HOUSTON – Alley Theatre re-opened its downtown stage with ‘A Christmas Carol’ Friday evening. The sellout audience gave it more than a ‘bah hum bug.’ Many donated to help the theatre recover from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s countdown to the theatre’s tree lighting before the performance almost got upstaged by Steven Bennett of Cypress.

“I saw the switch and I went and grabbed it because... I don’t know why,” he said.

His daughter, Danielle, did the same.

“(Staff) didn’t tell us until I (touched) it and I was about this close to flipping the switch,” she explained.

Her sister Gabrielle hardly sounded embarrassed.

“Yes they’re my family,” she said. “I claim them.”

Her mom Janice was thrilled. “That’s the best part (about coming to the show),” Janice Bennett said. “I get to see all the different sides of my family.”

Two days ago, Bennett decided her family from Cypress needed to go downtown to support the Alley’s re-opening.

It is one of the country’s oldest resident theatres but needed $18 million worth of repairs after the flood. Insurance covered about $7 million. The theatre is trying to raised the rest.

“Just when you think donors are tapped out, they reach a little bit deeper and a little bit deeper,” said Mayor Turner.

Donations for the theatre’s annual “Deck the Trees” fundraiser excited staff and board members. Their opening night sellout helped too.

Sure, Charles Dickens’ classic is a draw. However, being together and supporting a stage they love meant everything to the Bennetts.

“Getting our whole family together is the most important thing in the world to me,” Janice Bennett said. “It’s just a fantastic time.”