio has been part of this for what? Fifteen years now? Many many roles; Mrs. Fezziwig opposite her dad Terry Fishman on occasion and Mrs. Dilber and den of thieves. She says she loves both those roles and she also does a couple of smaller ones. And that’s what you do when you’re in a Repertory Theater. In everyday life, she’s the CEO of her own company Majestic and she produces podcasts. I worked with her for many years on the Digital Production BuZZ and she’s also a co-producer for Cool Britannia, which is a small Theatre Company, concentrating on bringing British shows to American audiences. We also have Alison Chase Williams. Alison, are you there? 

Alison: I’m here.

Good. Alison plays Belle and other characters in the same Repertory Company. And they perform A Christmas Carol and it’s almost the holidays. So I want to find out what’s going on with that. She’s been part of the cast for six years, and hopefully many, many more. She participates in local theaters as a hobby and when she’s not on the stage, she’s getting her master’s in library and information science and currently works at a public library, when not furloughed because of the pandemic. Will Burgos, am I pronouncing your name right?

Will: Burgos.

Burgos, Will Burgos.

Will: I’ll be too upset about it if everybody gets it wrong.

You should see what happens with my name. Oh my goodness. William is currently going to community college and he’s played a lot of exciting roles. He played Lancelot, the brave and Monty Python’s Spamalot and Gaston, Beauty and the Beast and last year he debuted with A Thousand Oaks Repertory Company, playing Fred Scrooge, his nephew. Vanessa Sichmeller are you there? Am I pronouncing your name right? 

Vanessa: I’m here.

Vanessa, hi, thank you for doing this. You’ve been a full time stay at home mom for 28 years. I just love that. You became involved with the Thousand Oaks Repertory Company with your children 14 years ago. Five of her seven children have been involved with the production and two of them playing Tiny Tim. That just warms my heart. More recently, you joined the acting cast, and then last year your husband also debuted with the ensemble. So I think we can say the Thousand Oaks Theater is really a family affair, right? That’s wonderful. 

No matter what happens, we’re all family. We went through highs and through lows, but we are still here.

Vanessa: Yeah.

Terry, you are Debbie’s father, Terry Fishman. Are you here?

Terry: I sure am. And yes. I’m Debbie’s father. Yay.

That’s awesome. I’m gonna wait till we’re off the line. And I’m gonna ask you all kinds of questions about what she was like growing up, right, Debbie?

Terry: Giving aways secrets.

Oh, my God. Terry, along with Allan Hunt are the two most senior members of the Christmas Carol cast. They’ve performed an uninterrupted run of 23 straight years. What does that tell you about local theater? It’s wonderful. He’s played several roles during those years and has finally recently finished up as Mr. Fezziwig, where he plays opposite. As I mentioned before, Debbie, the annual production of Christmas Carol, he says is the high point of the year for him. And I’m going to ask you about how you feel about that Terry, when we get started here in a moment. In your everyday life, you’re a realtor and broker and you own Cambridge properties. Richard Winterstein, are you here? Richard, thank you for coming. You have been part of the cast for 15 years. And you’ve been playing the ghost of Christmas present. And also Old Joe in the den of thieves scene. In your real life, you are a retired teacher. Welcome, everybody.

All cast members: Thank you.

Don’t worry. It’s like a group conference call. So who wants to start first? I want to ask you guys. Well, first of all, maybe Debbie, you can tell us how it’s working now that we have the pandemic. Are you doing anything for the Christmas Carol this year at all? Are you going to record things? What are you doing? I mean, how on earth can we keep this thing going?

Debbie: We had thrown around some ideas and were still really trying around ideas for either doing individual themes or just doing a straightforward reading. The problem is–it’s not really a problem, it’s a good thing, we get so much of the cost, we get so much out of doing the show and performing the show that we would have a bowl, if we got together if we were able to, either on Zoom or anywhere else and perform parts or all of the show. But I’m not sure that that would be interesting to watch as an outsider, because the show is very, very visual. It’s the story of Christmas Carol, and it’s a different show. And there’s a lot that goes on that you just can’t portray sitting behind the screen and doing that sort of thing. Not sure if we’re going to just say it should take a break, Saturday eve, or whether we’ll try and get something together. And that’s where we’re at the moment. Obviously, as things ease up a little bit in November or December, then we’ll see how we go. But right now COVID has really cancelled every attempt that we’ve made to get together.

Terry, how are you feeling about that?

