A CHRISTMAS CAROL Is Coming to the Maryland Theatre
Totem Pole Playhouse's national award-winning production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is coming to the Maryland Theatre for the first time this December 6, 7 and 8th for four performances only. Totem Pole's production of the holiday classic was recognized for the second year in a row as a "Best of the Best" Award Winner by the American Bus Association (A.B.A.) which named the critically-acclaimed stage adaptation as one of the top 10 entertainment events in the United States.
"Totem Pole Playhouse is honored to have received this highly coveted award for two years in a row and we are equally excited about the opportunity to share this faithful adaptation for the first time with audiences in Maryland," said the Playhouse's Producing Artistic Director, Rowan Joseph.
Joseph, who directs the annual production, adapted the script from the original 1843 novel. Totem Pole's production is noted for restoring the many Christian references in Dickens' original novel which are often omitted from other more secular versions. Most notably, the production opens with a prayer and closes with Tiny Tim's familiar acclamation, "God bless us everyone!"
Maryland Theatre Executive Director, Jessica Green said, "The Maryland Theatre is thrilled to partner with Totem Pole Playhouse in hosting A Christmas Carol. This performance will round-out our community's holiday season with a family-friendly annual performance of award-winning quality." The theatre recently completed a fifteen-million-dollar expansion and renovation.
The original Totem Pole production, adapted by Carl Schurr and Wil Love, was first presented at the Central Center in Chambersburg in 1987 and went on to become an annual seasonal fixture at the Capitol Theatre where it played until 2004. The show was remounted with a whole new set after a 10-year hiatus at the Capitol in 2015.
Due to the constraints of the updated set Totem Pole was forced to move the production, along with Joseph's newly adapted script, to Gettysburg College's Majestic Theater the following year. The current production will also play the Majestic, for the fifth consecutive year, the weekend before Christmas. In addition, Totem Pole has signed a contract with the Maryland Theatre to present the award-winning production at the Hagerstown venue the first weekend in December through 2022.
The production boasts a cast of over 40 professional union, non-union, and local Maryland and Central Pennsylvania actors making it one the largest productions of the holiday classic in the tri-state region. The show is produced under the Playhouse's agreement with Actor's Equity Association (A.E.A.), the union which represents professional actors on Broadway and throughout the country.
Equity member and professor of theatre at Shippensburg University, Paris Peet stars as the miserly, 'Ebenezer Scrooge', reprising the role he has played every year since 2015. Shane Partlow, who was prominently featured in this year's Academy Award-winning motion picture, Green Book, will return as 'Bob Cratchit'. Richard Sautter, an Adjunct Theatre Arts Instructor at Gettysburg College will play, 'Old Joe' and Oregon based actress, Jennie May Donnell, will appear in the dual roles of 'Mrs. Fezziwig' and 'Mrs. Dilber', rounding out the A.E.A. cast members.
Anne Hunt, Programming Manager for the Maryland Theatre, will return in the role of Scrooge's nephew's wife. Frederick residents, Maxwell Owens, will appear as 'Boy Scrooge' and, Taylor Knapp, will reprise her role as 'Mrs. Cratchit'. Westminster's Joan Crooks will once again play 'the Laundress' with Erik Alexis from Millersville returning in several roles. Joining the cast this year will be Hagerstown native and Mercersburg Academy graduate, Caitlin Cremins as Scrooge's childhood sweetheart, 'Belle.'
As in past years, the show will also be a family affair with several siblings, parents and children joining each other on stage. Mark Kleinman will return as the 'Lamplighter' with his son, Jacob, playing the roles of 'Orson Wilkins'. Jasper Wakefield will be playing 'Turkey Boy' and his older brother Elliott will be a Fezziwig party dancer this year. Phoebe Kauffman will portray Scrooge's sister 'Fan', Ruby Kauffman will play 'Belinda Cratchit' while their youngest sister, Mia, will play 'Want' in the show. Justin and Hope Beach will play 'the Bread Seller' and 'the Ribbon Seller'. Denzel Surcica will take over the role of 'Peter Cratchit' and his younger sister, Dahlia, joins this year's cast in the role of 'Belle's Daughter'. Sisters Liliana and Kalia Hoedemaker will return to play the Fezziwig's daughters.
Other children in the production will be Noah Travis as 'Tiny Tim', Gavin Dingle as 'Dick Wilkins', Ella Snyder as 'Martha Cratchit', and Donovan Ohler will play 'Matthew Cratchit'.
Playing other roles will be Sean Mott as Scrooge's nephew, 'Fred', J. Edward Riggs as 'Jacob Marley's Ghost', Brent Blair as 'Young Scrooge', and Lee Merriman and Thomas Trgovac playing the two 'Charity Men' in the show.
Portraying the three Spirits who each visit Scrooge will be Megan Lee Miller as 'the Spirit of Christmas Past', Chuck Lambert as 'the Spirit of Christmas Present' and Bryton Zook as ' the Spirit of Christmas Future'.
Rounding out the cast in various ensemble roles will be Hannah Famulare, Luke Lyman, E. Katharine Hargrove, Dawn Snider and Michael Krikorian,
Totem Pole Playhouse's Producing Artistic Director, Rowan Joseph, will direct the production and Luke Reed, will serve as choreographer and Choir Master. Equity Stage Manager, Bob Tolaro, will once again serve as production stage manager for the show. Jim Fouchard, who designed the first production in 1987 at the Central Center in downtown Chambersburg, is the set designer for the current reincarnation as well. Jon Dunkle, from the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, is designing the lighting for the show and Totem Pole's Associate Producer, James Nadeau, is the wardrobe supervisor in charge of coordinating the over 100 costume pieces in the production.
The four performances scheduled at the Maryland Theatre are Friday evening, December 6th at 8:00 pm, Saturday, December 7th at 2pm and 8pm and a Sunday matinee on December 8th at 2pm. Ticket prices range from $38 to $32 for adults, and $20 for students (age 18 or younger). Totem Pole Playhouse subscribers receive a $10.00 discount on all ticket purchases.
To purchase tickets, call the Maryland Theater Box Office at 301-790-2000 or online at Ticketmaster.com.