Origin Theatre Company to Present Site Specific 'CHRISTMAS CAROL,' Beginning 12/8

In an intimate, site-specific production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" taking place at the American Irish Historical Society on Fifth Avenue next month, Origin Theatre Company is rediscovering Dickens' original performance text. The one-man version of the story features the American television and stage actor Greg Mullavey. Performances are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday December 8, 9, 11, and 12, all at 8pm.

The production, which will only be seen by 40 persons at a time, takes advantage of the assiduously preserved Society's historic Beaux-Arts home, completed in 1901. The Society itself, which dates back to 1897 and is devoted to chronicling the history of Irish-Americans, has been in residence here since 1940.

The production's director, Matt Torney ("Tiny Dynamite"), reports that the former mansion will be filled with the sights and sounds, and smells, of a large Victorian home, circa 1853. Mince pie and mulled wine, prepared on the premises, will be served during the performance. A small children's choir singing period carols, will also evoke the season.

1853 is the year Dickens began performing his popular story in front of large theatre audiences. First published in 1843, "A Christmas Carol" was adapted for the stage within weeks of its publication. But it was Dickens' own command performances that drew huge crowds in large theatres across England, and in a famous tour of America in 1867-68, earning him what could easily be described as rock-star status of his day.

According to Torney, who has studied Dickens' annotated performance text (a copy resides at the NY Public Library), Mullavey's rendition will be more tailored to the space than a recreation of a Dickens theatre performance. "It's a parlor performance, in the true Dickensian tradition, something he might have done for his family and friends in his home." Dickens in fact, greatly enamored of the theatre, had a miniature stage installed in his country home, Gad's Hill Place.

Mullavey's credits include "Romantic Comedy" and "Rumors" on Broadway and "Clever Little Lies" at the George Street Playhouse last year. He is probably best known as Tom Hartman on the cult TV series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and for the grandfather on Nickelodeon's iCarly. Origin Theatre Company, now in its twelfth season, focuses mainly on presenting the New York and American premieres of plays by emerging European playwrights. Under the artistic direction of George C. Heslin, Origin also produces the annual Origin's 1st Irish Theatre Festival.

For tickets, which are $55, call 212/868-4444 or visit www.smarttix.com. The American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue, is between 80th and 81st Streets.

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