Review Roundup: Dolly Parton's SMOKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS CAROL at Emerson Colonial Theatre - Read the Reviews!
Dolly Parton'S SMOKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS CAROL is based on the novel "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, adapted for the stage by David H. Bell, Paul T. Couch and Curt Wollan. It features a book by David H. Bell and music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. The production is directed by Curt Wollan with choreography by John Deitrich.
The world premiere, fully-staged production features Peter Colburn in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, along with a company that includes Jonathan Acorn, Josh Bryan, Billy Butler, Brian Hull, Julia Getz, Ray O'Hare, Brittney Santoro, Ian Shain, Tader Shipley, Sachie Capitani and Malachi Smith. The orchestra is comprised of musical director, orchestrator and arranger Tim Hayden with Mark Barnett, Luke Easterling, Lindsey Miller, Caitlin Nicol Thomas and Ted Thomas.
The show will run through Sunday, December 29, 2019.
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Nancy Grossman, BroadwayWorld: What the show has going for it in the plus column are the multi-tasking members of the ensemble, most of whom cover more than one role, and the onstage band, under music director/keyboardist Tim Hayden. Caitlin Nicol-Thomas (fiddle) gives a nice turn as the nonverbal Ghost of Christmas Future, standing atop the store counter, dressed head to toe in long black coat and hat, playing haunting strains on her electrified instrument. Mark Barnett (banjo, mandolin, dobro), Luke Easterling (bass), Lindsey Miller (guitar), and Teddy Thomas (percussion) get the opportunity to be in the forefront for a couple of the more rousing of Parton's tunes, and one wishes there were more of those hoedown numbers. However, on balance, the songs tilt toward sentimentality so that staging tends to be subdued (after all, it is the depression), but the occasional burst of body-slapping, percussive choreography (John Dietrich) is appreciated.
Michele Markarian, Theater Mirror: The musicianship in the show is strong, especially the women - Tanner (who has a lovely, playful stage presence), Julia Getz (Mrs. Cratchit/Mrs. Fustbunch) and Brittney Santoro (Fanny/Sadie). Lee Fiskness's lighting design really enhances the action, particularly the Hell sequence when Marley comes to visit (John Dietrich's choreography and Linda Roethke's costume design help make this one of the more dramatic scenes in the show). Jonathan Acorn is appealing as young Scrooge, and Colburn is just terrific as the older version.
Iris Fanger, Wicked Local: But the storytelling is filled with problems. At nearly three hours, the stage version is too long and often inexplicable in its deviations from Dickens' work. Marley is cast as the villain, leading the young Scrooge down a path of cheating in pursuit of profits. Scrooge excuses himself for taking wrong turns because he is rejected by his early love, choosing to spurn her when she tries to return. Scrooge is also pictured as bringing in strike-breakers when the workers unionize, but there's too little development of what could be an interesting insertion. Later he ruins Marley who has protected himself from the miners' strife.