Rubicon Theatre Company presents CHARLES DICKENS' A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Rubicon Theatre Company kicks off its 20th Anniversary Season with the return of the critically-acclaimed holiday hit Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Broadway, TV and film veterans Peter Van Norden (RTC's Taking Sides, Copenhagen) and Emmy Award-winner Joe Spano ("NCIS," RTC's Bucky) reprise their roles as Scrooge and Marley, respectively, in this innovative telling of Dickens' timeless tale of transformation and redemption.
Adapted by Producing Artistic Director Karyl Lynn Burns and directed by Brian McDonald, the 27-member cast features many of the same actors from the original production that earned a "Critic's Pick" in the Los Angeles Times and rave reviews from Ventura County Star, CASA Magazine, VIDA Magazine and the Ventura Breeze. This imaginative version of Dickens' novella offers a revealing portrait of the yearning, lost child inside the cold-hearted miserly man. Actors perform in the storytelling style of the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Nicholas Nickleby, playing characters, animals...even dressing gowns and doors! Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL opens in Ventura on Saturday, December 9at 7:00 p.m. followed by an after-party at Rhumb Line Restaurant. Low-priced previews are December 6-8. The show runs Wednesdays through Sundays through December 23.
James Spencer and Shirley Lorraine of the Ventura Breeze enthused, "The performances and overall dynamic freshness of the Rubicon's show will renew your appreciation for the depth and power of this holiday tale... Triple-A production - amazing, astounding and awe inspiring."
CASA Magazine succinctly claimed, "This Carol has no wrong notes," and VIDA Magazine called it "Excellent and very entertaining."
More on Van Norden and Spano as Scrooge and Marley
No stranger to the role of Scrooge, Peter Van Norden also portrayed the crotchety character for two seasons at San Diego Rep. "Scrooge has been dear to my heart since I was a boy," says Van Norden. "What I love in Karyl Lynn's astonishing adaptation is the constant theatricality. It gives the story vibrancy and clarity."
Presented as a play with music, Rubicon's production also incorporates traditional carols sung a cappella by cast members including Teri Bibb (Christine in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway for seven years); Jennifer Leigh Warren (Big River, Little Shop of Horrors and Marie Christine in New York); Claire Burgi (Rubicon's Defying Gravity and youth productions of Bye Bye Birdie, Babes in Arms and West Side Story); and Trevor Wheetman (a Nashville-based artist whose recent Rubicon credits include last season's Music for Changing Times Festival, Return to the Forbidden Planet, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and Lonesome Traveler at Rubicon and Off Broadway. Wheetman and Bibb also play fiddle and accordion, respectively, in the Fezziwig party scene in Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
Other Cast Members
Returning from last year's production in the 26-member cast are Basil Augustine as the Ghost of Christmas Present; Lilli Babb as Martha Cratchit/Caroline; Robert Beuth as Topper; Matt Bourne as Young Scrooge; Troy Braun as John; Dan Call as Mr. Fezziwig; Gary Clemmer as Mr. Cratchit; Sophie Massey as the Ghost of Christmas Past; and Neirin Winter sharing the role as Boy Scrooge. New to this year's production are Jeremy Benitez and Ian Nunnery sharing the role of Tiny Tim; Claire Burgi as Fezziwig's Daughter; Logan Burns as William; Joseph Fuqua as Fred; Deborah Gold as Fred's Wife; Rebecca Graham as Fred's Wife's Sister/Housemaid; Coree Kotula as Fan/Beatrice; Seryozha La Porte as Belle's Husband/Ghost of Christmas Future; Linda Livingstonas Charwoman/Miner's Wife; Jennifer Ridgeway as Belle; and Seth Stevenson as Peter Cratchit/Dick Wilkins
Over the past few seasons at Rubicon, Brian McDonald directed Other Desert Cities at Rubicon (five Stage Scene L.A. Awards including Outstanding Direction and Production); A Tuna Christmas (in which he also appeared); The Sunset Limited; Bus Stop (five Ovation nominations including Best Play); "Master Harold"... and the boys (three Ovation nominations including Best Play, Indy Award and Stage Scene L.A. Award for Direction); and the World Premiere musical Hello! My Baby, written and conceived by Cheri Steinkellner. Regionally, McDonald has appeared on stage at Denver Center, Theatre Virginia, The Lyric Stage, La Mirada Performing Arts Center, Ensemble Theatre Company, The Pasadena Playhouse, Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center and the Ahmanson. He received the LA Weekly Award for Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance as Gaveston in the Circle X production of Edward II directed by Michael Michetti. He is a BFA graduate of Boston Conservatory.
About the Adaptor
The book for Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL is written by Rubicon's Producing Artistic Director Karyl Lynn Burns. Burnsfounded Rubicon with husband James O'Neil in 1998 and has overseen more than 130 productions for the company, including the World Premieres of 23.5 Hours/Conviction by Carey Crim (a co-production with Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor directed by Scott Schwartz);Daddy Long Legs by John Caird and Paul Gordon (which has traveled to 15 U.S. cities and 4 countries); The Best is Yet to Come: The Music of C. Coleman (NY Drama Desk Award); Lonesome Traveler by James O'Neil (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations); and Hello! My Baby by Cheri Steinkellner. She recently co-directed 23.5 Hours/Conviction at the Royal Manitoba Theatre in Canada with Katharine Farmer. Burns produced Tom Dugan's Wiesenthal Off-Broadway at The Acorn Theatre with Daryl Roth, directed by Jenny Sullivan (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations). She also produced the West Coast BeckettFest, which brought International Artists to Ventura for a month-long celebration of the works of Samuel Beckett.
Published as a novella by Charles Dickens in 1843, A Christmas Carol was met with instant acclaim and has never been out of print. The story follows rancorous miser Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by his deceased business partner Jacob Marley and three apparitions: Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. These encounters spur Scrooge to make a dramatic change for the good, embracing mankind through a generous spirit of kindness and charity.
At the time of A Christmas Carol's publication in England, resurgence in Christmas traditions had sparked renewed interest in the holiday. A tireless champion for the poor, Dickens interlaced the growing enthusiasm for Christmas into a cautionary parable against harsh treatment towards the less fortunate -- a reoccurring theme in his seminal novels.
The first public reading Charles Dickens gave was of A Christmas Carol at Birmingham Town Hall to the Industrial and Literary Institute in 1852. Subsequent readings only days later included audiences comprised mainly of the working class. Until his death, Dickens continued editing A Christmas Carol with an emphasis on its vocal linguistic qualities, adapting his prose to suit the ear. Much like a song, the novella is divided into five staves (song stanzas), relating back to the significance of the title. For over 160 years, this classic holiday tale has been adapted in more than twenty film versions, hundreds of television shows and stage versions, eight recordings and four operas.
Schedule, Special Performances and Ticket Info
Tickets for Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL range from $40 to $65 (opening night is $150 and includes a post-show reception. Tickets for students with ID are $25; teachers, Equity members and military are $40. There is a $5 discount for seniors 65 and older with ID. All tickets have a $4 processing fee. Discounts of 10% to 20% are available for groups of 10 or more, depending on the size of the group. Tickets for Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL may be purchased in person through the Rubicon Theatre Company Box Office at the corner of Main and Laurel in Ventura (Laurel entrance and downstairs) or online at www.rubicontheatre.org. To charge by phone, call 805.667.2900.