It’s time to get out those winter woolies, holiday theme pajamas with footies, ugly sweaters and maybe some mittens and Santa hats. Company OnStage (COS) is presenting a holiday show that is not to be missed, no matter what the temperature.
While based in the Brays Oaks Management District, COS’ talented ensemble presents a “Pajamas in the Park” free, family friendly performance Saturday, Dec. 17, at Bellaire’s Bellaire-Zindler Park, 7008 5th St. in Bellaire, from 6 to 8 pm.
Included in the show are storytelling, songs, holiday scenes and monologues that celebrate the December holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, and Kwanzaa. Word is out that Santa will even make an appearance.
Since 1978, The Company OnStage, Inc., a non-profit organization, has fulfilled its mission of keeping the arts accessible and affordable to everyone, and providing opportunities for community members to perform or work in any capacity in theater productions. Formerly located in the now-closed Westbury Square Shopping mall, it continues to partner with other groups and find spaces to perform — because the shows must go on.
Founded by Joyce McNally and her husband Hank, the theater group started in the late 1970’s with performances at St. John’s Presbyterian Church on West Bellfort. In 1982, they moved to their only permanent home in Westbury Square. The arrangement lasted until 2015, when they were told the property was being sold.
The group landed next at the Salem Evangelical Church on West Bellfort, where they converted the gymnasium space to a theater.
With the sale and demolition of the church this year to make way for a new CVS pharmacy/store, the group is once again without a permanent home.
Kathryn Nosser took over as president of the board of directors in 2015, running an all-volunteer operation.
“We are in flux, and looking at interim spaces,” Nosser said. “We are lucky that we have community support and we are able to offer upcoming shows and are planning on three sets of shows in April, for adults and our young audiences shows.”
Those shows will take place at Spring Street Studios just west of downtown Houston. They are looking at any other opportunities for spaces in which to present a full theater season.
Their future commercial space may be in the Gasmer project, the repurposing of a sprawling, former Shell Oil Co. facility at the Willow Waterhole Greenspace near the upcoming Levitt Pavilion Houston in Brays Oaks.
Nosser said her group’s typical annual budget is about $60,000, provided by donors in the community and ticket sales.
“We are looking at any other partnering opportunities with theater groups, and any commercial space would have to make financial sense,” Nosser said. “Real estate is the biggest obstacle and is very expensive.”
Visit www.companyonstage.org for more information and check out their Facebook and Instagram pages so the company can continue making live theater available to the community during this “wandering” phase.
(In photo of partial Pajamas in the Park cast: Brady Bakri, Caprice Carter, Destiny Duhon, Nicholas Garelick, Lauren Hainley, Elias Mathiesen, Mary Mink, Patrick Thornton).
— By Arlene Nisson Lassin