Terry: Well, it’s a great shame and it breaks my heart. Actually this show, Christmas Carol, in this version, I’m not 23 years since I’ve been a member but actually 25. We celebrated it, and it’s such a shame that it’s taking a break. And I know everybody’s going to miss getting together. We’ve seen each other last week, although we haven’t seen each other for a year between each performance. And it’s so much fun to get together with everybody. And as I say, it just breaks my heart not being able to do it. But Debbie said, it’s really difficult to do it on a Zoom show, because it is visual, and it’s just a terrible, terrible shame that we have to break for a year. But I know we’ll come back next year stronger than ever.

I hope so. So Richard, do you think if for some unheard of reason, maybe things break open, and we are allowed to have Repertory Theater in person, do you think we could mount the show in time to do it? I don’t know that you guys would have enough rehearsal time, would you?

Richard: Almost surely we could. The only drawback is the adults would finish it very quickly within two days. But the children are a different story, because there’s so much timing and so much blocking. Well, Debbie was talking, I was sitting here having a fantasy about doing it this year outdoors. But you know, it’s still an expensive show, even though it’s sumptuously mounted, when we perform it in Thousand Oaks Repertory Theater. But there’s a possibility this show could come off and if they allowed the theaters to open. The churches and restaurants are now open, when I walk by my church, and there it was wide open. And you could go in, as long as you observe six feet and you have a mask. And I was impressed with that. You know there’s a remote chance, probably not because it costs a pretty penny to mount this thing. But there’s always next year and one of my favorite parts of and I want to answer this question, because you asked me Debbie, and Terry who I miss, I’m gonna miss Terry and Alison, Will is brand new. But I love rehearsing. I love going to rehearsals, I was excited about going to rehearsals during the week, several times as I was performing daily in the shows where we actually put them on the stage in front of an audience. It’s a family, and I miss my family. Andis just wonderful and warm and loving, and he solidifies the cast. And Allan, what can you say, Allan Hunt, our director is just so creative. And he gives us a lot of free ways. And Cindy as a producer, always make sure that we’re well taken care of. And it’s a wonderful experience. I’m going to miss them terribly this year. But I have a feeling that we’re all going to get together at some point to do something, even if it’s just a party.

The pandemic has kept many creative people from meeting in person, from rehearsing together, and from performing together. Click To Tweet

I hope you invite me. I’ll come. I’ll drive up from San Diego.

Terry: Problem with doing the thing this year, when I know we all would love to do, is just the facility. But it’s definitely not available. And so we’d have to move everything to a different facility. And just as Richard says, it’s the kids, all of us can go on tomorrow, if we had to, we’ve done it for so long. The adults that is. The children are more difficult to do, they have to rehearse into a new role. It’s tough, but somehow I’m not sure if it’s gonna happen. 

Vanessa: And Edd is the Scrooge and he is just phenomenal. And he’s the linchpin of everything. So he’s just great.

Vanessa, you have so many kids, how’s this affecting you? Are you homeschooling the kids? What’s happening there?

Vanessa: They’re having to do distance learning. I only have two that are still in public schools. I have a junior and I have a ninth grader. And they’ve been doing distance learning. And it’s just not fun. They’re my kids. They’re social people. Everybody can vouch for that. This has been heartbreaking for them, just the whole lockdown and everything. And then when I had to announce, well, there’s not going to be A Christmas Carol this year. That was devastating. My youngest is 14. So she’s only known Christmas Carol, she came in thought when she was 18 months old on my husband and me. And then she joined the cast a few years later, and she was Tiny Tim, following her brother having been Tiny Tim for so many years. This is part of our life. This is a family tradition. And I’m going to follow what everyone else is saying. It’s like family. It’s a family reunion and my kids look forward to the rehearsals almost as much as the actual show. And being kids, they change their roles as they grow out of Tiny Tim or out of whatever part it is and grow into new roles. So it’s all sort of adventure each year to find out “Oh, who am I going to be?” “What scene will I be in this year?” and “Who will I be acting with?” It’s been tough. It’s another thing that’s been pulled out from underneath them. So it’s been kind of weird, even like my whole family traditions along with going through November and December. We’ve always done family gatherings around when the play was going to be. My extended family knew we weren’t available this week because we’re doing the play. So it’s kind of weird, like, “What are we going to do this year?” 

A lot of acting companies are doing table reads now. It’s not the same thing. We’re gonna have to put all of our heads together. And maybe there’s some way I could also help you guys figure out how to do something, even if it’s only part of it. William, you’re new to the company, fairly new to the company. How are you feeling?

