It's fitting that Shadowbox Live is touting its first holiday musical "Scrooge" (which opens later this month) as family-friendly entertainment, because this year's edition of its longest-running annual show, "Holiday Hoopla," may actually traumatize children.

It's fitting that Shadowbox Live is touting its first holiday musical "Scrooge" (which opens later this month) as family-friendly entertainment, because this year's edition of its longest-running annual show, "Holiday Hoopla," may actually traumatize children.

In a new approach, "Holiday Hoopla XX" will feature a running storyline throughout its two acts, and that narrative will show Santa being hit hard by the current economic climate.

"It's a concept that's been kicked around for a little while, and as they began to work on Hoopla, it really sort of fell into place," said performer and spokeswoman Nikki Fagin. "The storyline of Santa Claus being in a financial crisis is very clear, and honestly, super fun."

The first act will feature Santa telling his sad tale in a bar, while the second act will feature an actor playing Casey Kasem hosting a telethon in an attempt to raise money for Santa.

Regular "Holiday Hoopla" patrons will be happy to know that the Santa Babies, also marking their 20th anniversary, will be making an appearance in the show. The return of the Newport cast to the Columbus stage means there will be a reunion of the original lineup. Stacie Boord's Dolly will rejoin Julie Klein's Dixie and Stephanie Shull's Dorothy for the first time in more than 10 years.

Fagin added that there will be great new sketches as well as the classics.

"I'm personally looking forward to 'War on Santa,' which is a political talk show about Congress attempting to declare war on Santa Claus, and 'Mall Santa Santa,' where Santa Claus tries to get a real job as a mall Santa," she said.

A few Hoopla favorites will be making appearances on the music stage, including "Christmas in Sarajevo" and a revamped version of Natalie Merchant's "Children Go Where I Send Thee."

Capping off a year that saw the troupe expanding its space, cast and programming, "Holiday Hoopla XX" should be a hit. A handful of shows are already sold out, but the company is still waiting to see how it all comes together.

"As with anything new, we have no idea how it's going to go over with audiences," Fagin said, "but we're very excited to find out."