From The Aegis Weekender by Karen Toussaint

Actor from Bel Air Directs Locally

Veteran actor Alan Kootsher started his professional career on "The Patty Duke Show" in the 1960s. He's done commercials, performed on and off Broadway and in dinner theaters.

Now living in Bel Air, he has directed show like "Crazy for You" at Covered Bridge Theater at Cecil Community College.

At age 49, he's done something new. To celebrate Covered Bridge Theater's 20th anniversary, he wrote "A Wish for Christmas," which has its world premiere at CBT Nov. 24 and runs weekend through Dec. 3.

The play takes place on Christmas Eve in the home of four generations of the Novak family. The story line centers around young Joey who is granted one wish for Christmas by a visiting angel. Before he makes his wish, he discovers the dreams that lie hidden inside those around him - his parents, sisters, grandparents, and great-grandfather.

"The whole premise is for families to get together as they do in the show and experience the true meaning of Christmas - through laughter, through tears and through song and to walk away with a really good feeling," Kootsher said.

"I think this play has all the ingredients to bring people together," he said, adding, "It's a warm show, it's a funny show and the music's great!"

Kootsher plans to market the show after its premiere.

JoAnn Springsteen, who coordinates CCC's Young People's Theater Program, wrote the words and music for the songs in the show, which range from the charming title song to the rousing "Christmas Country Style."

"We hope it represents the spirit of the holiday season," she said.

Alan Kootsher, who directing the show, cast 12-year-old Par Cosby as Joey, Dawn Stevens as the sweet-but-bumbling Angel and a bevy of Harford County actors.

Al Woltz of Abingdon, who plays Joey's grandpa and gets to chew out his real-life son, Scott, on stage, said, "I wanted to work for Alan Kootsher. The fact that the show is original gives me a lot of leeway to create a character that has never been created before. I have the opportunity to create from nothing."

William Perry of Forrest Hill, principal at Harve de Grace Middle School, plays Joey's father and does a bang-up job of crooning "Christmas Christmas Style."

CBT artistic director, Patty Richardson, and her daughter Erin, 15, do the choreography.

Moaning, howling and rattling his chains, Ken Williams from Harve de Grace does a star turn as Marley's Ghost. Pauls Diggs-Smith of Forrest Hill as the Ghost of Christmas Past shares the stage with daughters Shelby, 10, and Chelsea, 13. Allison Luchey, 14, of Abingdon plays a Barbie doll. Elise Letavish, 15, of Bel Air stage manages while her brother Tim, 10, plays Tiny Tim. Jonathan Jackson, 17, of Harve de Grace and Terry Sullivan, 14, and Phyllis and Patty French, all from Bel Air, are also in the show.

Mary Johnson
Baltimore Sun

Veteran actor, director and playwright Alan Kootsher moves the action along swiftly through a variety of scene changes. His sharp casting skills are evident in his choice of supporting and leading players, and he uses the outdoor theater space well.

GE Aviation at

Jag's Steakhouse

What a fun evening.

A great time!

A unique and memorable experience!

Stephanie Palko

Cecil County Whig

"A Wish for Christmas" has a lovely, touching ending that brings home the true meaning of the holiday and just how the fantasy of one wish could be truly wonderful. It is an entertaining holiday production, suitable for all members of the family.