William: A big part of the disappointment for me was before obviously, there were pre-established relationships and friendships before I came to the company. And once you’re like, integrated into that, and you feed off of everyone else’s personality, you get to understand the relationships between people, you like to see others interact with each other and interact with you. It becomes very disappointing and disheartening when you learn that those plans of doing that again next year all over again, and developing even more deeper friendships with those people and getting more experience with them, getting to know them even better, is just totally thrown out the window by some crazy event. 

It is. It’s crazy. Alison, how about you? I want to hear from you, too.

Alison: I agree with what everyone has said, going to the rehearsals and just anticipation of getting to see everybody and not getting to do that this year, the thing that you always kind of look forward to is really, really disappointing. Some of these people I only get to see once a year. So it’s really sad.

Have you thought about what you would propose as an alternative? Do you have any thoughts about that?

Alison: I think like a Zoom table read, could work. Like it would be a lot of planning. I think it’d be fun, like doing it outside if we could make that work would be really fun.

Where are all the costumes during the year? Are they stored in one place? Or do people have them and bring their own? 

Debbie: No, they get stored in a central place. And then Cindy, our producer brings everything in. It’s like being reunited with an old friend when you put on your hats and your scarves and then all the kids lose their gloves, or their scarves. And of course, what we’re trying to portray is cold London, and outside, and the kids run on stage without a hat and constantly saying, “So where’s your hat? Where’s your scarf?” Same thing happens every year and it’s almost warming to know that. But yeah, Cindy brings the costumes in every year. 

Well, kids will be kids. 

Debbie: Yeah, they will.

Vanessa, I’m sure you can identify with this. Do you remember what the lost and found boxes look like at school?

Vanessa: Yeah. Well, all the parents backstage, that’s our job as they’re all getting ready to leave the green room to say, “Show me your gloves. Show me your scarf.” Everybody’s mom, making sure all the kids have what they need. But yeah, we get on stage and we’re suddenly scrambling and I’ve got extra gloves in my pocket knowing that somebody forgot theres.

Good for you. Spoken like a true mom.

Debbie: Parents are a huge part of the cost of it, because there’s no way that we can all look after all those kids. So basically, they’re there, they get used to doing things like making dead kids, which sounds weird. Obviously, there’s the cemetery scene with Scrooge in the cemetery with all the kids. And so the parents get involved with rapidly making up these kids with white makeup and black eyes. And the speed at which they do it is phenomenal. I’ve seen new parents integrated into this whole process, where they’re taught, “Okay, this is what we do. We stand here and we make these faces white, and we make those eyes black, and that they’re an integral part of the whole show.”

So for the group, I wanted to ask you why you love doing community theater? What does it do? We’ve talked about the camaraderie and the group and the relationships. But is there any other reason why you would do it? Are any of you wanting to do other types of acting? Like do you do TV or film or other live theater productions with other companies? Do you want to talk about that?

Terry: I think so. From my point of view, this is probably where my soul is. I may be in business and enjoy doing what I do. But when it comes to the stage, that’s where my soul is. And that’s where I kind of really come alive. I wouldn’t survive without it. And it’s been really tough here, not having something to fall back on, and drive me forward every day to a new show or new production. And I’m pretty old. And I’ve been around quite some time. And I’ve done a lot of shows and a lot of different venues but not having somewhere to go and some show to concentrate on is really, really hard. And I want to say that my biggest regret about this whole thing is not for me because I do it again and most of us. It’s for the children and for the young adults who are just graduating and they’ve come up to their last year of school and they’re going to be the lead in the show or wherever, and it just goes away. It’s gone. It’s just such a shame that these young people didn’t have the opportunities that we had, that everybody else had in previous years. And that to me is one of the biggest drawbacks or problems arising out of the COVID situation.

Live theatre used to be a day to day thing where you rehearse with the cast daily, and then you start becoming a family. Click To Tweet

So Will and Alison, you’re the young members of the troupe here today, do you do other acting gigs or have you been acting before you got involved in this production?

Alison: Yeah, I’ve been acting since I was a preschool. And my parents got me into it. So I did it all through school. It’s always been a hobby. It was never something I wanted to do professionally. But yeah, I did college theater and community theater and Christmas Carol, and I’ve always loved it.

Why do you think you’ll love it so much?

Alison: I really love stories, like any kind of any form. And with theatre, I feel it goes back a little bit to the oral tradition of coming together and telling the story to a group of people, and you really bond over doing that. So getting to be a part of this storytelling is really exciting for me.

