BWW Review: Theatre Three's Annual Production of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL
The show is wonderful to begin with; there is no doubt about that. Theatre Three's 34th annual production of the iconic Charles Dickens story 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 play running through December 30th.
Mr. Sanzel also stars as our favorite miserable miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. As we know, the story takes place on the night of Christmas Eve through Christmas morning when the... shall we say... frugal Mr. Scrooge is visited by ghosts in an attempt to save his greedy soul from an eternity of shackles and chains. Among the ghosts that visit him are Jacob Marley (Mr. Scrooge's deceased business partner) and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet To Come. Mr. Sanzel's outstanding performance of the role from being crotchety to ultimately finding the Christmas spirit is always inspiring; really the best around.
Also among the cast, Theatre Three favorite Steve McCoy is excellent as Jacob Marley. Mr. McCoy switches up his take on this role each year from his appearance to entrance and delivers with thrilling intensity each time. 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. Getting the most laughs indeed is Antoine Jones who is absolutely adorable as the "cheeky" 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 remarkable 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 and his arms open brusquely to the sound of thunder as he is taking Scrooge through his potential future.
I really could go on and on, but you can probably tell that the entire company is truly extraordinary.
As for Mr. Sanzel's creative team, Randall Parsons' set is well done. The large stage has concealed sections and rolling pieces that make for seamless scene changes (that and because this production is a well-oiled machine). This is cleverly enhanced by Robert W. Henderson, Jr's atmospheric lighting and Mr. Parsons' stunning costumes. 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 - just 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, Scenic & Costume Design by Randall Parsons, Lighting & Sound Design by Robert Henderson, Jr., Stage Management by Melissa Troxler, Properties & Construction by Karin Bagan, Musical Direction by Brad Frey, Original Musical & Sound Effects Design by Ellen Michelmore, New Musical Design William Roslak
Starring Jeffrey Sanzel, George Liberman, Dylan Robert Poulos, Steve Wangner, Steven Uihlein, Megan Bush, Antoine Jones, Ginger Dalton, Steve McCoy, Jessica Contino, Suzie Dunn, Addyson Urso, Julie Friedman, Amber Walkowiak, Holly D'Accordo, Heather Kuhn, Sophia Knapp, Kiernan Urso, Alexander Yagud-Wolek, Katie Gudzik, Kailey D'Accordo, Skyler Johnson, Jace Rodrigues, Sienna Scarlatos, Mia Campisi, Ryan Becker, Cameron Turner, Alexa Eichinger, and Nicole Passananti
Photo by Brian Hoerger for Theatre Three Productions, Inc.