From left, Kevin Langley as Kieth, Angel Hochman as Shelby and Rose Iuo-Damon as Rifka in Acadia Community Theater's "Closed for the Holidays." ISLANDER PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

Unlikely friends in a freak storm



BAR HARBOR — Matt Hochman knew he was going to direct this year’s Christmas production for Acadia Community Theater, but wasn’t sure what play to choose.

He read through classics such as “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and noticed “all of them start out kind of sad,” he said. “I was looking for something upbeat.”

Searching online, he came across the script of “Closed for the Holidays” by Flip Kobler and Cindy Marcus, and decided it was the one.

The production opens Friday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. at the Criterion Theatre, and plays again Saturday, Dec. 7, at 11 a.m. at the Criterion. Two performances are set for the following weekend at The Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor.

In the play, a drama teacher (Angel Hochman) with a bus full of students on their way home from an event (Harlan Mahoney, Bailey Fitzpatrick, Atty Brown, Ashley Graves, Cecelia Blackett, Elliot Maldonado, Harmony Hopkins and Maddie Langley), a couple on their way to their Christmas Day wedding in Miami (Jenni Mae Parker and William Hopkins) and a couple of kids who have run away from home and dressed as elves to surreptitiously steal from stores in the mall (Blake Thieken and Lilu Fuksman-Kumpa) all find themselves snowed in together in a community center in Georgia.

Zoe Boland plays Bjorn, center, a mysterious figure who may be either a homeless teenager or an honest-to-goodness elf. She meets Pink (Blake Thieken), left, and Dana (Lilu Fuksman-Kumpa), right, who have run away from home and are posing as elves in order to steal from stores in the mall.

The kids dressed as elves meet another elf-like person, Bjorn (Zoe Boland), who is introduced as a homeless kid who

keeps ending up at the community center, but may have secrets under her hat. She coaches the wannabe elves, Hochman said, and “by the end of the show she’s left it up to them to decide whether they want to be good or whether they want to continue to be naughty.”

Shelby the lovelorn drama teacher has for fellow chaperones her mother Rifka (Rose Iuro-Damon) and the bus driver Colby (Mark Carignan). Colby, a widower, is encouraged by his daughter Drew (Ashley Graves) to ask Shelby out on a date, but just before he gets up the nerve Shelby’s old friend Kieth (Kevin Langley), a doctor, also arrives at the community center, also stranded by the storm.

Mia Jeannotte as Flo.

Trying to make order out of all this is Flo (Mia Jeannotte), the excitable, anxious community center director. There’s also Sheriff Griffin (William Krason) and his deputy (Robyn Hochman), who are excited to have a real crime to solve as they get word of the thefts from stores.

“The real reason we picked the show is it focuses on the small everyday miracles that make the holiday season great,” said Joanna Robinson-Clark, who is co-producing the production with her husband Seth. “People coming together to make it better for each other.

“It’s just a really cute show,” she continued. “Everyone has a good time.”

The producers also did much of the casting, Matt Hochman said, since his wife Angel and daughter Robyn were among those who auditioned. The production features other family ties: Parker and Hopkins, who play the couple on their way to their wedding, are engaged in real life. And Nancy, the drama student who only speaks in mime language, is played by Maddie Langley while her dad Kevin plays Kieth and mom Geneva is one of the costume designers, along with Jaylene Roths.

Samantha Wanner is the stage manager and Lorelei “DiDi” Wehrfritz is the technical director.

Tickets are $10-12. Visit acadiacommunitytheater.net.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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