Will: I’ve done theater since junior high school, that’s when I got into it. And I’ve done several shows since then. I think what I like about doing theater is just being able to entertain people. There’s two kinds of aspects to it, I really love to entertain people and to make people experience emotion and whatnot. And then I also like theater, because it gives me something to do, especially leading up to the first show I ever did in high school, I kind of didn’t do anything. I spent a lot of time just doing nothing, just kind of sitting around and playing video games or whatever. And theater gave me a chance to get out and do something.

heatre is all about entertaining people and letting them experience all kinds of emotions.

I know from my experience, I haven’t done it in many years, but I spent many years working wherever I live, I was raised in the military. I’m an army brat. But wherever I went, I always made sure to get involved in the local theater troupe. It was a way to fantasize and be somebody different, and just enter into a new world with people that you become very attached to. And there’s always that feeling at the last night. I don’t know how you guys feel about this. But the very last night, last show, and then curtain call. And then you look around, and it’s over. And it’s always a little bit sad at that moment, right?

Debbie: Totally. We always have communication, we always send emails to each other post show. And you know, just saying how difficult it is to get back to reality. Because we’ve been immersed in this fantasy world for so long. And the family has been so close, spending almost every day with each other and going through the ups and downs of rehearsals and getting the show mounted. And then it will stop very abruptly and you feel very lucky with something. So there’s a brief process that you go through.

Joining the theatre was a way to fantasize and be someone different. A way to enter into a new world with people that you become very attached to.
Joining the theatre was a way to fantasize and be someone different. A way to enter into a new world with people that you become very attached to.

Yeah, well, we have to figure out a way to keep all of these creative endeavors alive during this pandemic, somehow. I just want to throw something out at you guys. Audio Productions, audio documentaries, audio theatre, is actually becoming quite popular now. People love it. It’s an alternative. You might want to do more of a performance oriented table read, and perhaps do some kind of a documentary style reading of it with effects and that kind of thing, just to put it on as an alternative for people that they could at least listen to it. It’s something to think about.

Yeah, I just want to point out one aspect of our play that’s lost this year, is our daytime performances are done for schools. And so many students are reading A Christmas Carol and putting on a Christmas Carol at their school, which they probably won’t be doing this year. So that’s an element that’s lost that these kids aren’t getting the opportunity. Some of them, this is their only opportunity to see a live stage production. And they actually get to talk to the performers after the show. And we will come out on stage and they can ask questions about, “How do you do a quick change? How do you memorize your lines?” and so all those kids are missing out on this year. And you’re suggesting an audio performance, they would lose so many of the elements of a play through that. And it’s sad. There’s nothing we can do to remedy that this year for those kids. But some of these kids this is when maybe they get that interest in I want to do plays, I want to do acting, I want to do directing, I want to do costuming. We think of all the things that are lost this year. That’s something that I see that’s lost for so many of these kids to find a point out.

Well, there’s a lot of technology available. Maybe we can think of some way of helping you guys get this out there so that people can at least see it in some fashion. Have you videotaped prior performances or not?

Vanessa: I know there’s one. Gosh, how long ago was that? 

Alison: Yeah, I’ve been in it six times. But I skipped a year for work.

I don’t know what the solution is for all of you, but I’m just sending every single one of you a big huge hug. And Debbie, you and I need to talk offline, because my crazy mind is thinking of a few potential alternatives. We can talk about it. And I’m sure that if we went to your local community, and we told them about the desire to somehow do an alternative version of this, sort of, we’ll say, the pandemic version of Christmas Carol, that maybe you could elicit the help of other people in the community. And I did want to ask you how many people are involved, because it takes a lot of people behind the scenes to make something like this happen. So how many people are being impacted by this this year?

Debbie: I think now there’s probably about 25 cast members in total. And then there’s obviously the crews from the theatre and then you’ve got the parents. 50 to 60 people involved. 

Richard: Yeah.

Producer, costumes, and there’s sound effects and music involved too or not? I mean, obviously, right? And visual effects. And it takes a lot to put a performance like this together. So it is affecting a lot of people. But you know what, there’s one thing about creative people like you guys, you’re resilient. And there’s a lot of love behind you, and somehow, between all of you, in all the people you can recruit, I’m sure that there’s something that can be done. Even if it’s a compromise this year, but something that can be done to help share this wonderful thing that you’re doing with your potential audiences and with the school kids that love it so much. Is there anything else that you guys want to say before I sound off here?

