– This year, BLUEBARN Theatre is continuing its annual holiday tradition, The Giving Tree, supporting Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging (or ENOA). This mission of ENOA is to help older Nebraskans live independently and remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Over the years, BLUEBARN has help raise thousands for the organization during the run of their Christmas Show (which I’ve had the pleasure of participating in this year alongside Ben Beck and Theresa Sindelar).

“I have always had a strong connection to my elders,” BLUEBARN Artistic Director Susan Clement-Toberer said. “Memories of my grandparents still run deeply in and influence my everyday interactions.”

Seven years ago, Clement-Tobere had a conversation with a friend whose business was raising money for children over the holidays.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love kids,” she said. “But what about the elderly? Who is their champion?”

Clement-Toberer then discovered ENOA and the Giving Tree was born. During the run of Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!), a bright silver tree sits in the lobby of the theatre. Hung upon it are gold and silver ornaments, each with the name of an elder in the community. Patrons can purchase an ornament to take home for themselves, and the money raised is used to buy gift cards for those elders.

Most notably, Clement-Toberer and the BLUEBARN receive several thank you letters from the elderly recipients. For many, it was the only gift they received in the holiday season.

“Too many elders are sitting in their homes alone and forgotten,” Clement-Toberer said. “To grow old is something to be revered. To raise money for each individual every holiday is an honor and an important way that we remind them that they are valid, worthy, wise and, most importantly, remembered.”

For more information on the BLUEBARN’s Giving Tree, visit www.bluebarn.org.

For more information on the Eastern Nebraska Office on Again and its services, visit www.enoa.org.

– For fans of the classic holiday film A Christmas Story, the recently released musical adaptation is opening at The Rose this week on December 5th and running through the 28th.

While blending the movie’s iconic moments with new music and dance numbers, Artistic Director Matt Gutschick said, “This show reminds us that we can choose to love unconditionally regardless of how imperfect we have been in sharing love in the past.”

More information on the show can be found at www.rosetheater.org.

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com

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