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Notre Dame de Namur University Theatre Celebrates 25 Years of “The Gift”

Belmont, CA, December 7, 2010 — Twenty-five years ago, Notre Dame de Namur University (then College of Notre Dame) Theatre and The Performing Arts Company began offering free performances of A Christmas Carol: the Gift as a gift to the community. A quarter-century later, the Christmas spirit of generosity and kindness is still in abundance at NDNU Theatre, which will perform the longest running musical version of A Christmas Carol in the Bay Area December 10 – 19.

Michael Elkins, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, will once again don the wire-rimmed glasses and black coat and hat indicative of the familiar miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who eventually learns to give “Bah, humbug!” a permanent break and finds the joy of Christmas in his heart.

In addition to offering free performances to the community, the company suggests that audience members bring a donation of a non-perishable food item or new toy, to be distributed to organizations such as Second Harvest. Elkins was recently honored by the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for his leadership in generating these donations throughout the run of A Christmas Carol: the Gift.

“It has been a joy to give the gift of the Christmas spirit to audiences for 25 years, and I hope this tradition will be a part of Peninsula life for many years to come,” says Elkins.

NDNU and The Performing Arts Company have used the Alan Menken/Lynn Ahrens/Mike Ockrent musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol since 2006. Audiences may recognize the adaptation from the television version starring Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge, or from its annual performance at Madison Square Garden.

A Christmas Carol: the Gift for many performers is an annual tradition. Many of the cast members have participated in the production since they were young children, others perform with family members. Veterans include John Babin, Audra Batter, Jennifer Earlywine, Adam Ellison, Scott Fish, Laura Hill, Mary Hill, George Metropulos, David Murphy, Denise Ron, Elana Ron, Liz Whitehorn, and Jeff Young.

A gala performance will be presented December 10 at 7 p.m. followed by a reception in the elegant Ralston Hall Mansion, to offset production costs. Tickets for the gala performance are $50 general, $20 for children under 12.

Free performances of A Christmas Carol: the Gift are December 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 2 p.m., and December 11, 16, 17, and 18 at 7:30 p.m. For more information and to order tickets, visit http://www.christmascarolthegift.org.