BWW Review: Theatre Three's Annual Production of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL
The show is wonderful to begin with; that you can be sure. Theatre Three's 33rd annual production of the beloved Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol has certainly become a beautiful tradition on Long Island. Even with slight changes throughout the years, this ageless production is as spectacular as ever.
Jeffrey Sanzel, the Artistic Director of the Port Jefferson venue, directs the dazzling show running through December 30th. Additionally, Mr. Sanzel stars as our favorite miserable miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. As we know, the story takes place on the night of Christmas Eve through Chrismas morning when... shall we say... frugal Mr. Scrooge is visited by three ghosts to save his greedy soul from an eternity of shackles and chains. Among the ghosts that visit are Mr. Scrooge's deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet To Come. Mr. Sanzel's performance of the role from being crotchety to ultimately finding the Christmas spirit is truly inspiring; really the best around.
Mr. Sanzel leads the extraordinary, large cast filled with Theatre Three vets - with some newbies mixed in - many of whom hold several roles. Among the children, they even have two casts; "The Ivy Cast" and "The Holly Cast". At the crux of it, everyone in the company is outstanding.
In one of the more noticeable switches this year, Theatre Three favorite Steve Uihlein takes a turn as Jacob Marley in a boffo performance. The Ghost of Christmas Past is strongly portrayed by Jessica Contino whose powerful and commanding performance is one you will remember for quite some time. Furthermore, Long Island theatre vet Bobby Montaniz is hilarious as the Ghost of Christmas Present. As for the The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, that costume is operated this year by Dylan Robert Poulos. Yes, I said operated. In one of the most elaborate and amazing of costumes, the faceless undertaker-like ghost stands almost to the top of the stage. A ragged, black wrap drapes around him as he maneuvers back and forth. Unnerving fog surrounds him and his arms open brusquely to the sound of thunder as he is taking Scrooge through his potential future.
As for Mr. Sanzel's creative team, Randall Parsons' set is well done. The large stage has concealed sections and rolling pieces that are cleverly enhanced by Robert W. Henderson, Jr's atmospheric lighting. Over the years, Mr. Parsons has also coordinated the gorgeous costumes with the brilliant Bonnie Vidal who sadly passed away this year. You'll notice the costumes change very slightly from year to year, but you still get that 19th century aura.
And so, if you haven't seen this incarnation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in a while - or if you haven't seen at all - go see it. The classic story and this superb cast will surely get you into the Christmas spirit.
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is presented by Theatre Three of Port Jefferson, Long Island, through December 30th. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.
By Charles Dickens, Adapted & Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, Production Design by Randall Parsons, Costume Design by Randall Parsons & BONNIE VIDAL, Lighting & Sound Design by ROBERT W. HENDERSON, JR, Stage Management by Peter Casdia, Original Musical Conception & Sound Effects Design by Ellen Michelmore, New Musical Design & Musical Direction by WILLIAM ROSLAK, Associate Musical Director is Steve McCoy.
Starring Jeffrey Sanzel, GEORGE LIBERMAN, DOUGLAS J. QUATTROCK, ANTOINE JONES, Emily Gates, Bobby Montaniz, GINGER DALTON, Steven Uihlein, Jessica Contino, SUZIE DUNN, LILY ROSE ZEIDLER, SOFIA BOCANEGRA, HOLLY D'ACCORDO, KAILEY D'ACCORDO, MEGAN BUSH, SOPHIA KNAPP, HARRISON ROSENZWEIG, KIERNAN URSO, KAYLA JONES, ZOE KAHNIS, JACE S. RODRIGUES, Skyler Quinn Johnson, KATIE GUDZIK, HEATHER ROSE KUHN, FRANK VILLANI, ALEXANDER YAGUD-WOLEK, ALEXA EICHINGER, and KAITLYN SCHIEBLE
Photo by Brian Hoerger, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.