Would you pawn your brand-new touch-screen tablet to buy a gift for another? Did you hesitate a moment in answering that question?

When O. Henry wrote his short story “The Gift of the Magi,” the electronic essentials of today were still a way off. But he, nonetheless, hit a deep chord with his take on the true meaning of giving. A new musical version of the classic holiday tale, adapted and directed by local theater maven Michael J. Tobin, opened at the intimate theater space called The Footlights in Falmouth on Thursday night.

The story recounts the way two people give up something they hold dear for the sake of someone they hold dearer. Tobin has set the scene in Maine in the 1940s and mixed in a bunch of classic Christmas tunes with welcome touches of comedy. The result is 80 solid minutes of thoroughly entertaining holiday theater the whole family will enjoy.

Mark Calkins and Kari Presnell take the lead roles as a couple whose love is strong despite economic pressures that menace their bond. The two local theater veterans begin the tuneful show with a duet on Irving Berlin’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” followed up shortly by “You’re All I Want for Christmas.” Both performers revealed fine singing voices, which they effectively adjusted to the confines of the small theater space.

The show takes the couple from early romance through their later years on a stage arranged to represent several locations. Their love may verge on stickiness at times, but, in the spirit of the season, audiences are likely to be entranced by the warmth conveyed.

A supporting cast of three contributed fine musical moments and well-timed comic relief.

Cheryl Reynolds had a number of strong moments. She is shown as an angel in duet with Calkins on “White Christmas” and later as the wife of a crusty pawn shop owner with whom she harmonizes on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” She also cracked up the crowd as a waitress counseling on the proper way to propose marriage.

David Murray found his best moments as the pawn shop owner who only seems to have more affection for his dog than his wife. And Gretchen Wood was funny as an earthy hair dealer singing “Here Comes Santa Claus.” She later got to be more serious with a take on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

An offstage Denise Calkins provided the keyboard accompaniment, and the indefatigable Tobin contributed the set, props, costumes, lighting and sound design and execution.

Get into the holiday spirit by seeing this gift of a show.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.

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