A CHRISTMAS CAROL Returns For 20th Year at Maryland Ensemble Theatre This Weekend
Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol is returning to Frederick for the twentieth straight year with Maryland Ensemble Theatre's production tonight, December 20 through 22 at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. The cast of over two dozen actors portraying the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future will transport audiences to Victorian England as the penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge learns the error of his miserly ways and embraces the true spirit of Christmas. "We really do feel like it's a holiday gift we can give to our community," said the show's director Julie Herber. "The spirit of the show is infectious, the energy we feel greeting the audience after the show is always so cheerful and heartwarming."
A Christmas Carol is a stirring tale that has endured and delighted since being greeted with critical and popular acclaim upon its publication in 1843. Dickens himself was the first to add a performance element to the story personally performing 127 public readings of A Christmas Carol. Since then it has been adapted hundreds of times to nearly every medium possible including the first surviving film version in 1901, Orson Wells on CBS Radio in 1938, both opera and ballet adaptations, a Muppets' movie and a Broadway musical.
Maryland Ensemble Theatre's version was adapted by Theatricks, a theater company co-founded by MET Associate Artistic Director Julie Herber. Theatricks first produced the show at Frederick Community College and then The Fun Company (MET's Family Theatre, also founded by Julie Herber) began producing the show at the Weinberg Center in 1996. The Fun Company became part of Maryland Ensemble Theatre in 2003. "The entire Christmas Carol team looks forward to it every year," said Herber. "I've directed nineteen of the twenty years and each year it feels like coming home. We have so many cast members that return year after year, it's like having a holiday family reunion and that really comes across on stage." One of the longest tenured cast members is Ashley Hall, "I started when I was a sophomore in high school, when I was fifteen. I'm going to be thirty-one on Christmas Eve, so that makes 15 years! It's a Christmas classic that I personally feel should be revisited every year. I firmly believe in the line, 'I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year'. Ultimately, it's a wonderful show, performed by a wonderful cast and crew, and it's a great way to celebrate the holiday season." Over the past couple decades thousands of families have celebrated the holidays with this production of A Christmas Carol, making it a holiday tradition in downtown Frederick.
Tad Janes, MET's Artistic Director, will portray Scrooge for the eleventh straight year. In addition to Janes returning as Scrooge, Gené Fouché is returning for her tenth year as the ghost of Christmas Past and Bill Stitely who will play Young Ebenezer was in the very first cast twenty years ago. Other veteran cast members this year include James McGarvey, Jack Evans and Lisa Burl. Also familiar to returning audience goers will be the fantastic music by composer John Walker that underscores the show.
The show will run December 20 and 21 at 7:30pm and December 21 and 22 at 2pm at the Weinberg Center for Arts (20 West Patrick Street, Frederick). Tickets are $12 through $24 and can be purchased at the Weinberg Box Office, at 301-600-2828 or online at weinbergcenter.org. The show will also be presented prior to the Weinberg performances at the Carroll County Arts Center the weekend of December 14 (carrollcountyartscouncil.org).
For audiences looking for more holiday entertainment the Maryland Ensemble Theatre will also be presenting David Sedaris' outlandish and true chronicles as an elf in Macy's Santaland display, The Santaland Diaries. Santaland will reunite the artistic team of Rona Mensah as Sedaris' alter ego and Suzanne Beal as the show's director who previously collaborated on MET's 2003 production of the show. Performances will run December 6 through 29 on the MET stage located in the historic FSK Hotel at 31 W Patrick. Sharing the stage at MET will be the Fun Company's holiday sing-along Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells which runs November 30 through December 29.