Bernard Havard knows all about major productions. After 30 years as president and producing artistic director of the Walnut Street Theatre, he has handled hundreds of them.
But when it comes to his personal "set" - his home - Havard; his wife, Judy Capuzzi; and their son, Brandon, choose to keep things simple.
Their home in Philadelphia's semihidden and charming French Village, off Locust Street at Ninth, is light-years removed from the hustle and bustle of the crowds currently pouring in to see the Walnut's production of The Music Man.
That's not to say that the holiday spirit isn't visible. In this place of tastefully spare rooms and magnificent art, the season is reflected in a small tree with twinkling lights, a fireplace decked with a garland of greens, and a small holiday centerpiece of evergreens and reindeer on the polished dining room table.
The London-born Havard does most of the cooking in the home's modern kitchen, with its bleached wooden cabinetry and blue and yellow Italian tile backsplash.
"I'm a lucky woman - my specialty is cutting up fruit for our yogurt breakfasts, while Bernard prepares a fabulous osso buco," says Capuzzi, a professor of finance and international business at Cumberland County College in Vineland, N.J.
Capuzzi's domestic passion is for art. Her late father, John, was something of a Philadelphia legend as a leading expert in art restoration. He taught his daughter the fine points of fine art, and the couple's home is alive with it - including a portrait of her father in the living room, a reminder of his impact on her life.
In the dining room is a still life in oils by 19th-century artist Hermann Koch, so detailed that a tiny water drop hugs the skin of a peach. Capuzzi loves the painting for its beauty, and also for its provenance.
"My father and I went to an auction together, and he had me do the bidding, which was terrifying," Capuzzi said. "But we got the painting. I watched my father clean that piece and take it back to its origins, and I truly fell in love with it."
Brandon, 13, shares his parents' cultivated lifestyle, and is already a successful actor who goes by the stage name Brandon O'Rourke - a tribute to one of his father's ancestors, actress Kate Rourke, who created the role of Candida for George Bernard Shaw.
Perhaps Brandon will follow in the footsteps of his father, although Havard's boyhood roots started at what he calls a "Dickensian" British boarding school for boys.
If a student got an unsatisfactory weekly report, he was promptly caned. Good behavior was rewarded by food a tad more appealing than the usual fare, which included an unpleasant dish consisting of refried onions, cabbage, and potatoes. Havard still grimaces when he remembers it.
Life got better when the family moved to Calgary, Canada. That's when Havard became a celebrated child actor who ultimately decided to move from the front of the footlights to the world of theater management and production.
When he arrived at the Walnut in 1982, the theater, the oldest continuous performing venue in the country (founded in February 1809), was in serious financial trouble. When Havard turned it into a not-for-profit producing company - and he chose all the shows - things turned around. Thirty years later, it has the largest subscriber base in the world with 56,000 five-play season subscribers.
"I'm often asked what the formula is," says Havard, "and I think it's actually just common sense - give audiences one surefire holiday show as a centerpiece, and also deliver a diverse menu of quality shows."
Not surprising, the theater world is quite present in the couple's domestic world.
Havard's third-floor study, where he often spends "thinking time," displays the original program from Marlon Brando's starring role in the Walnut's 1947 production of A Streetcar Named Desire, along with a ticket stub from that show. Nearby is the program from the same play, this one produced by Havard in 2009.
Sketches from the Walnut's costume department have become wall art, some with material swatches attached.
A piece de resistance for Havard is an original caricature of him by the late Harry Hershfield, presented to Havard as a gift from his staff. In the caricature, Hershfield carefully inserted his famous "Nina" signature, a nod to his daughter that always appears somewhere in his work.
Two other treasures represent the distant past, and Havard's present and future: There's a cherished 1779 first edition of "On the Death of Mr. Garrick" by the Irish poet and playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. And from 2012 is an equally loved collection of affectionate notes from almost all of the Walnut's interns from the last 30 years.
"You have forever changed the face of theater in Philadelphia," wrote former intern Ben Lipitz, now a Broadway star, who returned to the Walnut this spring to perform in God of Carnage.
The family's connection with actors and other theater artists is so strong that those who can't get home for the holidays often spend Christmas Day at the family's home, feasting on Havard's painstakingly prepared ham or turkey or even goose, with all the trimmings.
"It makes the holiday brighter for them and for us," says Havard. "Theater folk are family."