Another Santa Diaries Production Ends

Goodbye to Liberty Showcase Theatre

Below is the cast and crew of The LIberty Showcase Theatre’s production of The Santa Diaries. It was a wonderful show. Laura and I hope they were as happy with the production as we were.



In this production there were a number of hiccups. One was replacing the person who was to play Josh two weeks before the show opened. Although this is a male role, the person who already knew most of the lines was the female music director who heroically stepped in to fill Josh’s size twelves. Josh became JoJo and there was some hurried rewriting of the final scene in which Will calls Brandeee in the middle of the night and Josh answers. Did we want JoJo to be in Brandeee’s bedroom in the middle of the night? This was a family show, after all. Even having Josh in her bedroom was a bit of a stretch, but lines were finessed and everything worked out just fine.

The snow/sleet/rain hiccup on the show’s last weekend was more problematic. The Liberty Theatre website home page was amended with the announcement: 12/14/2013 – It may be snowing outside, but the show must go on!! The Santa diaries will still be performed tonight at Glyndon United Methodist Church! Come out and get in the holiday spirit!!

People got the message and the cast performed to a full house. Last year at the Avalon Theatre the last show was on December 23. That was a burden on the cast and crew as it was so close to Christmas. The Liberty Showcase Theatre’s production ended on December 15 which gave people a little time to breathe before the last reindeer dash to the 25th. Laura was in the audience with her husband for the last performance. I was under the weather and couldn’t make it.

Liberty Showcase Thanks Us

At the last show Lori Chapman, the Assistant Director, gave Laura two wrapped packages. She brought them to me a few days later and we opened them together. They were framed photos of the cast and crew of the this production. We were thrilled. On the first Sunday performance Laura and I were given one of the posters signed by everyone. Mine will go on my Santa Diaries wall! We have felt very thanked and appreciated by Liberty Showcase Theatre. The are such a professional group. We’d love to work with them again.

Post Production

We need to know how the play could be tweaked to make it better. What could be done to make it easier to stage? Liberty had a cast of about 25 as opposed to the Avalon’s cast of 65+. Most of those additional people were children which is its own special challenge, but when writing for community theatre it’s good if the cast number has some flexibility. You want to be able to showcase especially talented people and need to plan for that. Laura and I will have a post production meeting with the Director, the Assistant Director and the Producer after the holidays so that we can make useful changes to the script and notes that would help with direction and staging.

Until then we send thanks and excellent Holiday Wishes to all the cast and crew.

What’s Next?

For now Laura and I are doing research on made-for-TV Christmas movies. We’ve watched eight so far and have twelve more in the line-up. We wanted to do this before we made the final tweaks on The Santa Diaries movie script. Is this a great job, or what?

Writing Perks

There are a lot of perks going on this week, all related to writing except my trip to my Baltimore dentist on Tuesday.


On Tuesday night is Working Writers’ Forum. We meet once a month to critique each others work. This group has been ongoing for seven years and I met Laura when she joined the group about five years ago. Over time we’ve lost some members, and gained new ones. Because I was a psychotherapist for many years, it has always seemed to me this was a lot like group therapy. Once a group has bonded it is very hard to let new people in. After all, you’re going to be spilling your guts to these folks. There needs to be a high level of trust.

Critique groups operate the same way. We last welcomed new members to the Working Writers’ Forum about three years ago so the trust level is back to high. We aren’t unveiling our psychic flaws, but are putting our creative energy out on the table to be picked over. It might be worse than group therapy. Laura and I have submitted a third draft of the first twenty-five pages of a screenplay we have been working on. Having seen the first two drafts, the feedback from the group is that they’re enjoying being able to see the evolution of this project.

On Thursday night Laura and I will be at Fisherman’s Inn on Kent Island selling our books. We did this last year in another nearby location and booze and book buying seemed a good pairing. Our thanks to friend and fellow critiquer, Brent Lewis, for doing the heaving lifting on the organizational end. We’re just showing up with our books. I wonder if Fisherman’s Inn will put my wine in a sippy cup like they did at Bridges Restaurant last year after I almost ruined Laura’s stack of books.

Fisherman's Inn on Kent Island hosts an Author's Night.

Fisherman’s Inn on Kent Island hosts an Author’s Night.

Then on Friday night the second rendition of our play, The Santa Diaries, opens in a production by the Liberty Showcase Theatre. They don’t have a permanent theater home so this production is being performed in the hall of the Glyndon Methodist Church. Community theater the way it often is. We are excited to see how Liberty Showcase will put their own stamp on the play.Lib-Showcase-sign-Laura-Mal

Laura remarked that, “Liberty Showcase’s mission fits right in with the story of what happens when a successful and self-absorbed Hollywood actor is forced to return to his hometown and direct the community holiday play. In the process he rediscovers the joy of Christmas, a lost love, and learns to embrace his inner Santa.” (disclosure – that last bit was copied from a press release we wrote). Since Community Theater is one of the themes of our play, this venue is perfect.

If you live anywhere near Glyndon, come out and see the play. Performances dates are as follows: Friday, December 6th and 13th at 8PM; Saturday, December 7th at 2PM and 8PM; Saturday, December 14th at 8PM and Sunday, December 15th at 2PM. The venue is Glyndon United Methodist Church, 4713 Butler Road, Glyndon, MD 21071. For tickets visit the Liberty Showcase Theatre website at

The following week we might actually get back to putting new words on paper, but critiques, book sales events and opening nights need to be celebrated as some of the perks of the writing life, which can often be a lonely experience – unless you have a writing partner.