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One Acts At Playhouse Celebrate Holiday Season

Three one-act plays featuring holiday themes will be staged at Playhouse Merced, 452 W. Main Street, Merced, on Nov. 17, 18, 19, 25 and 26. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 while Sunday matinees start at 2 p.m.

“An Old-Fashioned Christmas,” written by Sally Bowman, and directed by Sandra Hill; “The Christmas Chuppah,” written and directed by Marc Medefind; and “Regift,” written by Lori Soard and directed by G.B. Blackmon all provide a fitting welcome to the holiday season.

This is the third year Playhouse Merced is producing one act plays via Perennial Players.


‘Old-Fashioned Christmas’

In “An Old-Fashioned Christmas,” residents of a retirement center wish for a Christmas they remember from their youth. Their wish comes true, with unexpected complications. Among other things, the microwave becomes a wood stove, with a pile of wood waiting to be chopped. Then the bathroom disappears and an outhouse springs up in the backyard. In the end, the residents must decide whether the “good old days” were really that good.

The play features JoAnn Gaines-Winfrey, Sheila Sellers, Christina Peterson, Kelly Bentz, Philip Buckle, Rich Barnes, Bernadette Mello, and Robert Porta.

“‘An Old Fashioned Christmas’ takes a comical look at the wistful remembrances of Christmas past,” Director Sandra Hill said. “Through the cleverness of the Spirit of Christmas we learn that no matter where we are in our lives, the spirit of the season is all about who you share it with.”


‘The Christmas Chuppah’

“The Christmas Chuppah” is the fourth radio play Medefind has written for the Playhouse Merced stage. Over the past four years, Medefind has adapted “A Christmas Carol,” “The Gift of the Magi,” and “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”

Loosely based upon a story that appeared in the December 1954  Reader’s Digest  (“The Gold-and-Ivory Tablecloth”)  The Christmas Chuppah  is set in the Pacific Northwest during Christmas 1973.    A young Protestant clergyman, his wife and their two children are preparing for their first Christmas at a new church when a series of seemingly disparate events culminate in what can only be called a miracle.

Robert Porta, Phil Buckle, Kelly Bentz, Rich Connelly, Jannis Wilson, and Carmen Belmontes headline the show, with Foley artists Rich and Jenell Barnes and singers Marit Medefind, Holly Zacharias and Candice Adam-Medefind adding their artistry as well.

“This show is perfect for the holiday season,” said Marc Medefind. “It’s my hope that it really tugs at the heartstrings while giving play-goers an authentic sense of joy and delight!”



Five actors, including Carmen Belmontes, Joy Widmark, Felix Lara, Linda Bruce and Jane Dimpel, make up the cast of “Regift,” directed by G.B. Blackmon, artistic director for Playhouse.

The show follows the often-hilarious events in an office when a gift is given that no one wants. The continual “regifting” provides the fun among a quirky group of office workers. “Regift” was selected as a good entry level production for first time actors or actors re-entering acting after having acted in the past. Its short, fast-paced comedic portrayal of office Christmas antics is sure to entertain.

Blackmon, who also serves as Playhouse Merced’s artistic director, said: “The cast is mostly made up of newcomers to the stage.  The reason this play is short, just five minutes long, is to give actors who may be hesitant about memorization a chance to take on smaller parts and learn the skills of memorization.  It is a great way to introduce actors to performing.”

Tickets are available online at, or for further information, call (209) 725-8587.


The Story Behind Perennial Players

Perennial Players is proud to present its third round of One Act plays in Merced.

Perennial Players productions are designed to be an entry point into theater arts for people 40 years old and over.  Some of the players are on stage for their very first time. Others have been on the stage in years past and are looking for a chance to get back into the hobby that they enjoy.  Still others are veteran actors who are looking to find roles for older actors that are more than just the mother or father, grandmother or grandfather, or the wise village elder.

Perennial Players offers opportunities for all levels of performance, including Reader’s Theater and Radio Plays for those who may need the support of reading from a script. Shorter plays are scheduled for those who want to memorize lines, but may want a lighter memory load. Longer plays are designed for those who want to do larger parts.

Perennial Players accommodate any level of ability, whether there are mobility issues, hearing or eyesight challenges, or whatever challenge one may think would keep them off the stage.  Everyone should be given the opportunity to participate.

Theater is more than just “putting on a play.” Those who have been involved with a theatrical production can testify that it is a social activity.  As we get older, it can be a challenge to find such social interactions and, quite often, people who are in a cast together remain connected long after the play has finished.  Perennial Players wants to foster continued physical, mental, and social opportunities for everyone.

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