Addison McMillan portrays Erin Walton and Lennon Hofer portrays Jim-Bob Walton in “The Homecoming: Waltons’ Christmas Story,” on stage weekends through Dec. 17 at Westfield Playhouse.
Addison McMillan portrays Erin Walton and Lennon Hofer portrays Jim-Bob Walton in “The Homecoming: Waltons’ Christmas Story,” on stage weekends through Dec. 17 at Westfield Playhouse.

When Westfield Playhouse this fall announced the theater would be staging “The Homecoming: Waltons’ Christmas Story,” my ears perked up.
I grew up watching “The Waltons,” a wholesome TV series based on a Depression-era family with seven children, living at the foot of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Every Thursday night, we tuned in to CBS, which aired the show, a story told each week through the eyes of the oldest son, John-Boy Walton, who penned in his Big Chief writing tablets stories about growing up in a big family.
Being an only child, I longed to have a big family like the Waltons. The show, broadcast from 1972-81, was one of many wholesome TV serieses that my family watched. Through the years, we also regularly tuned in to “Little House on the Prairie,” “The Wonder Years” and “Family Ties” and before that, “My Three Sons,” “The Brady Bunch,” and “Leave it to Beaver.” While there are still TV shows on today about families, such as “The Middle,” “Modern Family” and the long-running cartoon, “The Simpsons,” the new shows don’t quite seem to epitomize the wholesome family like the TV shows of yesteryear.
So when Westfield Playhouse announced the theater would be staging “The Waltons” play, it gave me an opportunity to share with my daughter, who is also an only child, about television in my era, including the Waltons family, a show that I grew up watching, all the while hoping that she might be interested in auditioning for the play.

I knew that our schedule was already busy, with her just coming off a two-weekend run of playing Ursula in The Belfry Theatre Apprentice Players production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and then having a speaking part in Noblesville East Middle School’s “Guys & Dolls Jr.” musical, Nov. 10-12, and required rehearsals throughout the fall semester.
But when the opportunity arose that she could portray middle daughter, Erin Walton, she quickly said “yes.” Even though for a couple of weeks, she had back-to-back rehearsals, with just a short dinner break in between.
Since October, she’s attended rehearsals with the cast of 24, including 12 kids ages 6-16. She’s had so much fun learning her lines, while pretending to be a part of this big Waltons family, from squabbling with siblings to defending herself as not being a “prissy butt,” as sister Mary Ellen Walton, calls her.
The play being set in the 1930s meant finding costumes reminiscent of that era. Weeks ago, we scoured Goodwill and other resale stores, looking for pieces of clothing that would be fitting for the show. On our first trip to Noblesville Goodwill, we found an olive-green knitted-looking winter coat, which we quickly snatched up. We added a knitted scarf that we bought at a silent auction fundraiser at Deb Wofford’s house a year ago, and a knitted hat that had belonged to my daughter’s late great-aunt Anna, who came here as a war bride from Germany.
While we found the outerwear, we still needed an old-fashioned dress, which we didn't’ find at resale shops.

So, knowing what a great costumer that we have in The Belfry Theatre’s Norma Floyd of Noblesville, we asked her if she could come to the rescue once again. Over the summer, she had made our fabulous purple Ursula costume with its eight tentacles.
Floyd graciously agreed to make us an old-fashioned-style floral dress with fabric that she already had. Plus, she made us an old-fashioned nightgown. Both were perfect for the era. We thank you Norma, and hope you enjoy the show this weekend.
The play’s script is based on The Waltons’ original television movie, “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story,” broadcast on Dec. 19, 1971. The play, based on a book by Earl Hamner Jr., opened Dec. 1 at Westfield Playhouse and runs a total three weekends through Dec. 17. Show times are 7:30 p.m. today, 2:30 p.m. Sunday and at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and 16, and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at Westfield Playhouse, 1836 W. Indiana 32, Westfield. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and ages 62 and older. Plus, the Playhouse offers free admission to active military and veterans with identification.
The theater is on the south side of Ind. 32 in Eagletown, a small community west of U.S. 31 and west of the roads that lead to Grand Park. There are no indoor bathrooms at the small community theater, which was formerly a church. But unheated outdoor facilities are available. So I encourage patrons to go before you go.
In the program, my daughter thanks show director Sam Brown for giving her “the opportunity to be involved in such a wonderful show.” Going into the show as first-timers, we only knew Playhouse folks who I’ve been in contact with in my years of writing show previews. During the many weeks of rehearsals, I can say that we all made new friends.
Being involved with the show has brought back a lot of memories of yesteryear, growing up watching “The Waltons,” during a more simple time. It’s also been a great time to reflect about the importance of spending time with family during the holidays and every day of the year.
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-Contact Betsy Reason at