By Roxanne Schroeder-Arce.
Cast: 2m., 3w., plus chorus with doubling, or up to 12+ (4m., 6w., 2 either gender) plus chorus. This play reveals a varied and intimate view of the lives of a Latino family during Christmas. In it, they prepare for this festive holiday with cultural foods and traditional values passed down through generations. Woven with Spanish and English throughout, this is a heartwarming, contemporary story about redemption and the true miracle of giving, with a dramatic ending that is touching and visually surprising. Estrella is 13 years old and calls herself "Star" to gain acceptance from the non-Latino students at the Catholic school she attends. She is torn between her family's cultural traditions and the exciting life she imagines exists in the homes of mainstream Americans. In trying to keep up with Sarah and Emilie, Estrella rejects Spanish and singing with her Latino church choir in favor of the after-school choir. This causes trouble with her Mami, who desperately wants Estrella to retain her Latino culture. To boost Estrella's confidence, Mami and Papi give Estrella the responsibility of choosing and purchasing the family gift to the baby Jesus to be presented at the Christmas service at church. When faced with this task, Estrella succumbs to peer pressure and spends all of the money on gifts for Sarah and Emilie, leaving nothing for El Niño. Only a miracle can save Estrella and her family from disgrace. The spirit of Estrella's grandmother, Abuela, guides her in her dreams to make the ultimate choice—to give del corazón—from her heart. Good roles for teens. Production notes are available in the script containing details on setting and staging. Although this is not a musical, there is singing of traditional Christmas songs by Estrella, her family and the school choir. Lyrics are available in the script, but a music score is not included. Contemporary costumes. Simple or elaborate. Approximate Running Time: 50 minutes.