“It’s about an appreciation of gentile and Jewish traditions in December, recognizing each other’s traditions during the holidays,” Webster said.
This part of the story is amplified by the town’s attitudes about the orphans as a group; some see the children as intruders carrying diseases, but others feel they are a positive influence.
“There’s a lot of healing for most of the characters,” Webster said. “These orphans bring light into the community.”
While the North Shore Players were searching for something new to perform this holiday season, they did stay true to some traditions of their own.
“We like stories that have some kids and some adults in it, as well,” Webster said.
That’s because, out of three plays the company stages each season, the first is always a musical with roles for performers of all ages.
That would include both generations — and all four members — of the Santorella family, including father Marc Sr., who plays Abe Birnbaum.
Santorella’s wife, Valerie, plays Miss Anders, while their children, Marc Jr. and Stephanie, were cast as Herbert Manfred and Christina Agnes, respectively.
Santorella, who works full time as a Danvers firefighter, was “born and bred” in Danvers and performed in a number of productions at the high school. He returned to theater after his children got involved in the North Shore Players, and he has appeared in several productions with them over the last two years.
“I performed with my son in ‘Cheaper By the Dozen,’ with my daughter in ‘The Bard is Back,’ and with my wife in ‘The Odd Couple,’” Santorella said. “And throughout all of these productions, my wife has been behind the scenes.
“So we’ve all, as a family, been involved in all those shows, which has been a wonderful experience.”