The first time you hear somebody mention you might think they're sighing about some guy named Henry (Oh, Henry!), rather than referring to a particular person. But yes, there is an important author named O. Henry. Well, he's not really named O. Henry – that was just a pen name for the man whose real name was William Sydney Porter. And though he might not be quite as crazily popular as he was a hundred years ago, when he was writing, he's still considered one of the great American short story authors. O. Henry's stories are known for the sentimental warmth that shines through many of them, their playful and optimistic sense of humor, and especially for their twist endings. They're also often written in a uniquely oral style, as if the narrator (or O. Henry himself) were telling you the tale in person. They are perfect for reading aloud.
"The Gift of the Magi" was originally published in 1906, in O. Henry's second collection of short stories, . "The Gift of the Magi" is probably his greatest hit, and displays all of the major O. Henry traits in abundance. Since it was first published, it's buried itself deep in popular culture. It's been retold and repackaged in countless stories, magazine columns, TV specials, musicals, movies, parodies, you name it. It's also one of those classic "Christmas stories" that people usually read during the holidays. But even if you're familiar with one or more of the many imitations – whether it's the holiday special or – it's worth checking out the original. O. Henry's a master storyteller.
The holiday season is here, and with it comes the Holiday shows. For the most part, we are asked to see the same shows over and over, often called Holiday “classics”, but each production, with a different cast, set, director and actors gives us a little different look, which is the beauty of live theater! This year, there is a new holiday musical. Think back t the charming love story that was written by O. Henry, “The Gifts of The Magi” that shows the true meaning of Christmas, and add music, and you will have the new holiday production now onstage at Porchlight Musical Theatre. With a book by Mark St. Gemain and music and lyrics by Randy Courts with some lyrics by St. Germain, this 90 minutes of story telling with music is charming, but perhaps needs to be worked on just a little bit more. Directed by Mark E. Lococo on the intimate stage at Stage 773 with a solid, albeit small cast, what we have is a talented cast with some okay music, clever choreography ( Brenda Didier) and a delightful story, yet, it just doesn’t shake the holiday mistletoe as I had hoped it would.
O. Henry was a pen name for William Henry Porter. He published his first story in 1904, following a history of fleeing from the law for embezzlement charges. "The Gift of the Magi" is typical of Henry's work, which often encompassed an observation of everyday people as they went about their lives. It was also common for his stories to end with a twist, such as that in "The Gift of the Magi."