FYT’s production takes inspiration from The Waltons

— Flint Youth Theatre’s production of The Homecoming
tells the heartwarming story of a memorable Christmas Eve for the Spencer family which was the inspiration for television’s The Waltons.

The time is a Christmas Eve during the Great Depression and the large Spencer family, living at the foot of a Virginia mountain, is struggling just to survive. With his father having to take a job a long way from home, Clay-Boy must shoulder increased responsibility for his brothers and sisters. As the oldest son of the family, just reaching manhood himself, Clay- Boy wrestles with the demands of caring for his family while nurturing an ambition that’s quite extraordinary for the practical community in which he lives. The situation comes to a head on Christmas Eve when his father has not returned home.

Known to television audiences as The Waltons,
the FYT production uses a stage adaptation of the novel by Earl Hamner, Jr. in which the family is named the Spencers. The
will capture the hearts of audiences who loved last season’s holiday hit, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Behind-the-scenes videos for The Homecoming are available at flintyouththeatre.

The videos offer exclusive rehearsal footage and interviews with the director, actors andproduction staff.

“Richard Thomas, who played John- Boy on television, said ‘The Waltons celebrated familism and healing during the Great Depression…its brand of deeply-rooted optimism was truly unique.’ As we rehearse this story of a large, close-knit family on a significant Christmas Eve during a time of economic hardship, the cast of 24 (ages 9 to 70-something, from Flint and all over Genesee County and beyond, from first time on stage to seasoned professional) is finding his words to be true,” said The
director, FYT Associate Artistic Director, Walter Hill. “We are becoming a kind of family both on stage and off and are looking forward, in the face of troubling times, to sharing these heartfelt feelings of hope with everyone.”

Members of the The Homecoming
production company include FYT Resident Artists Andrea M. Anthony, Deirdre S. Baker, Jordan Robert Climie, Rodney Creech and Jean McDaniel; FYT Junior Resident Artist Bary Lehr; FYT Guest Artists Glenn Conway, Karla Marie Froehlich, Janet Haley, William Kircher, Mona Kosa, Gene Oliver, Monica Snyder, Jane Walworth and Charlene Pierson; FYT Apprentice Aaron Snider; and 16 elementary, middle and high school students from Flint and Genesee County.

This is the second production in the 2010-2011 Signature Series with the season theme of Rites Of Passage: Life
Lessons and Stories About Coming of
and runs Dec. 3-18. The
is based on the novel by Earl Hamner, Jr. and adapted by Christopher Sergel. This production is directed by Hill, co-designed by FYT Executive Artistic Director William P. Ward and Artistic Director Designate Jeremy Winchester and stage managed by Winchester.

The Homecoming
performances are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3-4, 9-11 and 16-18, with 2:30 p.m. matinees Dec. 11 and 18. Performances are at Flint Youth Theatre, 1220 E. Kearsley St. Advance tickets are $12 for children, $14 for teens and seniors citizens and $16 for adults, and are available at Flint Youth Theatre, by calling 810-237-1530 or online at flintyouththeatre.org.
Day of performance tickets are $14 for children, $16 for teens and seniors citizens and $18 for adults. The
is recommended for ages 8 and up.

A conversation with the creative team will follow the performance on Dec. 4, 10 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 18.

The production is sponsored by the Charles Stewart Harding Foundation. Flint Youth Theatre’s 2010-2011 Signature Series is generously supported by the Ruth Mott Foundation. — Natalie Blythe

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