Update Friday 11:35 a.m.:
Among the audience members at Cherokee High School's Christmas play, "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer," will be the person who wrote the song that inspired the show.
Randy Brooks, singer-songwriter known for "Grandma" and member of the band The Bad Monkeys, said he and his wife, Marti Brooks, are flying to Atlanta to catch the show in Canton. The couple is based in Dallas, through Randy Brooks tours throughout the country and his next show is this weekend in Nashville.
"We always talk about going to these things around the country, I told (Marti) about this one, sand she said, let’s go. We thought this would be a fun thing to support the kids. It’s a wonderful thing they do every year," Randy Brooks said to the Tribune Friday.
Marti Brooks is a former teacher of students with disabilities, her husband said.
CANTON — Cherokee High School’s annual Christmas play puts special education students and theater students on stage together for a fun holiday show.
Presented by the school’s theater program and Friends Club, the holiday tradition began eight years ago with special education teacher Ruth Fuller. Every year a new Christmas story is chosen and written by advanced theater students, who perform it with the Friends Club members. The idea is that students of all abilities perform together and everyone has a chance to be in the spotlight — every cast member has at least one line in the play.
“This is the highlight of the year. We look forward to this and the kids really enjoy it,” Fuller said. “One student told me a couple of years ago, ‘I feel like a movie star.’”
This year’s production, “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer,” is based largely on the animated feature inspired by the song of the same name. The show is 7 p.m. Friday in the school’s auditorium and the price of admission is a toy to be donated to MUST Ministries. The play is estimated to be 30-40 minutes.
Director and teacher Jodi Burn said that students in her Advanced Drama I class started working on the play in September, wrote the script, and worked with Fuller and the other students on casting. A track of country-themed Christmas songs similar to “Grandma” serves as the music for the production, and senior Joshua Walters taught the cast the choreography for the title song.
“This gives the students a creative outlet. It means a lot to the kids,” Burn said.
The cast, made up of about 40 students, includes Mallory Seibert as the grandmother, Dawson Crowe as Grandpa Spankenheimer, David Hughes and Angie Garcia as Bobby and Susie Spankenheimer and Micah Sherrill as Santa Claus.
An additional performance Friday morning will be put on for middle and high school special education students from anywhere in the school district.
For Seibert, a junior at Cherokee High, the show has been a learning opportunity about working with people with disabilities.
“It’s been really fun. I love working with new people and all types of people,” she said. “This shows (people with disabilities) are just like normal people, just with some minor setbacks.”
Cherokee High School is located at 930 Marietta Highway in Canton.