Christmas tradition returns with new take on ‘Frosty’ tale in Nevada City
December 1, 2016
Know & go
Let your light shine this Christmas
What: “Frosty” performance by McVicker Family
When: 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17 and 18
Where: 13810 Climbing Way, Nevada City, CA
Why: Meet and greet with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, photos available for a fee; donations to Touched by an Child Foundation goes toward the cost of hosting the event
Info: For more information contact Kathy McVicker at 530-273-1112
The McVicker Christmas stage used to have a lot more actors.
But life — marriages, relocations, jobs and busy schedules — have limited a household that once numbered close to 20 people, 11 adopted and seven birthed.
The Christmas spirit? That's never changed.
After a six-year hiatus, a 20-year holiday tradition returns this year to their home at 13810 Climbing Way in Nevada City with "Let Your Light Shine This Christmas." Family matriarch Kathy McVicker is back at it, transforming her 6,000 square-foot home into a theater, Santa's Village and an overall winter wonderland soon to showcase her latest theatrical production, "Frosty," in the form of a black light puppet show.
She's a one-woman production team, for the most part, though she does get help from husband, Bill McVicker. She handles the writing, the sets, the control room, the directing, the voices and even the downstairs area complete with Christmas tree, fireplace and an array of elaborate decorations and lights. Guests will be welcomed downstairs by Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus from 5 to 9 p.m. both before and after the performances.
Guests can sign up and wait in line to visit the Clauses in a makeshift Santa's Village and have their photos taken for a fee. Guests can also mingle by a roaring fireplace. Santa will greet every child and listen to all of his or her wishes for the season.
New twist on old tale
But the true meaning of the event is the black light puppet show. Name something, other than acting, that goes into a stage production and Kathy McVicker is behind it.
"I love to be onstage but I can't direct and act. It's too much. I just love to watch the people come. That's what does it for me. We like the community to come in and have a good time."
And while faith plays a key role in the McVickers' lives, this is not a religious gathering.
"We are Christians, we are all Christians, but this is something that's different from a church function," McVicker said. "It's really just been us as a family giving goodwill. It's never been about money or anything like that. It's probably more about my passion that drives everybody.
"I'm the one who writes, and I get excited. I build the sets. I have the vision. So I kind of motivate them. It's hard. It's a huge commitment."
And what she's written is a new twist on an old tale.
'Willing to do whatever'
Pam Sikorsky, a 10-year friend of McVicker who takes the form of a grandmother-narrating tree, is involved for the first time. She tells the story of Frosty the Snowman. Due to multiple would-be cast members withdrawing, Sikorsky has bounced around multiple roles, beginning with an angel, a role that had to be scrapped.
"She was willing to do whatever it took to make it happen," McVicker said.
While she tells grandma's tale, twins Candy and Cane build the snowman.
That's where the contemporary twist comes in.
Frosty takes the form of Olaf, the snowman from the hit Disney film "Frozen".
"Frosty comes to life and tells the true meaning of Christmas," McVicker said. "Love is putting someone else's needs before your own. Jesus did that. God did that. Mom and Dad do that. Aunts and uncles do that … and that's exactly what Olaf says in the movie."
The project is being sponsored by Touched by a Child's Foundation, an organization that focuses solely on the needs of families.
The McVickers plan seven productions, all free of charge. Guests are welcomed at 5 p.m. with performances beginning at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Guests are then encouraged to stay and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Performance dates are Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17 and 18.
While Kathy McVicker is the architect behind the scene, there are plenty of other family members involved in the production.
Matthew Parker, who married into the family, plays Cane, one of the twins who builds Frosty.
"I wanted to be close to my wife," said Matthew, who has a mild form of autism. "I'd seen their plays before, and I decided it would be fun to be in a puppet show … It's fun, having a character come to life, having people enjoy our performances."
His wife, Mary Parker, plays his twin Candy. "I mostly look forward to it," she said. "It's a lot of work.
"But it's home. It's where I grew up. And when the performance comes and we see the reaction, I always say, 'Let's do that again.'"
Michelle McVicker plays the Grinch, and Marissa McVicker plays Olaf.
Marissa McVicker, 16, admits the lengthy preparation can take some of the luster off the holidays.
"Yes, Christmas does get a little old," she admitted. "We start in August. But it's all worth it when the performance comes around."
In the past 20 years, thousands of community members have enjoyed the McVickers' various holiday shows. For more information contact Kathy McVicker at 530-273-1112 or visit mcvickercounseling.com.
Donations may be made to the "Touched by a Child Foundation. Donations may be mailed directly to the McVickers or left in the on-site donation box. All money goes toward the cost of hosting the event.
To contact Staff Writer Stephen Roberson, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4236.
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