Nashville Repertory Theatre's Beautifully Conceived Gift of A CHRISTMAS CAROL Radiates Warmth

Matthew Carlton's Unique Portrayal of the Iconic Ebenezer Scrooge Provides the Key to the Ideal Holiday Offering

By: Dec. 04, 2023
Nashville Repertory Theatre's Beautifully Conceived Gift of A CHRISTMAS CAROL Radiates Warmth
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.




Existing user? Just click login.

No matter the year one may have experienced leading up to it, the holiday season can miraculously lift one’s spirits, effectively alter one's perspective on the world and generate a much longed-for sense of contentment. The traditions that are the vanguards of the season can transport us to a world vastly different from the one in which we toil daily, placing us amid a world of wonder and hope that provides the ballast to propel us into a new year.

Nashville Repertory Theatre's Beautifully Conceived Gift of A CHRISTMAS CAROL Radiates Warmth
Matthew Carlton as Ebenezer Scrooge

As the tumult of everyday life gives over to the festive traditions of the holiday season, spending time with loved ones, friends and family (who are connected to us by birth or by choice) becomes of paramount importance, lending a sense of vitality to our already packed calendars and busy, active lifestyles. Nashville Repertory Theatre, in their tradition of celebrating this festive time of year, draws upon the sense of family that pervades our theater community by presenting a sumptuously appointed production of a new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ venerable Christmas tale – A Christmas Carol – written and directed with heartfelt emotion to match the demands of the season by Micah-Shane Brewer.

Featuring a veritable who’s who of Nashville theater – people who over the years have become a part of our extended family of types both dramatic and theatrical – Nashville Rep’s 2023 A Christmas Carol (which features new music by Brewer, along with traditional carols beautifully performed by his more than capable ensemble) is designed to stir up all manner of seasonal emotions, to entertain and to delight. Ensconced at TPAC’s James K. Polk Theatre through December 17, Brewer and his artistic and creative collaborators welcome audiences with a palpable sense of love and affection that not only warms the heart, but which makes our holiday season even brighter than before.

Nashville Repertory Theatre's Beautifully Conceived Gift of A CHRISTMAS CAROL Radiates Warmth
Matthew Carlton, Ivory Bodnar, Evan Fenne,
Galen Fott and Denice Hicks.

Every member of the cast plays an integral role in creating the sense of the familiar that is emblematic of any seasonal offering and the presence of so many veteran actors and a generous sampling of newcomers helps to create the warmth of recollection and the gorgeous impact of a beloved memory.

Led by a startlingly unique performance by Matthew Carlton in the iconic role of Ebenezer Scrooge – Carlton infuses Scrooge with so much emotion that his transformation seems somehow more heartrending than expected – Brewer’s cast features a plethora of beloved Nashville theater artists, many of whom we’ve grown to love over a span of decades, while still others are of a more recent vintage, with a smattering of debut performances (at least for us) that obviously herald many great things still to come. A Christmas Carol offers an ideal opportunity for audiences to shower these talented performers with love to honor their onstage efforts that have enlightened us, entertained us and transformed us over the years.

Nashville Repertory Theatre's Beautifully Conceived Gift of A CHRISTMAS CAROL Radiates Warmth
Matthew Carlton and Brian Russell

Brian Russell is effective in a variety of roles, most notably as the high-flying Jacob Marley; and Denice Hicks makes her belated A Christmas Carol debut as Mrs. Fezziwig, among others, with Galen Fott as her joyous Mr. Fezziwig. Eric Pasto-Crosby is well-cast as Bob Cratchit, with the inimitable Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva as his wife Elizabeth. Ethan H. Jones strikes a particularly authoritative figure as Mr. Blakely.

Kris Sidberry is the beautiful Ghost of Christmas Past, with Brian Charles Rooney as The Ghost of Christmas Present and Ben Friesen is The Ghost of Christmas Future. Max Fleishhacker is very effective as Nephew Fred (in fact, the most emotional scene of the entire production is when Scrooge visits Fred’s flat after his transformation and the uncle and nephew reconcile after years of estrangement). Evan Fenne makes an impressive Nashville Rep debut as the younger Ebenezer, with Ivory Bodnar as his lovely Belle.

Nashville Repertory Theatre's Beautifully Conceived Gift of A CHRISTMAS CAROL Radiates Warmth

Another of Gary C. Hoff’s noteworthy sets provides the perfect setting for the Dickensian adventure, which is atmospherically illuminated by Michael Barnett’s lighting design.  Melissa Durmon dresses the actors with a wide array of period-perfect costumes that allow them the freedom to more easily divine who their characters are (there are so many characters and so many costumes, we can just imagine how frenetic the atmosphere offstage must be!). Lauren Yawn provides the props that are prevalent in each and every scene, while MZ Theatrical provides the terrific sound design and D.J. Pike designs the many projections that help to define the time and place of the play’s action.

Nashville Repertory Theatre's Beautifully Conceived Gift of A CHRISTMAS CAROL Radiates Warmth
Brian Charles Rooney and Matthew Carlton

With the razzle-dazzle of so many characters taking flight – Scrooge, Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmases Past and Future will garner many frequent flyer miles over the course of the show’s run – technical director Chelsea Flowers and her team deserve kudos for their efforts.

This onstage celebration of the season is like being wrapped in love, gently reminding us of the importance of keeping Christmas and its enduring spirit in our hearts throughout the year. Give yourself the gift of this heartfelt holiday tradition.

A Christmas Carol. Based on the novel by Charles Dickens. Adapted and directed by Micah-Shane Brewer. Musical arrangements by Gregg Perry. New music by Micah-Shane Brewer. Musical direction by Gregg Perry. Choreography by Shabaz Ujima. Stage managed by Randy Lawson. Presented by Nashville Repertory Theatre. At Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s James K. Polk Theatre, Nashville. Through December 17. For more information, go to www.nashvillerep.org. Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (with one 15-minute intermission).



Videos