"Amahl and the Night Visitors" on a journey through NH

Manchester Conmmunity Theatre Players present “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in Concord and Manchester this month.

Manchester Community Theatre Players will present the operetta “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in Manchester and Concord.

Performances will be at the Brookside Congregational Church, 2013 Elm St., Manchester, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday.

The production will continue in Concord at the Hatbox Theatre, 270 Loudon Road, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 22-23.

The story of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” originally was written as a NBC telecast that would go on to air for 20 years each Christmas. It has been adapted to the stage and is being produced with a live orchestra.

The “night visitors” are the three Wise Men represented as kings called Magi. They are following the Christmas star toward Bethlehem to bring gifts to the baby Jesus.

Amahl, an impoverished and crippled shepherd boy who walks with a crutch, lives with his widowed mother. The three kings (Balthazar, Melchior and Caspar) stop to rest and seek refuge in Amahl’s hut. They knock at the door and his mother sends him to see who is there.

Known for his vivid imagination Amahl’s mother does not believe him and is awed when she goes to let them in herself and finds kings indeed. They are joined by an ensemble of shepherd and shepherdess singers and dancers.

“While the music was written by a gifted and recognized operatic composer, Gian Carlo Menotti, it is lighthearted and contains many comedic moments,” said the show’s director, Alan Kaplan. “The lyrics are in English, so the story is easy to follow, and there are no long arias. A special bonus is a miracle depicted on stage — no spoilers!”