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‘Christmas Spectacular’ brings cheer

Children’s faces lit up as Santa appeared, and laughter filled the historic Roxy Theatre as Fred the elf took viewers on a magical trip across the U.S. in the first-ever “The Roxy’s Christmas Spectacular.”

The “Christmas Spectacular” took place Dec. 5-8, with four shows for schools and six public shows. After the show was over, children had a chance to greet Fred outside of the auditorium and pose for pictures.

“Doing the meet-and-greet out there and seeing everybody that has come to see the show, it’s just as important to the actors as it is to the audience,” said Russellville High School student Avery Guinn. “I just love seeing people’s reactions.”

Two Russellville High School students took the lead in the show, with Guinn playing Fred the elf in all of the student shows and shows on Thursday and Friday, while Brayden Heaps portrayed Fred during the Saturday shows.

The show follows Fred the elf as he accidentally boards the North Pole Express and heads for North America. On his journey to get back home, Fred travels to different cities across the U.S. to learn the true meaning of Christmas.

Throughout the show, the audience was able to travel to Sante Fe, New Orleans, Atlanta, Orlando, Washington D.C., Coney Island and New York City.

The aisles filled with people celebrating Mardi Gras as the train stopped in New Orleans, and Mickey Mouse and his Disney friends greeted the audience when the show stopped at Walt Disney World.

The show featured members of the circus during a stop at Coney Island, and Washington D.C. featured a tribute to the U.S. with the song “I’m proud to be an American.”

Upon his arrival in New York City, Fred reunited with Santa Claus before viewing a live nativity scene.

The majority of the interactions between Fred and the conductor were improvisation, which Guinn said he thought made the show extra special. The show was filled with lots of jokes and crazy antics, with Fred even joining the audience using a rappel rope.

“My personal favorite part was probably coming down the rappel rope just because it’s something the audience isn’t expecting,” Guinn said. “They’re expecting me to come back from the stage or from behind them, so when I come from up above them, it’s sort of got that shock value.”