The Canal Fulton Players will be hosting a musical comedy production titled “The Santa Substitute” in the main ballroom at the Raintree Golf and Event Center


anal Fulton Players will be hosting a musical comedy production titled “The Santa Substitute” in the main ballroom at the Raintree Golf and Event Center in Green.

Director and president of the group Kelly Devus said there are 13 performers ranging from ages four years to performers in their 70s.

“We have 13 experienced actors on stage with a group of 15 production people,” Devus said. “The Canal Fulton Players have been performing since 2005. It started in the basement of a church and founded by David VanGaasbeek. I started with the group about two years ago and we started working more with kids and actors in both Stark and Summit counties. We wanted to expand into other areas and started finding more people who want to get involved.”

This is the first time it will be holding a production at Raintree Golf and Event Center.

“The production is a holiday musical comedy that will pull at the heartstrings when guests think about the true meaning of Christmas,” Devus said.

The story was written by Devus and three others in the group. She said they wanted to write a story that could accommodate a flexible cast with multiple ages. The story is about Santa breaking his leg two days before Christmas Eve and can’t do the Christmas deliveries. Santa enlists the help of his administrative assistant named Carol.

The story follows Carol as she learns how to be Santa by meeting with different department heads. In the end, she also learns about the true meaning of Christmas.

Cast and production include the following: (*denotes a leading role)

• Santa Claus: (John Wood)

• *Carol: (Lily Warner) is Santa's administrative assistant who is a fast talker, a little gullible, extremely sweet and caring.

• *Tinsel: (Natalie Affolter) is Head of Textile and Fashion, professional and fashion forward.

• *Kandy: (Courtney Powers) Tinsel’s intern who is flighty but extremely fashion forward and smart with a knack for fashion technology.

• *Vaughn: (Courtney Hardy) a vocal German coach for Santa who teaches Carol how to laugh and spread joy.

• *Frosty: (Melissa Lauby) is Head of Flight communication for Santa and his sleigh. Total hipster.

• *Joy: (Katy Borland) is Head of Public Relations and in charge of Santa's public appearances and social media accounts.

• Mrs. Claus (Sharon Lawson), appropriately nicknamed the “Big Guns.” She’s tough and fierce, intelligent, but also incredibly kind and caring.

• Jamie (Austin Durant) is the caretaker of the children at the orphanage.

Other cast members include Kamryn Hubbard, Kyra Walker, Kali Papacostas, Holden Marzec and Greyden Gunther playing the roles of the children and elves in the show.

Production and Other Details About The Substitute Santa:

• Written by Katy Borland, Kelly Devus, Courtney Hardy, and Melissa Lauby

• Music by Kelly Devus and Katy Borland

• Directed by Kelly Devus

• Choreography by Jailyn Sherell Harris

• Makeup by Alyssa Goodwin (instagram: Littybugs_beauty)

• Videography by Ryan Cassetty (

• Sponsored by Raintree Golf and Event Center, Dollar Bank, David Van Gaasbeek Attorney at Law, and Swiegart Funeral Home

The Santa Substitute runs Nov 22-24 and Nov. 29-Dec 1 at Raintree Golf and Event Center. Showtimes for Fridays and Saturdays is 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door via cash or credit/debit card.

Devus said the script had to be modified because the leading man dropped out the day after rehearsal and they had difficulty finding a new person to fill the role. The original actress scheduled to play Mrs. Claus also had to drop out and Devus said she found a new actress to play the part while at a job interview.

“The cast and crew have been wonderful and quickly adapted to the changes leading up to rehearsals. They never asked what we were going to do but what they can do to help,” Devus said. “Raintree is beautifully decorated for the holidays. They go above and beyond to make the center stunning and we are excited to be presenting ’The Santa Substitute’ there. I hope everyone comes out to see the production.”