Something New and Refreshing for the Holiday Season Can be Found in ‘Christmastime Origins’ at The Group Rep

From left Sheena Georges, Diane Vincent and Kayley Stallings.
Photo by Doug ENGALLA

The Group Rep is always looking for unusual plays to present at Christmas. Previously it has presented “Inspecting Carol,” a new musical version of “A Christmas Carol,” and this year is presenting “Christmastime Origins,” four musical radio plays tracing the source inspiration of classic Christmas songs and the Dickens classic itself.  

These tuneful radio plays are culled from the book, “The Eight Plays Of Christmas” by Julio Martinez. The Group Rep thought it would be fascinating to present these plays and dramatically (and musically) illustrate how classic Christmas songs came to be. Julio Martinez is a local theater journalist, musician, musical director and radio host from KPFK.  

The Group Rep has converted its upstairs theater into a radio station (KGRT) with a live studio audience. So ticket-buyers get to witness an on-air radio program with actors performing several roles and also doing the sound effects with live “Foley.” The evening features all kinds of holiday songs and the general takeaway is that the program is charming, funny, touching and informative.  

The genesis of holiday favorites, like “Jingle Bells,” “White Christmas” and “Silent Night,” is dramatically re-created. Additionally, Julio introduces ticketholders to Charles Dickens as a young orphan and later as a young father. The audience will see and understand the things and people that shaped “A Christmas Carol” and enjoy a re-enactment of the final scene.  

There is a multi-talented cast of 10 mostly residents of the San Fernando Valley, which includes: Michael Gabiano, Sheena Georges, Kelley Goode, Doug Haverty, Matthew Hoffman, James Lemire, Kayley Stallings, Mark Stancato, Cathy Diane Tomlin, Diane Vincent and Leslie Young.

Musical direction is by Paul Cady and Hisato Masuyama. The sound Foley was designed by award-winning film Foley specialist Dan O’Connell. The play is produced by Stevie Stern and directed by Pasadena resident Kathleen Delaney.  

“Christmastime Origins” plays on Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. through Jan. 2. The running time is approximately 95 minutes (with intermission).

The Group Rep is located at 10900 Burbank Blvd. in North Hollywood. Proof of vaccination is required upon entry to the theater. Masks must be worn at all times while inside the theater complex. Tickets may be purchased at and questions and information is available by phone at (818) 763-5990.