BWW Reviews: The KC Rep's A CHRISTMAS CAROL, No Better Way to Start The Holidays
Like a fine glass of champagne, A Christmas Carol, at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre only gets better with age. The 34th production of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens and adapted by Barbara Fields, opened on Saturday November 29 at the Spencer Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri. The KC Rep continues its 50th anniversary with the magnificent production of the holiday classic, which has been seen by more than a half million patrons since 1981. The KC Rep serves more than 12,000 schoolchildren annually.
Jerry Genochio directs the KC Rep production, which runs through December 26. The production team includes music direction by Anthony T. Edwards, scenic design by John Ezell, costume supervision and additional costume design by Tyler Wilson, projections and lighting design by Jeffrey Cady, and sound design by John Story. The change of scenery on a rotating stage and the use of projections are superb, adding to the fascination of the program.
Gary Neal Johnson continues to amaze the audience as Ebenezer Scrooge. Each time I have watched the annual production I have thought that his performance could not get better. Yet each year Johnson takes it to a new height, giving one of the most powerful and dynamic performances on any Kansas City stage. This is the 13th consecutive season for Johnson to star as the misery Scrooge. A Christmas Carol marks his 100th production with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.
Charles Fugate returns as Charles Dickens, narrating the tale of the cold-hearted Scrooge whose life and the lives of all around him are changed when visited by three Ghosts of Christmas. Fugate gives a flawless performance, guiding the audience through the 19th century tale.
Walter Coppage returns to the KC Rep stage in his role as Bob Cratchit, Scrooge's over-worked, under-paid clerk with a large family that includes the crippled Tiny Tim. Coppage a veteran of the Kansas City stage gives an outstanding performance as he brings to life the loveable character.
Katie Kalahurka marvelously recreates her role as the Ghost of Christmas Past. She seems to be pleased at taking Scrooge to times in his life that were to say the least painful. She dances around the stage, transporting him from scene to scene.
The entire cast of A Christmas Carol delivers marvelous performances in what has become a wonderful tradition in Kansas City. Jacob Aaron Cullum as the Young Ebenezer, Megan Herrera as the Serious Sister, Vanessa Severo as Mrs. Fred, Rusty Sneary as Fred, and Martin Buchanan as the Ghost of Christmas Future provide standout performances to the delight of the audience. Delilah Pellow is fantastic in his KC Rep debut as Tiny Tim.
It would be hard to fathom a better gift for the family than tickets to a showing of A Christmas Carol. A Christmas Carol continues on the Spencer Theatre stage through December 26. Spencer Theatre is located at 4949 Cherry, on the UMKC campus. Purchase tickets by calling the box office at 816-235-2700 or visit the Kansas City Repertory Theatre website. Groups of nine or more should contact Rick at 816-235-6122 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo courtesy of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.