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By Dorothy McReynolds
TCTs Chair of Publicity 

Opal Lawler, Director of 'The Best Christmas Pageant Ever'

TCT Spotlight

 

In the same manner that the crystal opal shines many colors, so TCT's real life Opal Lawler possesses a brilliant range of talent from singing, dancing, acting, writing, and choreography to set design and directing.

I first saw Lawler onstage in 2015, when she starred as Lizzie Curry in TCT's production of "110 in the Shade". She captivated us as we watched her struggles with love between the mystic con-man "Starbuck" (Guy Martin) and the wholesome "Sheriff File" (Thaer Irvin).

Yet Lawler's gifts extend far beyond the stage. Receiving her degree in psychology at U.C. Davis, Lawler has done extensive work in group home environments helping troubled teens.

"Most of the work I've done has been with teenage boys in getting them back on life's track," says Lawler. "Sometimes the seemingly little victories become your greatest triumphs."

"Little victories?" I asked.

Lawler continues, "Just getting a kid to go to school when he's managed to avoid it for several years – that becomes a very big deal; or driving a young man to his first day of middle school; or seeing to it that he makes it to his band concert. When a kid learns how to complete those everyday events, it can transform a life," says Lawler.

"When did you become interested in helping people through the field of psychology?" I asked.

"Actually, I started as pre-med at Davis, but part way through, I realized the whole chemistry-math requirements weren't working for me, so I began studying psychology. I liked it, and I wouldn't trade anything for the personal rewards that have come from investing in a life that's been distressed. For the time that you have them, you love them just as though they were your own, and it's wonderful when you see changes for the good."

"And your interest in theater? How did that come about?" I asked.

"Actually, it began by my being cast in the same play that we're putting on right now, 'The Best Christmas Pageant Ever'," says Lawler. "Many years ago, of course."

"How did that happen?" I asked.

"Well, our family moved to the Bay Area when I was about 12 and my parents were looking for a church that would be a good fit for us, and this one church was starting a youth group and they invited my brother and me to join. It also happened on that day, that they were casting all the parts for their Christmas play, which of course was 'The Best Christmas Pageant Ever'. Somehow I was awarded the part of the main character, Beth, and the love for theater just grew from there."

"What would you like our Tehachapi audience to take away after seeing Pageant?" I asked.

"That it will remind people of the things that truly count. As we head into the demands of the holidays, that it won't cause us to forget the simple more important things."

"Like?" I asked.

"Like embracing the spirit of giving and sharing. Like accepting one another's differences. Like being able to enjoy the simple and beautiful things that Christmas brings to us."

"Well I'm ready!" I said. "Any last words?"

"Just that I'm so proud of our cast and crew. They've worked very hard to bring us their very best and I'm hoping everyone will come and see this wonderful group perform."

"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!" is based on a book written by Barbara Robinson in 1971, produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. Opens Friday, Nov. 17 through Dec. 10, 2017. Tickets may be purchased at the Tehachapi Treasure Trove or Tehachapi Furniture, as well as online at http://www.tctonstage.com. Cost of Tickets: Adults $15, Children 12 and under $8. Please, no children under 5 years of age.

The BeeKay Theater is located at 110 South Green Street, in Downtown Tehachapi.

 
 

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