Come celebrate Christmas just south of Broadway as the Center Theater in Hartsville, S.C. hosts a “Hometown Holiday Christmas” Dec. 6 through Dec. 9.
“Hometown Holiday Christmas” is the brainchild of popular area entertainer Andy Locklair, and features a full, 18-member cast of local singers and dancers, including Oneida Martin, Tracy Price and Jeff Martin, who did all the original choreography for the show.
Locklear said the concept for “Hometown Holiday Christmas” came by way of a cabaret show he performed earlier this year at Hartsville’s Black Creek Arts Council facility.
“It was great and we had a lot of fun, but it’s a small venue,” he said. “I had always wanted to do something in a bigger theater, but I wasn’t sure who would want to come out just to see me.”
The answer came a few months later, when Locklair put together a show at The Music Hall, a family-oriented entertainment venue in Darlington County. The 2 ½-hour show, called “Country and Comedy,” filled the Music Hall to capacity and was what can only be described as a smashing success.
“At that point, we knew we had something that people wanted to see, so we started thinking even bigger,” Locklear said. “That’s when ‘Hometown Holiday Christmas” was born.
“Everybody thinks they have to go to Branson, Mo., or Charlotte or Myrtle Beach to see talented people. But we have some of the best talent in the world right here in the Pee Dee area … I had the core group: Oneida is a phenomenal singer, Tracy is extremely knowledgeable about music and Jeff is a fantastic choreographer. I had my musicians and I had people around me who wanted to help, so I decided to expand it to a full-scale Christmas show. We sat down and started planning,” said Locklear.
The result is a four-part live show that opens with 28 minutes of non-stop Broadway-style singing and dancing, blending contemporary and traditional holiday music. The spotlight is then focused on 20 minutes of laughter, with Locklair humorously discussing how the South celebrates Christmas, from quirky relatives and unusual gift choices to the ritual of the holiday meal. In the third segment, the action moves to a Gaither Family Reunion-style living room set, where cast members will share their fondest, and often funniest, Christmas memories. Kids from the audience will then be invited to join the cast on stage to say hello to Santa as he takes a break from his busy North Pole schedule for a quick trip to Hartsville. The evening will conclude with a nativity scene to remind everyone of the true meaning of the holiday season.
“We want people to leave the theater with a feeling of what Christmas is really all about,” Locklair said. “Hometown Holiday Christmas” is presented by Hartsville Medical Enrichment Services.
Locklair also notes that a number of community organizations have been immensely supportive of the production, including the Black Creek Arts Council, the Hartsville Downtown Development Association, the Hartsville Community Players, and the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce.
Showtimes for “Hometown Holiday Christmas” are Thursday, Dec. 6 through Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person; $12 for senior citizens and military personnel; and $7 for children under 12,
The theater is located at 212 N. Fifth St. in Hartsville.
Tickets are available in Hartsville at the Hartsville Chamber of Commerce, Minnie’s Giftique, Burry Bookstore, and Ray’s #2: in Florence at Ray’s #1; in Darlington at C’Boans; by phone at 843-858-0700; or online at hometownholidaychristmas.com.