Each holiday season, countless children in New York City write Santa letters that Santa Claus, which never get opened, much less answered. Broadway's participation in this program began in 2001, sparked by Broadway director Scott Ellis (Twelve Angry Men).
In conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service, the Broadway community brings these "Dear Santa" letters to Broadway houses and encourages company members and audiences to fulfill these requests.
This year, the Broadway community again is helping the Post Office to distribute 25,000 letters to theatregoers who want to help make a disadvantaged child's Christmas a happy and memorable one. Theatregoers are encouraged to make the needy children's holiday wishes come true by sending them the gifts they ask for.
From Dec. 10-13, cast members from 42nd Street, Beauty and the Beast, Brooklyn, The Musical, Chicago, Hairspray, Mamma Mia!, Reckless, Rent, The Lion King, Twelve Angry Men, Wicked and Wonderful Town will be making post-curtain speeches, and handing out letters to the audience.
Tony Award-winning actress Mary Louise-Parker, currently starring in Reckless on Broadway, is appearing in special PSAs airing on WABC-TV. "I am happy to represent the Broadway community's participation in Operation Santa Claus," Parker said in a statement. "I have been personally involved for many years in this important program. It is so crucial for theatregoers to know that by answering letters from these children, you can share the joy of the holidays with a family in need."
Broadway director Scott Ellis mobilized the theatre community's participation in Operation Santa Claus as a result of his personal experience with the program. So moved by the letters he had read, he reached out to Jed Bernstein, President of the League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc., who immediately embraced the idea.
"The Broadway community is very caring and giving of their time and resources, and so are its patrons," commented Bernstein. "We are delighted to be participating once again in this worthy and important cause, which is so close to our hearts."