“Yes, Virginia” Based on True Events


Virginia_O'Hanlon_(ca._1895) (La Junta, CO) – In 1897 Virginia O’Hanlon was eight years old. She asked her father if there was a Santa Claus. He suggested that she write to the New York  Sun newspaper and ask them because “if you see it in the Sun, it’s so.”Sun editor Francis Church rose above the simple question and addressed the philosophical issues behind it. The United States was still recovering from the Civil War and there was uncertainty and a bad economy for many. Church addressed the hopelessness felt by writing, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”

After a hundred years, the editorial still remains one of the most famous in history. Church’s alma mater, Columbia University, reads the entire editorial each year during their Yule Log celebration and newspapers across the country reprint Church’s editorial.  After writing her famous letter, Virginia O’Hanlon continued her education and received a doctorate degree. She worked as an educator until her retirement in 1959. The real Virginia received letters from children for decades about the famous letter and editorial. She answered every one of those letters, encouraging children to believe and to continue their education.  O’Hanlon’s love of books and reading is what inspired Macy’s to set its musical version of this story around the reading of books and even has one scene in an actual library with singing books as the librarian proclaims, “I love it when books fly off the shelves…”

Picketwire Players have adapted Macy’s delightful musical “Yes, Virginia” as their Christmas play this year. There will, indeed, be singing books and dancing pigeons and a little girl named Viriginia who seeks Santa Claus and the wonders of Christmas. The play is set in Victorian New York City with delightful music, stage settings, costumes.

Reservations are being taken for this show by calling: 719.384.8320 or online at picketwireplayers.org. Join Picketwire for their Christmas musical “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” – December 11, 12 and 13 at 7:00.