Even though the Ocean Professional Theatre Company lost much of its costumes and props, as well as some sets and backdrops due to Hurricane Sandy, Steve Steiner knew he would move forward and still stage his company's scheduled "Home for the Holidays" show within about a week after the storm hit.
"The more we experienced ... trying to come back from the storm as well as everybody in this whole vicinity, it became obvious that something that feels this good would be something that would be good for the community because it takes place in this community," said Steiner, who heads the Manahawkin-based theater group. "We've even written in some references to dealing with the storm."
Steiner was keeping the costumes and some electrical equipment at his Long Beach Island house because his theater company doesn't have its own building.
"I don't think that there was ever a time that we didn't think that we would be able to do the show," said Steiner about the fictional story that takes place in Ocean County. "I don't think we ever really considered moving the dates. When you start messing around with dates, then all of sudden, you lose the opportunity to do it at all."
The show could have been cancelled, but the 1-year-old company already had many reservations for the performances, Steiner said.
"There were lots of people not really affected by the storm, especially living on the mainland, some of the senior communities weren't really as affected by the storm as the people on the barrier islands," Steiner said. "To lose the opportunity to do something that they were planning to do for months would put a damper on the holiday for them, so we had a responsibility to the patrons who had already purchased tickets, I believe, to do everything that we could to provide the service they expected."
One of the people happiest to see the show go on is Andrew Foote, 34, of Montclair, Essex County.
Foote wrote the script and all the dialogue, based on an idea from Gail Anderson, Steiner's wife. This is only the second time "Home for the Holidays" has been performed. The first time was in 2006, when Steiner, Anderson and Foote were all at the Surflight Theater in Beach Haven.
"Home for the Holidays" is about three families and a soldier trying to make it home to to his wife, who are trapped together in a snowstorm.
"The children have questions about the different faiths and the different ways the holidays are celebrated. There is an exploration of Christmas, Hanukkah and even a little bit about Kwanzaa," said Foote, who added it took him three months to write the story. "There is the serious and the somber and the sacred way we approach it, but there is also the fun, more upbeat, Santa Claus and holiday numbers as well."
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'Home for the Holidays'
Held 2 p.m. today, Dec. 15 and 16, 3:30 p.m. Dec. 11, 13 and 14 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15 at OceanFirst Theatre in Manahawkin. Tickets are $35 for adults and $20 for children age 12 and younger. For more information, call 609-312-8306 or visit oceantheatre.org