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Every Christmas Story
GBCT's holiday mash-up opens Thursday
slt cast photo-Main
During rehearsals for Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some), members of the three-man cast posed for some photos based on the zany characters they portray. Shown here in various poses are Ken Harton, K.B. Bell and Doug Simmons. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

New shuttle service available

Great Bend Community Theatre patrons who might have a problem walking more than a block to see “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)” can take advantage of a shuttle service, being provided for the first time by Sunflower Diversified Services.
The bus will circle through the parking lots at the Elks Lodge, 1120 Kansas; across from the City Offices in the 1200 block of Williams; and behind Brown’s Shoe Store in the 1300 block of Main every 20 minutes to pick up theater-goers and deliver them to the Crest Theater. The shuttle will make its first stop at 7:10 p.m., and its final drop-off at 7:50 p.m. – just in time for the 8 p.m. curtain. For next Sunday’s matinee, the shuttle starts at 1:10 p.m., and make its final drop-off at 1:50 p.m.
A return shuttle will be available after each performance.
Play director Sally O’Connor said GBCT members were concerned that parking might become a problem after Cinema 6 opened in downtown Great Bend, so the shuttle was added. The bus can carry up to 12 people per trip. Donations will be accepted for those who appreciate the service.

Last year, Great Bend Community Theatre’s holiday gift to the community was “It’s A Wonderful Life, a Radio Show.” This year director Sally O’Connor will deck the halls with “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some).” The play opens Thursday, Dec. 5, with nightly shows at 8 p.m. through Dec. 7, and ends with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Crest Theater, 1905 Lakin Ave. The box office will be open over the noon hour this Monday through Friday, and one hour before each performance.
While both were holiday fare, that’s where the comparison between “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Every Christmas Story” ends. In fact, parents should leave the kids at home to watch “Frosty the Snowman” this year and leave this broad comedy and its slapstick to the grown-ups.
“It’s just a rollicking, silly, fun play,” O’Connor said. Anyone who knows the traditional Christmas TV specials and movies by heart may be tickled by this new attempt to roll them all into one madcap performance.
The play was written by Michael Carleton, Jim Fitzgerald and John K. Alvarez with music by Will Knapp.
K.B. Bell, Doug Simmons and Ken Harton star as  three actors who decide to forego yet another performance of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic and instead try to perform every Christmas story ever told — plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture and every carol ever sung.
“It’s a three-man cast, which means they’ve had to work very hard,” O’Connor said. Simmons stepped in to replace another actor two weeks into rehearsals.
For their musical numbers, the actors are accompanied by pianist Melanie Maneth, a Great Bend High School student. O’Connor’s assistant director is Susan Mills.