Eunice Beatty wrote a play with a Christmas theme and then asked members of the extended Beatty family if anyone would like to participate.
More than 90 people replied in the affirmative.
A rewrite was necessary.
Getting together during the holidays and doing something — like singing carols at nursing homes or volunteering with local charitable organizations — isn't unusual for the Beatty family, Eunice Beatty said.
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But this year she and her husband, former Fayette County Police Chief Anthany Beatty, have been trying to find something to do that would also serve as a fundraiser for their foundation, the Anthany and Eunice Beatty Family Foundation which they founded in 2007.
The result is Home for the Holiday, a three-act music-filled production premiering at the Lyric Theatre & Cultural Center Dec. 13 and 14.
More than 60 Beatty family members are taking part in the production, on-stage and behind the scenes, as musicians, set builders, costume designers and even as ushers.
Eunice Beatty has written plays for years.
"I always wrote plays for our youth groups at church," she said. "What's new is that I've done it on this scale."
Home for the Holiday begins with family members preparing for a trip home for Christmas, Beatty said. The packing and preparations are interrupted when the family helps out at the Salvation Army and with other charitable activities.
As the family gathers, members begin reading the poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas during the second act, with characters coming to life on stage.
"At many of our family gatherings, we end up reading or telling stories about what used to be," she said.
It is during that second act that the former police chief takes his turn on stage. "Out of all the characters, he is the one people will least expect," she said, laughing. "All I can say is he is a toy soldier."
I understand there is choreography involved.
Let me just point out I can't think of a single member of my family who would submit to such a public showing. And if they did, we all might regret it.
But back to the Beattys' play. The final act is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, with the story taking place as the wise men meet Jesus as a toddler.
Eunice Beatty directs the play, but leaves the acting to the other family members.
"I know my limitations," she said.
Eunice and Anthany Beatty's two sons and all their grandchildren have roles, as do extended family members from age 10 months to 87 years.
Tickets are $10. A special VIP reception and special seating will be available Nov. 13 for $30 a ticket.
The proceeds benefit the non-profit foundation the couple started as the former chief was retiring. It is a part of the Blue Grass Community Foundation, of which Eunice Beatty is a board member. The foundation focuses on youth, particularly those with struggles and obstacles to face.
In its first five years, AEBFF has given out $15,000 for back-to-school supplies, educational scholarships, sports activities and summer camps.
Beatty, a retired college professor and administrator, said invitations have been extended to community centers and the resource centers of five public schools, as well as the Salvation Army, so that about 200 young people can attend free of charge.
Anyone can also purchase five or more and donate those to children in the community. Contact Beatty for more information at (859) 229-1399.
"In light of things going on with our young people, something negative every day in the newspaper, we want to invite people to see this," Beatty said. "It's about family and that's why we wanted to make it affordable."
IF YOU GO
'Home for the Holiday'
What: A play with music written and directed by Eunice Beatty. The production features members of the Beatty family including former Fayette County Police Chief Anthany Beatty.
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 13, with reception at 6 p.m.; 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 14.
Where: Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center, 300 East Third St.
Tickets: $30 for play and reception on Dec. 13; $10 general admission.
Information: (859) 280-2218.