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BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Geva Theatre

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now through December 24th

BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Geva Theatre

Christmas is a time of traditions. Be it caroling, making sugar cookies, decorating the tree, or hanging lights, folks love this time of year because of the traditions we create and revisit each December with our friends and loved ones. If you're like me, Geva Theatre's annual production of "A Christmas Carol" is one of your favorite holiday traditions, and for good reason. It's a consistently top-quality production filled with joy and merriment, and featuring many cast members who have been returning to Geva for this special show for over a decade.

This staged version of A Christmas Carol is, of course, based on the timeless novella by Charles Dickens from 1843 that recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge (Guy Paul), an elderly curmudgeon and local creditor who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley (Deven Kolluri) and the spirits of Christmas Past (Eliana Fanciullo/Alivia Domenico), Present (Joel Blum) and Yet to Come. The various spirits remind him of the people and events that shaped him, show the misery he's inflicting on his neighbors and relations, and foretell of his legacy after death if he doesn't learn to let love into his heart. After the celestial visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man, learning the true meaning of the joyous Christmas season.

All productions of "A Christmas Carol" largely live-or-die by the talents, believability, and overall crankiness of their Scrooge. Fortunately for Geva, Guy Paul is one of the best Scrooges in the biz, and is one of the main reasons why so many Rochesterians clamor for their "Carol" tickets each year; Guy Paul originated the role in this production in 2010 and has returned to play Scrooge in nearly every subsequent production. Less vaunted but equally superb, in my opinion, is Joel Blum, who has returned to Geva to play Fezziwig/Ghost of Christmas Present in numerous iterations of Geva's "Carol" since its 2010 inception. Blum is joyful and boisterous, acting as a perfect counterweight to Scrooge, with who he shares many scenes.

The true magic of Geva's Christmas Carol comes from the knowledge that it's a Rochester manifestation, born and raised (almost) entirely locally. While many---if not most---versions of the holiday classic seen on stages around the region and country are canned productions that travel from city-to-city, Geva's Carol features sets designed and built by Geva production staff; music by longtime Geva stalwarts Don Kott and Gregg Coffin; and a bountiful cast who---aside from the handful of lead roles---are Rochester actors. Special shoutout to all the SUNY Brockport students, SUNY Geneseo students, and young child performers from across Rochester's schools who help make this production so special.

"A Christmas Carol" will warm your heart, and is a true holiday treat for kids, grandparents, and everyone in between. It's playing at Geva Theatre until December 24th, for tickets and more information click here.

 


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