Correction: Diana Manners' first name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. We apologize for the error.

Hope area residents are invited to come out for an evening of laughter and holiday cheer this weekend at WILLow LeaVes of Hope as the Actors’ Studio of Hope and WILLow LeaVes of Hope present its annual Christmas Variety Show at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The popular event will feature a range of talent including cloggers, comedians, singers, and improv to name a few.

Naomi Fleetwood-Pyle, the show’s producer and director, says the evening’s entertainment will be split into two acts with an intermission.

This year’s show will be presented against the backdrop of up-to-date breaking news as Trevor DeWitt and Pyle adopt their on-air personas for the evening.

Pyle, who plays reporter Holly Dayz keeps Douglas Fir, played by DeWitt, abreast of the evening’s events and breaking news as she reports for “WJOY 1225 Your station of choice for the holiday season,” Pyle says.

The skit, which Pyle wrote, offers a common thread that weaves together the evening’s holiday delights.

DeWitt says the greatest challenge for him during the show’s production has been the nearly two hour drive one way to attend rehearsals. But it is totally worth it, he says.

“I hope that people come and have a great time,” DeWitt says. “The variety show has always drawn a great response from the community.

As with all productions this year, since the advent of COVID-19, every precaution is being taken to offer a safe, enjoyable experience for those who attend, Pyle says.

“WILLow LeaVes is following all COVID precautions,” Pyle says. “All tables are positioned far apart and they are only seating families together. Everything is very COVID responsible.”

Given recent statewide restrictions on gathering size, Pyle says both shows will go on, however, once the amended maximum capacity is reached doors will close.

Comedian Cori Brod says she is anxiously awaiting her return to the stage alongside her improv partner, Pete Law.

“We love to do improve, so it is always fun to be invited to be a part of whatever is going on,” she says. “We want everyone to be safe – that is at the top of the list.”

Brod hopes she and Law’s skit will help to bring a smile to audience members’ faces. In a time of such stress and negativity, laughter remains good medicine just as the doctor ordered.

For those who aren’t familiar, improv is not a spectator sport.

“With improv comedy you get suggestions from the audience,” Brod explains. “You give them a topic and you build the scene from their responses. So it is all made up on the spot and I think those in the audience who participate are not on the spot but get to see how things unfold from their suggestions.”

This year, the pair plans on incorporating games in each of their 15 minute skits, Brod says.

“I haven’t done much of that this year,” Brod says. “We did a show at the YES Cinema several months ago, but other than that I haven’t been doing plays and things. It will be really nice to be back on stage.”

Clogger Diana Manners is returning for this year’s show and she couldn’t be more excited, she says. Part of what is fueling her excitement is the opportunity to dispel a common clogging myth, she says.

“I’m looking forward to being a good ambassador for clog dancing,” Manners says. “I am always amazed that there are people who have no idea what clog dancing is or think it is only done with wooden shoes to old timey fiddle music. They don’t think of it as dancing to music like what is on the radio today.”

Joined by clogging partner Mandi Motamedi, Manners will dance to some modern tunes, including songs by One Republic and country singer Laine Hardy.

Law admits one of the best parts about when the curtain rises is watching how all the pieces fit together to create a memorable experience for audience and cast alike.

“It’s always fun to have lots of acts put together and to see how it all works out,” Law says. “It is nice to entertain an audience because this year has seen a lot less live entertainment. I am excited about the possibility to be in front of a live audience, even though it may not be our usual crowd.”

Law adds that he and the cast are very aware of how rightfully cautious people are being in this pandemic.

“Of course, they should be,” he adds. “I am just hoping to hear people laugh.”