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"ONU Holiday Spectacular" delivers another year of holiday cheer

Favorite holiday characters are ready to sing and dance in the annual

Favorite holiday characters are ready to sing and dance in the annual "ONU Holiday Spectacular." (photo/Freed Center for the Performing Arts)

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me the "ONU Holiday Spectacular." From November 19 to 21, Ohio Northern University's Freed Center for the Performing Arts plans to offer the annual "ONU Holiday Spectacular" for the campus community. It is a tradition all students, faculty, staff, and the Ada and Lima communities look forward to each school year.

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 19, and continue on Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for ONU students, and can be purchased at the Freed Center's box office, or here.

Because of its tradition, the "ONU Holiday Spectacular" is always one of the most popular productions ONU's Department of Theatre Arts performs. Cast and crew members are very excited for the lights to go up on opening night, and to start the holiday season off with festival carols, elaborate sets, ballerinas, toy soldiers, and favorite characters, including elves and, of course, Santa Claus.

The 'Holiday Spectacular' is one of the grandest holiday traditions for families in the area. Each year we try and add something new to keep the show fresh, more dynamic and magical than the last. The 'Holiday Spectacular' is a fully staged musical revue, full of familiar traditional Christmas music and show stopping numbers that will delight and create new memories for the whole family," said Kirsten Osbun-Manley, ONU resident artist in music and musical theatre program director.

For the 2015 "ONU Holiday Spectacular," the tradition audience members anticipate to see will be delivered by the cast and crew. However, some things have to change to create excitement for new audiences. According to Osbun-Manley, the production has added two new characters this year - Tinsel the Elf, and his trusty side-kick, Teddy the Dog. In addition, production crew members have added new changes to the favorite Toyland sequence. Changes are appropriate for repeated shows, but the true heart of the "ONU Holiday Spectacular" remains.

Ohio Northern's theatre production works like professionals, and one special aspect of the "ONU Holiday Spectacular" is its unique ability for cast and crew members to pack up their belongings and travel to Lima, Ohio to perform at the Veteran's Memorial Civic & Convention Center from Dec. 4 to 6. Ohio Northern's theatre program wishes to provide its classic holiday program not only to the Ada public, but to its surrounding regions in northwest Ohio.

Being a fairly small school in the "middle of a corn field," it takes a special talent for the university's theatre program to tour to another city, just like if the cast members belonged to a professional Off-Broadway touring group.

With thoughts and ambitions like that, the "ONU Holiday Spectacular" will certainly continue to entertain audience members, both in Ada and in Lima, for many more years into the future.

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