On December 3rd, families were ushered into parking spots at Mariners Church and given an FM radio station to dial into. Pre-packaged snack packs were delivered, and cast members took turns singing carols on a tiny stage, applauded by car horns. As the show began, guests heard the crackle from their car stereos as the familiar Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “Christmas Time is Here” ushered in a new era of socially distance performances designed to creatively bring the community back together.
Nostalgia and innovation combined this season to provide much needed comfort and joy to Orange County. When researching ways to present their winter show live, but socially distant, The Arts & Learning Conservatory called upon the memory of performances past and found the Drive-In. Drive-in’s are hardly new, in fact, original showings of A Charlie Brown Christmas were probably enjoyed this way, but they also serve a new community need. Inside cars, wrapped up in their own blankets, sipping warm drinks, and munching on candy and popcorn, patrons experienced the comfort and familiarity of a live performance, while staying safe.
To create the magic of a full production, cast members were filmed individually on green-screen and later pieced together by videographer, John Espino, making it appear as though actors were performing side by side. As the cast prepared to film their ZOOM rehearsed scenes before the big event, they bubbled with excitement, “What excites me most about the show is the way everything is going to come together with the filming and the production. I am very excited to film and see how everything looks once it is put together,” cast member Sophia Ruiz remarked. Other actors were similarly excited to perform on camera and bring a time-honored classic to this holiday season. The first season in 20 years that will not show A Charlie Brown Christmas on CBS.
Resident Charlie Brown, Marcus Brooks agreed,” I am so excited to bring this show, that is so close to everyone’s hearts, and that is part of everyone’s childhood, to life.” And brought to life it was.
The Arts & Learning Conservatory caters to k-12 students in Orange County and beyond, providing high quality equitable and accessible arts education. They are currently innovating new ways to equip students with creative skills to become better performers and community members during the pandemic.
Writing credits to: Morgan Holcomb
Photography credits: Morgan Holcomb