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Arena Dinner Theatre Provides Fresh and Hilarious Twist on Christmas Classic




Lindsay Hoops has already accomplished much in Fort Wayne’s theatre circles. Through performance (recently in Arena Dinner Theatre’s Bright Star) and as a faculty member at Fort Wayne Youtheatre, Hoops has brought her passion for theatre to our community for years. But save one experience in college, she had yet to tackle the role of director.

“I loved that experience of directing in college,” Hoops said. “In college you have young, hungry actors who are bringing something so fresh to it, doing some deep emotional work to make it happen. For the last five years, I’ve been teaching at Fort Wayne Youtheatre and making connections, getting my feet in the door.”

One of those feet in the door came when Christopher J. Murphy, assistant director at Youtheatre and a busy director in the community, provided her a golden opportunity.

“I got the chance to assistant direct with Murphy, and I got a lot of information from him from a production standpoint. Then I was talking to Jordan Plohr who was set to direct Play On which had been postponed twice because of COVID. With those delays he said ‘My ambition is dying a little,’ and he asked if I wanted to come in to be assistant director.”

With those experiences, Hoops felt confident she was ready to take on her own directorial effort, and Plohr passed that on to the Board of Directors at Arena. The result is Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, a parody of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, one which launches a minor character into a starring role. Weaving in other familiar holiday references, the story immediately captured Hoops’s imagination.



“This particular script was just completely hilarious,” she said. “It was one of those situations where you’re sitting in a room by yourself and laughing out loud. It’s a little embarrassing, but it was just that funny. I had always wanted to do a comedy because I come from a funny family. It feels a little risky sometimes because you can think something you have in mind is hilarious, but what if it falls flat?”

Hoops needn’t have worried since her cast has come together as she hoped they would, and the production opens this weekend, running December 2-18. (Visit arenadinnertheatre.org for showtimes and menu and artstix.org for tickets.) She’s confident it’ll strike a familiar chord with fans of holiday entertainment.

“I love all the Christmas classics, and every year I make a plan to watch them before Christmas. This show gives those classics a fresh new perspective. Scrooge wins in the original story, but he wins in this story in a new way. As I wrote in my Director’s Notes, the last three years have been difficult for a lot of reasons, and I think this show will be refreshing and provide some laughs. It’s a familiar story that we’ve experienced over and over but with a fresh spin that brings joy and laughter. It doesn’t just use Christmas Carol but also TV shows and other movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and even Touched By an Angel, which isn’t really a Christmas show. I think there’s a lot of appeal to it and will really be fun for the audience to experience.”



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