'A Christmas Spectacular' to spotlight local singers, dancers

| Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, 1:16 a.m.

The Edwin S. Porter Theater in Connellsville will be filled with the sounds of the season this week when Charles Lowery Productions presents “A Christmas Spectacular.”

“It is not only a fine way to begin celebrating the holiday season; it provides us, the members of our community, with an opportunity to showcase many of our area's talented dancers and singers,” said Charles Nathan Lowery of Connellsville.

This is the first production for Lowery, who recently established his production company. His personal goal is to make this an annual production and a long-lasting tradition within the theater.

“The show will truly capture the imagination of all ages as this production will truly mark the beginning of this special season for so many families,” he said.

While only 20, Lowery has years of entertainment experience. He studied dance for 13 years with Kids and Company and Premier Dance Center, where he teaches. He was a cast member of the prestigious Mon Valley Ballet Academy at California University, during which he performed in four ballets and two musicals. Lowery also appeared as supporting leads in three musicals at Connellsville Area High School: “Peter Pan,” “Singin' in the Rain” and “Grease.”

Lowery said a variety of local artists will perform several different dancing and singing acts from “The Nutcracker,” “The Polar Express,” “Alvin & The Chipmunks” to holiday classics such as “Silent Night,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and others.

“I am in absolute amazement of the dedication put forth by each and every performer,” Lowery said. “Each of them have played a key role within the production as they have shared in creating a memorable production from the sweat and tears, aches and pains and tired muscles as well as love and laughter, having gained lifelong friendships and forever cherished memories.”

One of the show's key performers is Lowery's brother Jeremy, 17, of Connellsville. He will be dancing in seven numbers, including the opening, the finale, the senior dance and numbers in the dance styles of pointe, jazz lyrical and combined jazz. He said his favorite is the opening number because it is a tap routine.

He said he is really enjoying preparing all of his numbers for the show.

“I love it. I am so glad I did the show. I am doing what I love to do, and that is dance,” Jeremy Lowery said. “I think that people will enjoy the show because it's just not dancing. It's also singing, and plus it's a Christmas show.”

Sarah Hamman, 17, of Connellsville is singing in two numbers in the show. She will sing “Where are You Christmas?” as a solo and “Mary, Did You Know?” as a duet with best friend Sophia Jones, also of Connellsville.

“My favorite is ‘Mary, Did You Know?' because I love to sing with my best friend, and our harmonies are beautiful,” Hamman said. “My favorite thing about the show is the feeling of Christmas it brings me and I know will bring everyone else.”

Hamman has taken on the role of vocal coach for the show.

“It has such an array of young talent from the area. It's amazing for me to watch and teach kids sixth-grade and younger do things I was so scared to do at that age,” she said. “It inspires me to watch that and makes me, who is just kind of helping out, so extremely proud.”

Charles Lowery said he takes great pride in his cast and crew.

“I humbly thank them all for their hard work and dedication in making my dream of directing/producing my own show a reality,” he said. “It is now my only hope that the community will support each and every performer in their artistic pursuits, but to also continually support our growing hometown theater/community center in future endeavors.”

The show will take center stage on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the theater on the second floor of the Greater Connellsville Community Center, 201 E. Fairview Ave.

The production is sponsored in part by the Connellsville Cultural Trust and Target.

“I am beyond very thankful for each and every local business and individual that reached out and sponsored this production. It's a great feeling knowing that our community truly cares about helping the theatrical arts thrive in our hometown,” Lowery said.

General admission is $10. All tickets are festival seating.

Tickets are available at the community center office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by calling 724-626-0300. Tickets may also be purchased at the door each night of the performance.

Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer.

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