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Leaving a Legacy:

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A Christmas Carol
The Legacy Theater Company
Kingdom Life Fellowship
111 Kinston Hwy, Richlands, NC
12/9, 7 p.m. • 12/10, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Tickets: $12-$15 • 910-545-2296

Erika Hose is no stranger to the stage. The Long Island, New Yorker has been acting since the age of 12, breathing life into roles across many platforms. From the Reverend Mother in “Nunsense,” to Mrs. Caswell in Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” to a featured singer in “Godspell,” among roles in “Grease,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Aladdin,” the world has been her stage, so to speak. And Jacksonville, NC, just so happens to have an excellent seat awaiting for a first look at the creative performances Hose and her husband, James, will be bringing to life through their infant Legacy Theater Company this weekend.

Having been “birthed in their hearts” in 2000, Erika and James wrote a play for their church entitled “The Legacy.” “The actors conveyed there is something that only they can do and something that only they can say,” Erika explains, noting the play’s purposeful proof that everyone does in fact leave a legacy. They went on to write two more, making up “The Legacy Trilogy,” before expanding into fun-filled mysteries and comedies, such as “McKayla’s Hideaway” and “The Lost Treasure.”

In January of 2011, Erika and James decided to create their theatre company, which will make its debut this weekend with the Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol.” The Hoses wanted to interpret the timeless tale of the holiday spirit to infuse their community with hope of the season and culture through the arts. Also, it happens to be Erika’s favorite seasonal tale.
“I have always wanted to tell the story on the stage,” she says. “I have read Charles Dickens so many times, and I decided to write my own script based on the book.”

While the structure remains mostly traditional, Erika was able to take a few creative liberties in staging it. She used female ghosts and has tweaked other details without overshadowing the story’s “redemptive power of Christmas.” The old-world tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, played by James Hose Jr., sticks to their family-friendly policy of entertainment.

“Our cast has thirty members ages 8 to 65 all from the community of Onslow County and beyond,” Erika notes. “Jacksonville and this surrounding area is so unique with men and women from all over the United States. I knew finding great talent would not be difficult once we got the word out.”

Eclectic and varied, the cast contains folks who aren’t shy to the stage either. They will have a Military Channel’s “Marine Sniper,” a Jeopardy champion, as well as an actress from “One Tree Hill” in the production. “From spectacular moms and dads, to military families, preachers, stellar students and amazing volunteers, we are blessed with the cast we have,” Erika says.

Word-of-mouth support has been the main success of Legacy Theater. Once the community began buzzing after their first production, “The Higgins’ Train to Georgia,” they began building a fanbase. They have culled not only a strong team of actors and actresses but behind-the-scenes players worthy of praise.

“Connie LoCurto and Brian Young are primarily in charge of hair and makeup,” Erika says, noting they’ve had their work cut out for them considering the youth of so many cast members. “The challenge in this production was taking the real age of our actors and transforming them into ‘theater age.’ For example, a 28-year-old [needs to] look like a 78-year-old miser.”

Also, Erika has been focused on authenticity in the production. She and Lucretia Lucas have been making sure every button, inseam and collar are sewed to the hilt. “Every costume is hand-made,” Erika says. “We did not rent or purchase our costumes, but we created each one and we look like we could fit right into 1856 London.”

As of now, Legacy Theater Company is performing at Kingdom Life Fellowship Church; they don’t have an official stage to call home quite yet. But Erika welcomes any suggestions from the community in helping the group find one.

“If anyone knows of a workable space or would like to donate space, give us a call,” she says. “We are here to stay. Our hope is to eventually build our own theater in Jacksonville for the entire community to use and enjoy.”

She and her crew are also planning an expansion in 2012 for an educational experience in theatre arts. The Legacy Theater Company is a nonprofit and will launch Legacy Performing Arts School in 2012, open to students from elementary to high school. “They will be able to learn acting, music, voice and dance while creating a production of their own,” Erika says. “Our desire is for students to take the skills learned through the arts and bring them into their everyday lives at home, work and school.”
Legacy also will be auditioning for their original improv comedy, “My Big Fat Italian Wedding,” on January 10th and 11th; the production is planned for spring 2012.

For more information on the company, visit Tickets to “A Christmas Carol” are $12 to $15, and shows take place December 9th at 7 p.m. and the 10th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. For tickets, folks can call (910) 545-2296.

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