Richard: We’re all family. Families within the family. My son was 19 years old when he first joined this company 15 years ago. And he’s been with a strong desire. He only missed one year, several years ago. But he’s been with it ever since. And he played multiple roles in the show. And he has gone from just a tiny walk on with one mind to starring roles in it now. And I’m going to miss that camaraderie with my son. Travis used to always say, “Look, this is my dad and my version of going fishing together.” And I look at that, and it’s true. We’ve been on stage and many, many shows together. This is one of his loves. He really loves the show. And we were just talking about the other night, how much he’s gonna miss this year, and all the family who loves him do too. It’s a great thing. And hopefully, maybe we can take a cue from Michael Jordan and perform all these things in a park somewhere where there’s an amphitheater. That’s a possibility. Who knows? Everything needs to be explored. Thank you all so much for doing this.

Debbie: I think our hearts go out to all the actors, both professional and non-professional who are scrambling around to try and make a living, but also to keep themselves busy. A number of our cast members, our actual working actors are finding life pretty tough right now. Christmas Carol has had a history of actually getting some really great names. We have a long running several seasons with Walter Koenig, who is probably best known for playing Chekov in Star Trek. But there’s a number of actors right now who are actually working and our hearts go out to them. And hopefully, the whole industry will ease up a bit and we’ll be able to get back to doing what we love. 

Yeah, let’s hope so. I thank all of you so much for taking time to do this with us today. And we’re going to share this with all of our friends and family. And hopefully we’ll be able to think of an alternative for this year. And if not, then just know that we’ll all be thinking about you. And we appreciate what you’ve been doing for so many years. It’s very, very important. So Debbie, Alison, William, Vanessa, Terry and Richard. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Bless you all. But hopefully we’ll all talk again soon. And Debbie lets you and I talk offline. I think I might have some ideas.

Terry: Thank you, Cirina.

Cast members: Thank you.

Nice to meet all of you again and take care. Thanks for doing this bye. 

As you have most likely surmised, the play, although it must as we say, go on, it did not go on. And then this message came in from Debbie recently. It was with a heavy heart. I learned recently that one of their Christmas Carol family had passed away. David Himes has been a member of the cast since about 1995 and had regularly played the role of Marley and also Old Joe. He dedicated his life to acting, and it was one of the ways in which he was able to express himself fully. David had also done some film work, but his heart was in Shakespeare, and he performed often with the King’s Men Shakespeare Company for many years. He also took great joy in working with young actors offering them advice and guidance as he appeared in several high school productions in Ventura County. David was an accomplished artist, and many members of the Christmas Carol family have artwork that he designed and presented to them, and they keep them as precious mementos. The Christmas Carol held a private tribute to David on what would have been their opening night for the 2020 season December 11th of this year. Another tribute is planned for the public in January and we’ll keep you advised about that. So the moral of the story today is love with all your heart. Enjoy every moment in your life. Savor all that you have, and get your book signed before it’s too late. This is Cirina Catania wishing you a very Merry Christmas and an even happier new year. And this is Marc Robillard.

(Plays Marc Robillard’s song, Merry Christmas From A Distance)


  1. Don’t lose hope in these trying times. Keep looking for positivity, even in the littlest of ways. Nothing is permanent. Even the darkest of nights shall pass.  
  2. Find other ways to celebrate love for each other. We may not be allowed to see each other physically, but that doesn’t mean we forget how to make others feel loved and appreciated. 
  3. Be innovative in creating memories. This pandemic has brought out so much change in our lives that it’s crucial to learn how to adapt. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. 
  4. Be reminded of all the things you hold dear. Reminisce about the good ol’ memories. A little bit of nostalgia during the holidays never fails to warm the heart. 
  5. Keep working on what you love, and know that you can come back stronger than ever. Many things may be on pause right now, but that doesn’t mean we should all completely stop our plans for the future. 
  6. Don’t lose interaction with others. Connect and communicate as much as you can. Face to face may be lessened, but there are apps like Skype and Zoom that can help us stay in touch.
  7. Enjoy the simple things in life. We have been bombarded and overwhelmed with too much information from the news that it’s so easy to forget how important it is to take a pause, sit still, and enjoy the peace and quiet.
  8. Love with all your heart. Let someone else know how much you appreciate them. Life is short, and no one knows what’s going to happen next.
  9. Savor all that you have and be content with your blessings. And if there’s anything extra, be kind enough to share it with others. 
  10. Seize the day! Make the most of the present. Remain in the now as much as you can.

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