A CHRISTMAS CAROL Returns to Frederick for 22nd Year

Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol" is returning to Frederick for the twenty-second straight year with Maryland Ensemble Theatre's production at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. The cast of over two dozen actors portraying the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, Future and Tiny Tim 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. "It's such a treat to bring this classic to life each holiday season," 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 Welles 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 twenty-one of the twenty-two 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." 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 thirteenth straight year. In addition, Gené Fouché is returning for her twelfth turn as the ghost of Christmas Past and Bill Stitely who will play Young Ebenezer was in the very first cast twenty-two years ago. Other veteran cast members this year include James McGarvey, Ashley Hall, Karen Heyser-Paone and Lisa Burl. The production also includes a number of younger performers the majority of whom are students or alumni of MET's Ensemble School classes. The young cast members who will be performing in repertory are Cyra Ottinger-McKain, Ysa Seltzer, Maya Douez, Emma Vicari, Blakely Massey, Josh Nugent, Zoe Weisberg, Wilson Seltzer, Justin Blankenship, Mary Winram,Cassidy Hillman, Kailee Trang, Arlo Amster, Kristen Proffitt, Bethany Fitch, Sola Beers-Arthur, Claire Raimist, Charlotte Cooper, Elizabeth Shannon, Brielle Jobe, Bianca Sanchez, Olivia Blair Smith, Sophie Beers-Arthur, Evan Smedley, Alec Stitely, Lena Janes, Noah Stitely, Sam Trapp, Elle Kaminski, Morgan Blood, Sawyer Wells Kalbaugh, Maya Douez, and Johnny Alderman. Also familiar to returning audience goers will be the fantastic music by composer John Walker that underscores the show.

The show will run December 18 and 19 at 7:30pm and December 19 and 20 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 at the Carroll County Arts Center on December 11 at 8pm and December 12 at 3pm and 8pm (carrollcountyartscouncil.org). Weekday performances for schools and study guides are also available for teachers and their classes at both locations.

For audiences looking for more holiday entertainment the Maryland Ensemble Theatre will also be presenting, "The Gifts of the Magi". Based on O. Henry's famous story, this heart-warming holiday musical follows the couple as they struggle to afford gifts for each other. Performances will run December 4 through January 3 on the MET stage located in the historic FSK Hotel at 31 W Patrick. Also MET's family theater, The Fun Company, is bringing back last year's sold-out smash hit the holiday sing-along "Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells" which will run November 28 through January 3.

Now in its eighteenth season in downtown Frederick the Maryland Ensemble Theatre produces thought-provoking theatre, fun family entertainment, artist residency programs for public schools, theatre camps, challenging classes and sidesplitting comedy. For more information on "A Christmas Carol" or any of MET's other shows or programs visit marylandensemble.org or call 301-694-4744.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL INFORMATION

Starring: Tad Janes* (Ebenezer Scrooge), Gené Fouché* (Ghost of Christmas Past), Karen Heyser-Paone (Ghost of Christmas Present), Bill Stitely (Nephew, Young Ebenezer), James McGarvey* (Ghost of Jacob Marley, Fezziwig), Lisa Burl* (Mrs. Cratchit), Ashley Hall (Belle).

Repertory Cast A: Cyra Ottinger-McKain (Tiny Tim), Maya Douez (Ella Rose), Sawyer Wells Karbaugh (Boy Scrooge), Blakely Massey (Belinda/ Fan) Josh Nugent (Peter), Zoe Weisberg (Martha), Justin Blankenship (Turkey Boy), Mary Winram (Caroler), Kailee Trang (Child), Junior Ensemble: Lena Janes, Bethany Fitch, Claire Raimist, Elizabeth Shannon, Brielle Jobe.

Repertory Cast B: Ysa Seltzer (Tiny Tim), Emma Vicari (Ella Rose), Sophie Beers-Arthur (Belinda), Evan Smedley (Peter), Kristen Proffitt (Martha), Morgan Blood (Fan), Wilson Seltzer (Boy Scrooge), Alec Stitely (Turkey Boy), Cassidy Hillman (Caroler), Arlo Amster (Child), Junior Ensemble: Sam Trapp, Noah Stitely, Sola Beers-Arthur, Charlotte Cooper, Bianca Sanchez, Olivia Blair Smith.

Director and Designers: Julie Herber* (Director), John Walker (Original Music), Tad Janes* (Set Design), , Julie Herber* (Costume Design) Devin Gaither* and Lauren Johnson (Stage Manager)

* Maryland Ensemble Company Members

Where: Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 West Patrick Street, Frederick, Maryland 21701 and Carroll County Arts Center, 91 W Main St, Westminster, MD 21157

Ticket Prices: Weinberg: Adults $24, Students (7-18) & Seniors (62+) $20, *Children $12 Additional service charges may apply.

Carroll County Arts Center $15-$17

Box Office: At the Weinberg Center Box Office or call the Weinberg at 301-600-2828 or at weinbergcenter.org. Or the Carroll County Arts Center at (410) 848-7272 or carrollcountyartscouncil.org.

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