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BWW Review: A Christmas Carol Shines in Citadel Theatre's Digital Production

Experience this uplifting new production from the comfort of your own home!

BWW Review: A Christmas Carol Shines in Citadel Theatre's Digital Production Though theatre seats sit empty, the spirit of live entertainment lives on. This Christmas season, the Citadel Theatre's storytelling magic transcends the stage, beckoning audiences to experience its beloved Yuletide tradition from home. A Christmas Carol returns for its twenty-first consecutive season, this year reprising David van Belle's uplifting 2019 adaptation. Based on Charles Dickens' 1843 novella, van Belle reimagines the classic ghost story against a backdrop reminiscent of post-war New York City and Ebenezer Scrooge (Ted Dykstra) as the tyrannical owner of an opulent department store. Despite terrorizing his staff and alienating his only two family members, Scrooge receives a chance at redemption on Christmas Eve when visited by his deceased business partner Jacob Marley (Julien Arnold) and three more successive spirits.

Ted Dykstra reprises his role as infamous miser Scrooge, commanding the stage with a formidable yet compelling presence. Ensnared in his corporate reign of terror is employee and war widow Mrs. Crachit (Alison MacDonald), whose warmth and tenacity light up the stage. Other noteworthy performances among the revolving door of characters include Ruth Alexander as Scrooge's hapless housekeeper Mrs. Dilber and Cynthia Jimenez-Hicks as Belle, young Scrooge's vivacious former fiancée. John Ullyatt once again draws big laughs as the Ghost of Christmas Present, delivering an exuberant rendition of It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas while a befuddled Scrooge looks on. Threaded throughout the production are the warm and wise observations of the narrator (Glenn Nelson), a thoughtful new addition to this live-streamed production.

Any post-war-set Christmas production calls for a score of old-timey yuletide hits and this show is no exception. Peppered throughout are joyous jazzy renditions of classic holiday tunes such as White Christmas, I Told Santa Claus to Bring Me You, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The nostalgic songs weave beautifully through David van Belle's dynamic script, which brims with both poignant reflections and droll one-liners. Grounded in Cory Sincennes' evocative set design, the production has the trappings (and costumes) of a golden age movie musical without shedding the tale's shadowy overtones. Like a visit from the candle-adorned Ghost of Christmas Past (Lilla Solymos), this filmed adaptation of A Christmas Carol is hauntingly bittersweet, conjuring the bright light of theatre while stirring up memories of attending live performances.

To enjoy this cherished festive tradition, visit the Citadel Theatre's website to purchase a screening pass. A Christmas Carol is recommended for ages six and up and is available for online streaming until December 31.

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