Director Marie Skelton says that Richey Suncoast Theatre's 11th annual A Pasco Christmas musical variety show has "a very small cast."
As in 75 singers, dancers and actors.
Almost any other theater would consider that many people on stage humongous, but please remember, Richey Suncoast has had more than 100 people in its annual show many times in years past.
"We had a lot of new people (audition), but many dropped out when they discovered how many rehearsals there are for this show," Ms. Skelton said. Others stayed the course, joining a long list of theater veterans to be in the all-new show written by theater board member Charlie Skelton, with music by Skelton, Marvin Lovett and Stella Gaukhshteyn, and a special number created by Sandrinne Edstrom.
"We have a lot of talent in this show," Ms. Skelton said. "It's kind of like a talent show, but it's got a story line."
The main story revolves around the five teenage Foley singers — Tiffani (Tiffani Cruz), Caitlin (Caitlin Ramirez), Allison (Allison Iskowitz), Rachel (Rachel Mickey) and Molly (Molly Laird) — whose parents were recently killed in an auto accident. They're now living with their grandfather, Bill "Grandpa" McGraph (Mark Lewis).
The news spreads that the top-rated television show Talent America is coming through town, offering big cash prizes to winners of its talent contest.
The evil Mrs. Zornikki (Diana Forgione) has heard the Foley sisters sing, and she thinks they have a good chance to win it all.
"She decides it's not good for (the girls) to be with the grandfather," Ms. Skelton said. Mrs. Zornikki tries to persuade a state agency to take the girls away from Grandpa and give them to her.
"She will put them in the show and make that money for herself," Mrs. Skelton said. "It's classic good vs. evil — but good wins out."
As the main plot unfolds, other exciting things happen.
Mad Marc Scientist (Marc Yacht), who invents all the toys for Santa, discovers that kids don't always like his inventions, so he tries out some new ones. He's helped by Carl the Marvel (Carl Brown), who does his part, a la Harpo Marx, in sign language and with noisemakers.
Mad Marc invents a Lindsay Lohan Doll (Quinn Marie), Britney Spears Doll (Trina Brown) and a Spanish Doll (Lauren Bobek).
There are also the Dr. Jekyll Doll (Dominick Rapacioli), Ballerina Doll (Taylor Akers) and Elvis Doll (Jeff Oles). A special group is the trio of Chip, Wicki and A.J. (Chip Wichmanowski and daughters Ali and Jamie).
As the story progresses, Tiffani drifts off to sleep and goes to Santa Land, where she sees all the toys and dolls, as well as 52 singers and dancers, including specialty singers Robin Bogdan and Tracie Callahan.
As can happen in dreams, Tiffani calls to her sisters and friends to see all the wonders and join the fun.
"We have a lot of new songs written especially for the particular scenes in this show," Ms. Skelton said. "And we also have an array of (traditional) Christmas songs and other songs."
As always, the big finale will be a surprise.