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Any time of year is a wonderful time to get involved with your family at DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre. However, a holiday show at DreamWrights with your family is extra special. A handful of families participate in the theatre as a complete (or nearly complete) family.  Because they love it so much, they keep coming back for more.

Natalie Smith as Grace Bradley, center in navy

Natalie Smith as Mrs. Grace Bradley, center in navy.

Natalie Smith and her three children have done three shows at DreamWrights including The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which is currently running. After living abroad for many years, Natalie looked for something to help her family get oriented with their new community when they moved into the area. Natalie explains, “DreamWrights offers a place for all of us to feel welcome and connected. The people involved with this theatre are so friendly and family-focused. It’s a fun way to spend quality family time together and the holiday show definitely puts us in the holiday spirit!”

Andrea Unger, far left as Mrs. Irma Slocum. Her husband, David Unger, center as Reverend Hopkins

Andrea Unger, far left as Mrs. Irma Slocum. Her husband, David Unger, center as Reverend Hopkins.

Andrea Unger, her husband, and her youngest son have participated in ten DreamWrights shows together, including The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. “Since we are a small family (our two oldest boys are out of state as are our other relatives) being in the Christmas shows has been like celebrating the holidays with an extended family,” she jokes, “…one that you actually like and want to spend time with!”

Natalie says there are many perks to participating together as a family. “It gives us some fun conversation topics at home. We all enjoy meeting new people at DreamWrights and also seeing other families we’ve been with before.” Andrea’s son, Jonah explains, “Being together gives me an opportunity to talk over the play with my family, to receive critiques and suggestions….and also to give them.”

Jonah Unger

Jonah and Dave Unger on stage together.

After rehearsals and the performances the Ungers pile in the car and go over the show in detail, all the way home. They discuss any mishaps that may have occurred, (Andrea discloses, “Live theatre! Yes, it happens!”) talk about audience reactions, as well as things upon which they could change or improve.  “We talk and laugh and tweak all through the run of the show,” Andrea reveals. Over the course of the shows in which the Ungers have been involved, they have developed some family traditions:  Handel’s for ice cream after auditions, recording the script to help with memorizing lines, and giving little surprises to each other instead of flowers after the last performance, to mention a few.

All three of Natalie Smith's children perform in the play along with her.

All three of Natalie Smith’s children perform in the play along with her.

Natalie loves having the opportunity to participate in activities like live theatre with her children. “I hope someday they will look back on this experience and want to participate in activities like this with their own children.” Andrea gets right to a big reason why DreamWrights is special. “While we participate in theatre as a family, we do this at Jonah’s lead; theater is where he wants to be. DreamWrights has made it possible for us to do this together.  I don’t know of any other theatre that considers the entire family during the selection process.”

To see how much fun the Smiths and the Ungers are having this holiday season, join us for a performance of the The Best Christmas Pageant Ever on December 11, 12, 18 & 19 – 6:30 pm or December 12, 13, 19 & 20 – 2:30 pm. Then bring yourself (or even better –  the whole family) to audition for The Secret Garden on December 15 or 16 at 6pm.  Visit dreamwrights.org for more information.