Valley youth to star in SIAMSA Celtic Christmas |

Valley youth to star in SIAMSA Celtic Christmas

Nevada Appeal
American Idol contestant Olivia Swearingen performs and original song at the DHS talent show in March.
Brad Coman |

Carson Valley’s up-and-coming teen performer, Olivia Swearingen, is showcasing her skills in a performance that examines the true meaning of Christmas.

Swearingen is joining Jason Hays, a world champion Irish dancer, and other area performers in SIAMSA — A Celtic Christmas at the Nugget’s Celebrity Showroom in Sparks.

SIAMSA, the signature holiday production of The Reno Irish Dance Company, is an enchanting, adventurous holiday musical theater production fit for the entire family.

Written, produced, choreographed and directed by Amanda Coulson, SIAMSA is the tale of a young girl, Holly, and her little sister searching for the true meaning of Christmas. Their search takes them from village to village, where they encounter the many festive traditions and quirky customs of the Celts. Swearingen, a senior at Douglas High School, is reprising her role as Holly.

Audience members might recognize Swearingen from her recent role of Cinderella in Sierra School of Performing Arts’ production of Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Other roles include Wild Horse’s productions of Beauty and the Beast (Belle) and The Little Mermaid (Ariel), BAC’s Little Orphan Annie (Annie), and WNMTC’s production of The Sound of Music (Brigitta). Swearingen received superior ratings at all three rounds of the International Thespian Festival and has been a competitor on American Idol.

SIAMSA also features guest professionals including Hays, Irish dance champion Laura Cass, world renowned harpist Marina Roznitovsky-Oster, with local pre-professionals Darby Edberg and the Celtic Chorus under the vocal direction of Cami Thompson.

Jason Hays, a two-time World Champion Irish Dancer with an additional two North American Irish Championship titles, 14 Irish Regional titles and an All-Ireland Champion, will be the male lead in this year’s production. Hays has performed with the acclaimed Michael Flatley productions of “Lord of the Dance” and “Feet of Flames.”

Laura Cass is a championship Irish dancer, competing since the age of six. Her success at local competitions qualified her to dance at the Southern U.S.A. Regionals, North American Nationals and the prestigious World Irish Dance Championships where she will be making her 15th appearance in 2017. Laura’s passion to perform led to countless TV appearances and professional productions. She has shared the stage with internationally acclaimed artists including Eileen Ivers, The Blaggards and Gaelic Storm. She was also a performing member of Colorado’s “Strictly Irish,” and has been a regular guest artist at the “Nine Fine Irishmen” show located in The New York, New York hotel in Las Vegas. Laura, a current dancer in Disney’s “Raglan Road,” traveled to Germany for this year’s Gaelforce Dance tour. She will be joining the cast again this winter for her second international tour in Spain, China and Germany.

Marina Roznitovsky-Oster is Reno’s own professional harpist and a SIAMSA regular. Marina earned her BM, MM and PD in Harp Performance and Pedagogy at Indiana University. In addition to teaching harp at the University or Nevada and TMCC, Marina is currently the principle harpist with the Reno Chamber Orchestra and the Susanville Symphony.

SIAMSA was first produced in 2000 and instantly became the area’s most popular Celtic Christmas show playing at Fitzgerald’s, the Grand Sierra, The Nugget, The Pioneer Theater, and the Bob Boldrick Theater in Carson City.

Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9; and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. The Celebrity Showroom at the Nugget Casino Resort is at 1100 Nugget Avenue, Sparks.

Tickets for $25-35 — with discounts available for veterans, seniors and children — can be purchased at or by calling the box office at 356-3300.

For more information about The Reno Irish Dance Company and this year’s production of SIAMSA, go to