"He runs away from home in hopes of becoming a famous magician," Marlowe explained. "He ends up learning that magic (as he knows it) does not exist. He does find what he is looking for, however, later in life, when he happens to be traveling with three 'wise' companions who are following a star, looking for a new king."
"Claus" is the shortened form of Claudius, the name of the main character in the play.
Marlowe said she grew up reading this story at Christmas.
"I've tried, with Youth Off Broadway, to do a show each year that works with a different group of community members that we haven't really worked with before," she explained. "This year, we thought it would be neat to do a show that brought different churches in the community together. We also include Danville Christian Academy, since many children from many churches in the area attend there."
Barkman said it is exciting to watch the songs come alive through the children performing them. She said she hopes theater-goers leave a performance feeling they are loved.
"The last song is 'Christmas is Love.' ... I hope the audience is loved and they have a desire to love others," Barkman said."
Marlowe added the central theme of "Claus and the King" is "fame and money and 'things' do not bring you happiness."
"Having and feeling love is what truly brings joy into a life," Marlowe said.
She hopes audiences come away from the show thinking about the true meaning of why Christmas is celebrated.
"And I hope they feel like they've been given a gift. The kids in this show are wonderful. Most of them are new to our stage (and) most of them have never even been in a play before! They are doing this with the purest of hearts," Marlowe explained. "Each of them come filled with joy, excited about the opportunity they've been given. I love that!
"One young girl who is new to the stage is Mikayla Keys. She brings a smile to my face every single rehearsal — even on those days I am stressed out and worrying about everything getting done. That is priceless!"
The good attitudes make even the most difficult of days better.
"We've had a lot of challenges with rehearsing in The Wing and most of these kid never having seen our stage before but it's amazing how, with a cast full of children, you remember it's not about you — it's all about them," Marlowe said. "And that is great with this kind of story because that is what 'Claus and the King' is all about!"
IF YOU GO
Claus and the King
Showtimes: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday
West T. Hill Community Theatre
Tickets: (859) 319-0205