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Yes, Virginia

"Yes, Virginia There Is A Santa Claus" is the latest show at LaPorte Little Theatre.

Matt Robinson, director of LaPorte Little Theatre Club’s “Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus,” considers his company’s holiday tale for 2018 tale a welcome reprieve from longtime Christmas stage standards.

“It’s good to have a different story,” he said. “We’ve done ‘A Christmas Carol’ so many times and we’ve done other Christmas classics several times. And this has a different twist to it.”

Running Dec. 7 through 16, “Virginia” is the tale of Virginia O’Hanlon, a youngster whose real-life letter to the New York Sun in the late 19th Century questioning the existence of Old St. Nick caused a sensation. The play also chronicles Francis P. Church, the newspaper writer who responded to O’Hanlon’s letter and dealt with his own personal struggles during that holiday season.

Taking its cue from a 1991 small screen tale, “Virginia” was adapted for the stage in 2008.

Robinson said he was impressed by the play when he first read the script about a year and a half ago.

“It’s just a great heartwarming story,” Robinson said of the play. “It’s got all of the traditional holiday (emotions), with the heartbreak at the beginning and getting resolved in the end. It’s just a heartwarming tale.

“We want (audiences) to leave with those warm holiday fuzzies and instill the family quality of Christmas,” he added.

Goldie Samaardzija, who plays O’Hanlon, and Brandon Dudley, who portrays Church, lead a cast of nearly three dozen area performers, musicians and singers.

Robinson and LaPorte have put an original, musical touch to his “Virginia” production.

“It’s a straight play, but we’re using a cast of Christmas carolers,” he said. “We’re having them stroll out between scene changes and they’ll cover up the action of the scene change.”

Next up for LaPorte Little Theatre is a production of the drama “The Bullying Collection,” scheduled to run Jan. 4-6.