A Gift of the Magi


DECEMBER 11 -29, 2024

Wednesday, December 11: Pay-What-You-Will Preview
Thursday, December 12: Final Preview
Friday, December 13:  Opening Night

Wednesday – Saturday evenings at 7:30pm
Friday matinee June 21st at 2:00pm
Sunday matinees at 2:00pm

A bighearted holiday story reinvented as a chamber musical!

With full hearts and empty pockets, newlyweds Jim and Della seek the perfect gift for one another, only to find they already have all they need. It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic holiday escape than James DeVita and Josh Schmidt’s original musical, inspired by O. Henry’s classic tale of love and generosity.

Community Partner

Pay-What-You-Will Preview

December 11 at 7:30PM

Post Show Conservation

December 20th

Meet the Playwright

James Devita

I’m a native of Long Island, NY. Born in Deer Park, grew up in North Babylon, and spent my entire youth at the beach, fishing. I turned out, somehow, to become an author, an actor, and a theater director. I’m a core company member and the literary manager at American Players Theater, a classical repertory theater in Wisconsin. I’ve been fortunate enough to work as an actor in Japan, Germany, Australia, Ireland, and around the United States. I was a volunteer EMT in Spring Green, WI, for fifteen years, and worked as a first mate on an open fishing boat out of Captree Boat Basin, Long Island, for five seasons.

Along with my novels, A Winsome Murder, The Silenced and Blue, I’ve also worked extensively as a playwright for young audiences. I’m very honored that my work in the field has been acknowledged with The Distinguished Play Award from The American Alliance of Theater and Education; The Intellectual Freedom Award by the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English/Language Arts; the Shubert Fendrich Memorial Playwrighting Contest, and The American Alliance of Theater and Education honored my body of work with the Charlotte B. Chorpenning Award.
My adult plays for the stage that have been produced include: Christmas in Babylon, Learning to Stay, A Gift of the Magi (a musical adaptation, with Josh Schmidt composing); In Acting Shakespeare; The Desert Queen (the life of Gertrude Bell); Dickens In America; LakeView, and Waiting for Vern. I’m also very honored to be a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Fiction.

My higher education was as a first mate on the charter boats, which taught me some of the best and toughest lessons for life. At some point I had an itch to educate, and proceeded, with great rapidity, in failing miserably at it and dropping out of college –twice. Back to the boats I went. Filleted a lot more fish. Eventually enrolled at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island, stumbled on a theater program, saw my first play, and I was hooked. I received an AS there, then went on to study theater at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where I received a BFA. Somehow I found myself with a career as a theater artist and a writer.

I do remember always wanting to be a writer, though, even as a boy. In sixth grade I wanted to be a journalist. I wrote constantly while I was growing up; journals, monologues, plays; really, really bad poetry and short stories, but I was too shy to show anyone anything until I was thirty years old. A bit of a late starter. But I’ve been at it for a while now and it brings me much joy. Almost as much as fishing — almost.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was becoming a writer on the fishing boats. There were so many stories to be had there, so may interesting characters, so many days watching the sun rise over the ocean and working till it went down over the bay. It lent itself to wider thoughts. My first book, Blue, is actually about a boy who misses the ocean so much that he wants to turn into a fish and return to it. And he does. His transformation is about as miraculous as the career in which this kid from Long Island (me) found himself having. I am incredibly grateful to all who have helped me throughout my meanderings, because there have been many: the audiences, my readers, and the incredible teachers and artists I have had the privilege to work with along the way. You know who you are. Thank you.

Meet the Composer

Joshua Schmidt

Josh Schmidt is the award-winning composer of ADD1NG MACH1N3 (Lucille Lortel Award – Best Musical; Outer Critic’s Circle Award – Best Score & Best Off-Broadway Musical; Joseph Jefferson Award – Best Musical; as well as 4 Obie Awards, 9 Drama Desk nominations, and Drama League nomination for Best Musical), ADD1NG MACH1N3 was also heralded as one of the ten best events of 2008 in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Out NY and Chicago Tribune. Recent credits include the critically acclaimed MIDWESTERN GOTHIC (Signature DC), A MINISTER’S WIFE (Lincoln Center Theatre; Writer’s Theatre – Best Musical Jeff Award), WHIDA PERU (Premieres – Inner Voices 2010/59E59) and GIFT OF THE MAGI (American Players Theatre). Incidental scores include DINNER WITH FRIENDS (Roundabout), WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING (Lincoln Center), 3 KINDS OF EXILE and DYING FOR IT (Atlantic Theater), MODEL APARTMENT (Primary Stages), FIFTY WORDS (MCC), WORKS AND PROCESS (Guggenheim Museum), and MUSIC FROM ALMOST YESTERDAY (Barrow Street). Josh is currently working on musical projects and commissions for the Metropolitan Opera, RKO, Groundswell Productions, and Playwrights Horizons.

Josh is also an accomplished sound composer/designer whose Broadway & Off-Broadway credits include THERESE RAQUIN (Roundabout/Studio 54), HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES (Walter Kerr), BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS (Nederlander), WATER BY THE SPOONFUL (Second Stage), CRIME AND PUNISHMENT (59E59), and regionally for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Writers Theatre in Glencoe (Artistic Associate), South Coast Repertory, Stratford Festival, The Kennedy Center, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, Ford’s Theatre, Alley Theatre (Associate Artist), Milwaukee Rep, among others.

Josh is a 2012 Sundance Theatre Lab UCross artist, and a recipient of the American Musical Voices Project honoree grant and Graduate of the Decade Award (UW-Milwaukee). ADD1NG MACH1N3 and A MINISTER’S WIFE both have original cast recordings on PS Classics. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is a guest lecturer at Harvard, Suffolk, University of Mississippi-Oxford, Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, Wisconsin-Madison and currently an associate artist at UNLV/NCT.


Artistic Team

Our Show Sponsors

  • Show Sponsored by: Bonnie and Dennis Connolly and Sandi Johnson
  • Opening Night Sponsor: TBD

To learn about becoming a sponsor please contact Amy Mueller at 920-743-1760 or [email protected]

Third Avenue PlayWorks employs members of:  Actors Equity Association, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society