Traces of humor and quite a bit of drama surrounding the 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor are guaranteed to metaphorically transport theater fans for 90 minutes, said one official.

The Mulberry Community Theater Group will perform its latest production, "I'll Be Home for Christmas," at 8 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Mulberry High School Cafeteria, 203 W. Fifth St. in Mulberry. The musical was written by Deborah Craig-Claar and Mark Hayes and will summon a variety of emotions from audience members, said Joellen Moore, president for the Mulberry Community Theater Group.

"This is something different than what we mainly do," she said of the production, which is being directed by Betty Rankin and will feature music under the direction of Randy Jones. "Most of the time we do comedy — crazy comedy with catfights breaking out between characters and people running around the stage — but this is something more serious.

"This is based on the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the story works its way through the holiday," Moore added. "This is about the reaction to the bombing and how it affects the family."

Rankin agreed.

"I call it a dramady, because it has very serious moments because of the times, but it also has some pretty cute and fun things in it," she said. "We're making sure this is a very enjoyable experience. The music is wonderful — it's big band music."

The fact that "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is a musical also makes it a "unique" offering to the community, Moore said.

"There is a choir in this story, and the choir members are the radio," she said. "When the characters turn on the radio, you hear the choir singing."

Having separate rehearsals for the actors and choir members and then merging them into join rehearsal sessions has been "a good challenge," and the hard work from those involved will pay off when each performance's curtain opens, Moore said.

"Right now, it's trying to get the timing right between songs and getting everyone's lines in there on time, but I really think this will come off well for everyone," she said.

Rankin said the show's themes are meant to inspire, not overwhelm, patrons.

"The story is a reminder of a time long ago — a time where we were in a serious situation," she said. "In a way, there are some parallels to the situation we are in today — the dangers we face. It gives younger viewers who haven't heard of this time period an opportunity to understand what our ancestors did."

Also helping give "I'll Be Home for Christmas" a distinct flavor is its Christian tones, Rankin said.

"The idea of the story's themes are, no matter what situation we are faced with, the Lord is always with us," she said. "He takes care of us through all things good and bad."

Consisting of more than 30 members, the Mulberry Community Theater Group performed "I'll Be Home for Christmas" with about 20 years ago, Rankin said.

"Everyone enjoyed it so much back then, and we are having as much fun producing it again now," she said. "A lot of the current cast and crew aren't old enough to remember when we presented this before, so it's a new thing for them. They are into it now as much as we are, which is nice."

Tickets are $5 for Thursday's performance and $7 for the other performances. Tickets can be purchased by calling (479) 430-0684. Tickets also can be purchased at the door if available.

According to Rankin, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" will be an "ideal Christmas gift" for audience members.

"It's a very sweet story that gives you some perspective on how Pearl Harbor affected everyone here in the U.S.," she said. "Pearl Harbor was a shock. It was sad. Everyone was scared then. It was hard times."

Rankin said she also realizes the serious nature of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She also is banking on the production's big band music to provide a sense of wonder and excitement for those who see and hear the onstage activities.

"A lot of us weren't born in 1941, and a lot of people who are here today haven't ever heard big band music before," Rankin said. "Because of that, and because of this story, people are in for a really big treat."