By MIKE CHAIKEN
The Holiday Showcase of Stars, a fundraiser for Bristol’s St. Anthony School, has become synonymous with holiday entertainment each year featuring the many talented local performers in the area.
And this year, the show—which will be offered Dec. 7—is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Director Debbie Schur is the artistic driving force behind the show. In an email interview, she explained, “The idea for the Holiday Showcase of Stars was the brainchild of a small group of alumni, parishioners and friends as a fund raiser for St. Anthony School.”
“We really believed that if we could showcase local talent, that the show would catch on,” said Schur. “And catch on, it did.”
“After the first year,” explained Schur, “word got out that this was a pretty good show. So each year more people, beyond the church circle started coming to the show and more performers were eager to take part.”
“(The showcase) evolved from a dinner show venue (in its initial incarnation and moved) to St. Paul High School auditorium to enable us to use a bigger facility and thereby sell more tickets and raise more money for the school,” said Schur.
“Now it has become not only a staple for the season, but a highly anticipated event,” said Schur.
“We like to think of it as a great way to welcome in the Christmas season,” said Schur.
With 10 years under the Showcase’s belt, Schur said, “Highlights have been plentiful. It would be so hard to mention only a few.”
“And the joys (of mounting the production year after year) are endless,” said Schur. “Being part of a group that, to a person, gives totally of themselves, is a joy. Starting a new show each year, watching it slowly come together and overcoming the bumps in the road, as a team, so that when the curtain rises on show night is exhilarating and peaceful at the same time.”
For the people who have never been to the Holiday Showcase of Stars, Schur said, “First of all the level of entertainment in our hometown is staggering. Not good. Not great. Staggering.”
“The motto of our show family is ‘God always sends us who and what we need to make this show happen,’” said Schur. “He has never let us down.”
“The singers and dancers will amaze you.”
Schur said, “Add to that mix some great talents from neighboring towns and you have a recipe for a great night of musical entertainment. You have the Holiday Showcase of Stars.”
“Many of our performers have gone on to stardom and many more surely could if they chose to,” said Schur. “But the best part is that their hearts are even bigger than their talents. When you see these very talented people singing along side our city-wide youth chorus you see what we are about.”
Past cast alumni include a former Miss Connecticut, a Miss Teen America, a cast member in the road tour of the Broadway musical “Legally Blonde,” a headliner at Hershey Amusement Park, and a former Top 10 “American Idol” finalist.
More important than the stellar talent on stage, however, Schur said, is “all the joy that this production will bring to your heart is priceless. There are many wonderful Christmas concerts and pageants in our town, but there really is no other Christmas show like ours in the area.”
“The format follows that of the ever popular OM (Older Members of the Boys and Girls Club) Show (one of the nation’s oldest variety shows) with a multitude of musical acts, a little comedy—a little something for everyone in your family,” said Schur.
And it’s all entertainment for a good cause, said Schur.
“One-hundred percent of the proceeds go to St. Anthony School (30 Pleasant St., Bristol). The cast and crew do fund raisers throughout the year to defray any production costs that are not covered by the generosity of this same cast and crew. Because of their year round hard work, we are able to donate all monies made from the show.”
The 10th Annual Holiday Showcase of Stars, “Peace On Earth,” will be held Saturday, Dec. 7 at St. Paul High School, 1001 Stafford Ave., Bristol.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. They are available at the St. Anthony Church rectory, 111 School St. and at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Leadership Training Center, 335 Mix St., Bristol.
By MIKE CHAIKEN