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'Little Drummer Boy' returns to Christ the King

James Ivory (from left), Yvan Giralte, Austin Murphy and Gary Shorland rehearse. Photo by CJC. (click for larger version)
November 25, 2009 - Come to Christ the King, pa rum pum pum pum.

A Christmas play with carols they'll sing, pa rum pum pum pum.

Admission for all is free, pa rum pum pum pum.

Bring your friends and see, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum . . .

An original Christmas play entitled "The Little Drummer Boy" is returning to the stage at Christ the King Church in Oxford (1550 W. Drahner Road) Thursday, Dec. 10 through Saturday, Dec. 12.

"It's an opportunity for people to come and hear the Christmas story in a great, new way," said Steve Harms, the 49-year-old Brandon resident who wrote the full-length musical/drama over a two-year period. "I'm hoping people will let their hearts and minds be touched by what this season is truly all about and get entertained in the process."

Three nightly performances of the two-act play are planned, all beginning at 7 p.m., along with one Saturday matinee scheduled for 2 p.m. Including intermission, the play lasts for about two hours and 15 minutes.

"We certainly expect a very large crowd for each and every performance," said Harms, who's serving as assistant director.

This is the second year Christ the King will present the original production, directed by Oxford resident Pat King. It was so well-received last year, the church decided to do it again.

"Our head count on it was pretty close to 2,000 people last year," Harm said. "Across-the-board, the comments were 'I want to come back. I'm bringing my friends.'"

Harms noted the play was an excellent community outreach event as it attracted many nonchurchgoers and members of other local churches.

Although the content of the play hasn't changed, the production values have improved.

"We've added some flare to it," Harms said. "I think some of our scenes are little more robust, a little more theatrical."

Residents from Oxford, Orion and Brandon townships comprise the majority of the cast.

Harms' play was inspired by the classic Christmas song "The Little Drummer Boy," which tells the fictional story of a poor boy who couldn't afford a gift for the baby Jesus so he plays his drum for the newborn savior.

The play will feature performances of other Christmas classics such as "Do You Hear What I Hear?", "O Holy Night", and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear."

"The inspiration was to take some of the songs of the season and use them in a way that would drive the story along like in a traditional musical," Harms.

Basically, the play is the story of the three kings (Magi or Wise Men) from the East who, guided by a shining star in the heavens, journeyed to Bethlehem to bring gifts to the newborn baby Jesus lying in a manger.

King Melchior is played by Brandon resident Yvan Giralte, King Balthazar is being portrayed by Oxford resident Gary Shorland and James Ivory, of Oxford, will bring King Caspar to the stage.

Weaved into this traditional story is the fictional life of the Little Drummer Boy, named Mozel in the play and portrayed by Austin Murphy, of Holly.

The Little Drummer Boy character has no biblical basis, so Harms was free to create the story of how he comes to meet the baby Jesus and play his drum for the tiny savior of mankind as he does in the classic Christmas song.

In Harms' version, the Little Drummer Boy was a happy, healthy child who suddenly found himself orphaned and poor.

On his own, the boy gets sold into slavery, but is rescued by the famed Wise Men on their way to Jerusalem and Melchoir makes him part of his family.

When the Little Drummer Boy meets the baby Jesus, he has no gift other than playing his drum. It's at that moment the boy makes the personal decision to believe in Jesus and what he represents.

"He has nothing else to give but himself," Harms said.

Harms didn't want to give any details away, but he promised a "nice little twist at the end" and a big finish.

"We have a way for it to come full circle for the drummer boy," he said. "It ends on a very, very positive note."

Unlike many of the church's previous productions, which involved many children, "The Little Drummer Boy" is a drama that's not a kids show by any stretch of the imagination. That's why it's recommended that audience members be at least 7 years old.

For more information about play call (248) 628-0038 or visit

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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