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“The Three Gifts of Christmas” is a holiday treat for diverse audiences of all ages.  Based on “The Gift of the Magi,” “The Wind in the Willows” and “The Legend of the Poinsettia,” it is by turns poignant and comic, touching the themes of friendship, family, home and love that mark the season.


Time:  Sometime in the 1800’s.  Joel Poinsett tiptoes into his study on Christmas Eve to select a book as a present for his grandchildren.  He weighs the merits of three stories.  As he ponders each story, it unfolds on stage. 


“The Gift of the Magi” features two young newlyweds preparing for their first Christmas together.  Although money is short, each is determined to surprise the other with a beautiful gift.  Based on the O. Henry story with a classic plot twist.


In “The Wind in the Willows,” Rat and Mole travel through the Wild Wood toward Rat’s home “River Bank.”  They pass Mole’s burrow and make a detour.  Mole is embarrassed by his shabby abode but Rat is charmed.  By the time the two have dinner and a visit from strolling carolers, Mole has a new appreciation for hearth and friendship.


In “The Legend of the Poinsettia,” Poinsett revisits his time as ambassador to Mexico.  He travels to the village of San Marcos where he is asked to judge the children’s Christmas flower contest.  Two poor children, Graciela and Azul, search the mountains for the plant known to the Aztecs as the cuetlaxochitl.  They nurture the plant for six months before entering it in the contest.  Meanwhile, the town’s spoiled rich girl, Clarissa, enters roses from her family’s greenhouse.  When the winner is announced on Christmas day, Clarissa, Graciela, Azul and the congregation get a surprise.  So does Poinsett, who brings the cuetlaxochitl back to the United State where he begins hybridizing it into today’s poinsettias.



Jeffrey Scharf is a playwright, bookwriter, lyricist and songwriter.  His musical “Reunions” (music by Jimmy Calire) received its debut production at OYES.  He was the lyricist for “Divine Encounter” produced by the Academy for New Musical Theater.  He has also written book and lyrics for “Houdini Among the Spiritualists” which had a staged reading at ANMT and “The Kings of Swing” which had a staged reading at the Dramatists Guild.  His “Banana Slugs Fight Song” was heard in the movie “The Baxter.”  He is a co-writer of “Life in the Slow Lane” recorded by Roberta Donnay and “I Don’t Want to Know” recorded by Spencer Day.  Non-theatrical writings include a long-running career as newspaper columnist for the Santa Cruz Sentinel.  He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and ANMT.


His newest work “Young David Copperfield” was workshopped at ANMT and had a staged reading at the Elite Theatre.  Excerpts will be performed this June 5 and 6 as part of Musical Cafe's Spring Showcase at the Flight Deck in Oakland, CA.

Portrait of O. Henry

Rat and Mole stopped in the Wild Wood

            Straightening the burrow at Mole End. 

Poinsettias in the wild.

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