Hospital presents Christmas classic with a Long Term Care Unit twist

Putting their stamp on the Christmas holiday, South Peninsula Hospital staff and Long Term Care residents perform the one-of-a-kind “A Long Term Christmas Carol” this Saturday and Sunday. Performances are at 3 p.m. in the Long Term Care Day Room at the hospital.

The production is an opportunity for the play-going public to see Bob Letson, hospital CEO, as he’s never seen. Between the makeup and costume and the selfish, uncaring persona he adopts, Letson’s Scrooge clearly instills fear in other characters in the play. Cracks in his prickly armor begin to show, however, when the “dreadful apparition” of Marlene, his late partner, played by LTC unit director Sue Shover, appears.

From there on, it’s a four-act unraveling of the “squeezing, wrenching, grasping scraping, covetous, old sinner” — a description of Scrooge provided by narrator Gary Mayforth — as Scrooge is given visions of himself as he was and the devastation he will cause in the future.

Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” in 1843, but the modern, made-to-fit Long Term Care spin is the handiwork of Luzma Alcaraz, a clerk in the hospital’s Long Term Care Unit.

“I do a lot of activities, usually ones people don’t like to do, like karaoke. I’m not shy,” said Alcaraz of her efforts to give Long Term Care residents plenty to do. “One day I thought we should do a play, and I kind of went with it.”

Her rewrite of the holiday favorite includes a cast of 15 that draws on the theatrical talents of LTC residents and hospital staff, as well as one puppy. 

“Plus, there are a dozen choir and violinists and pianists and additional musicians,” said Derotha Ferraro, SPH spokesperson.

Costumes and props were donated or purchased at discounted prices from the Salvation Army and Value Village. Many employees also sewed their costumes, helped create props and shifted schedules in order to be part of the performances.

“At first residents were hesitant and now they are really involved and engaged, spending time outside of rehearsal practicing their lines and talking about the show,” said Ferraro. “They have so much life in them and so much personality to share, that (Alcaraz) decided to do this and give them a new venue to perform and engage.”

The performances are free and open to the public.

“It’s not a big as the Nutcracker, but it’s pretty darn good for the first time out,” said Ferraro.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at