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Debut Show at New Virginia Rep Venue is a Bona Fide Holiday Hit for Families


‘Twas the week before Christmas, and throughout this great show,
my son was laughing … his eyes all aglow.

The inaugural show at the Virgina Rep’s Center for Arts and Education is an origin story of the classic Christmas poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, better known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The show tells a possibly true version of how author Clement Moore was inspired by surrounding holiday images and events to write the beloved poem. 

Parents and kids are sure to enjoy this musical that blends humor and heartfelt moments. Standout performances, include leading man John Mincks as the struggling poet Clement Moore and Joshua Chinn as the dancing Kris Kringle showing off his fast, fancy footwork. The cast includes several child actors performing in key roles and in the ensemble.

With eight musical numbers, including an opening medley of Christmas carols, the audience quickly gets into the festive spirit. Adults will appreciate the Supremes-inspired song performed by a mouse and dancing sugar plums. My son especially enjoyed a special appearance by Santa Claus sliding down the chimney as the actors recite the 200-year-old poem in the final scene!

Eddie Yabut’s four-year-old enjoyed his first live show at Virginia Rep Center for Arts and Education
 Jessica M. Bogese Theatre.

This was our son’s first live show so we were excited and apprehensive, unsure of how he would handle this new experience. While the show is recommended for kids five and older, our four-year-old thoroughly enjoyed the show and was especially entertained by the singing, dancing, snowing, and of course seeing Santa Claus. The show clocks in at fifty minutes without an intermission, which was just the right amount of time to keep his attention. At the end of the show he even exclaimed, “I want to be up there on stage!” Fingers crossed this means more live shows for our family in the future. 

Twas the Night Before Christmas is showing at Virginia Rep’s new home for their children’s theater, the former Sottish Rite Temple in Richmond’s Northside. The building includes three performance spaces and expands the arts organization’s programming opportunities for children, families, and schools. The larger home will provide more space for the various camps, classes, and workshops offered by Virginia Rep. After a generous donation from the Bogese family, the main 650-seat auditorium was recently named in memory of their daughter/sister as the Jessica M. Bogese Theatre. 

A large adjacent lot provides ample dedicated off-street parking. Follow signage for elevator access to the main lobby from the parking lot. The main entrance off Hermitage Road leads to a two-story lobby with chandeliers, costume exhibits, and floor to ceiling windows. The box office opens two hours prior to curtain. Easily accessible restrooms, including a family restroom, are located off the lobby on the same level as the main theatre. 

Twas the Night Before Christmas runs through January 1. Shows are offered on multiple dates and at various times, allowing you to choose a performance that best fits your schedule and kids’ nap times.

For tickets and showtimes, visit

Eddie Yabut works in health care and lives in Mechanicsville with his wife Abby and their four-year-old. For more family and kid-friendly adventures, follow Eddie on Instagram @dadventures_rva.

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