Philanthropists welcome holiday season with Christmas classic

by Nick Bailey on December 1, 2015 in Entertainment, Theatre, Living Texas, Houston,
Christmas Carol ghosts

Amidst the holiday season, as shoppers shuffle about the heart of Houston, many gather for a different purpose — one of a charitable nature. On a mission to unite the kindness of the community with those who truly need it, the Palmer Young Philanthropists (PYP) hosted a special evening filled with wonderful food, joyous faces and Houston’s most prominent young professionals at the Alley Theatre to present an advanced showing of A Christmas Carol, as holiday tradition continues in the newly renovated hubbard theatre.

Jay Sullivan and Jeffrey Bean in A Christmas Carol. Courtesy photo
Jay Sullivan and Jeffrey Bean in A Christmas Carol. Courtesy photo

This year, Alley Associate Director James Black directs this colorful, comical, and music-filled production of the Houston seasonal favorite, bringing to life Michael Wilson’s adaptation of  Charles Dickens’ classic story, which follows Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey with the three ghostly spirits to deliver a powerful message about redemption and the spirit of the holiday season.

“We are blessed to have such a beautiful production of A Christmas Carol and I still find something new and reinvigorating in the show every time I see it,” Alley Theatre Artistic Director Gregory Boyd said. “Scrooge’s redemption is one of the greatest stories in our civilization and culture.”

The soiree celebrated the efforts of PYP and the Palmer Drug Abuse Program (PDAP), which has operated in Houston and the surrounding areas, providing free drug and alcohol prevention, education and recovery services to young people ages 12-25 and their families since 1971. With delicious food provided by Butter & Company Catering and select wines from Republic National Distributing Company, the evening was a holiday hit. Guests were also encouraged to enter raffles for unique prizes which included an original art painting by Rodolfo Banuelos, Alley Theatre season tickets with a fine dining experience each night, Private Chef home catering for 6 by Chefs Rob Frias and Gilbert Landres & Eminent Events and a Burberry Iconic cashmere scarf with monogram.

David Rainey as the ghost of Christmas present. Courtesy photo
David Rainey as the ghost of Christmas present. Courtesy photo

As the show began, audience members knew they were in for a treat. With a unique combination of lighting effects and dance styles, the play’s introduction set the bar high for this holiday classic. The cast does not disappoint in this rendition, and provide a dynamic performance that truly hits the mark. The Alley Theatre will be presenting A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas throughout the month until December 28, so be sure to grab tickets before it’s too late.

But the evening was not only for holiday humbugs. Many of Houston’s business leaders came out to celebrate the efforts of those who have made PDAP successful over the years. It also served as a reminder that PDAP’s success comes from the support of the community, and that their continued support is needed now more than ever.

“For 45 years, PDAP continues to be a safe haven where our troubled youth and their families can turn to in a time of crisis when dealing with drug and alcohol abuse,” Executive Director Dr. Danielle Lutz explained. “In 2014, the clients PDAP served were able to maintain a79% sobriety rate.  No one will ever be turned away due to the inability to pay.”

As the evening came to a close and guests said their farewells, an older woman emerged from the hustle and bustle. Silent, with a soft smile, she managed to get the attention of Dr. Lutz, and politely thanked her for her work. “My son is alive today because of the help your organization has given him,” she explained as she gave Lutz a hug. And with a humbled expression of gratitude, Lutz turned and said “That’s what keeps me going.”