A CHRISTMAS CAROL to be Presented at the Players' Ring Theater This Holiday Season

Directed by Debra Martuscello Wiley, this timeless tale has been produced at the Ring for 28 consecutive years.

By: Nov. 27, 2023
A CHRISTMAS CAROL to be Presented at the Players' Ring Theater This Holiday Season

The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without seeing the classic Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” running at the Players’ Ring Theatre for the first three weeks of December.


Directed by Debra Martuscello Wiley, this timeless tale has been produced at the Ring for 28 consecutive years, surprising you Christmas after Christmas with an interesting adaptation, a different director and a new design.

This season, "A Christmas Carol" will come to life onto the intimate Ring's stage in the adaptation of Tom Frey, a Maine-based Dickens' scholar who extensively researched the author's own notes from his live readings in the United Kingdom and the United States. Frey adapted the play in cooperation with Ensemble Players.

“My goal is to attempt to capture Dickens’ authentic voice,” Frey said.

“There are countless versions of this story and often each tries to do something ‘with’ the story. I hope to capture its essence, bringing out the same emotional responses one has when reading the book,” he added.

“As to what drew me to Dickens and this story, my life changed when I was about 10 or 11 years old and I had the privilege of seeing the great British actor Emlyn Williams perform as Dickens in a one-person show,” Frey said.

“I was transfixed and began reading all the novels and biographies I could find. About a decade later, I came across photocopies of Dickens’ notes regarding his reading of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and worked to recreate that experience. That eventually evolved into the adaptation we currently share.”

True to the original and very dynamic, this production is made extra special by the punctuation of uplifting a cappella music, as Madrigal singers act as narrators who help Scrooge in his journey to redemption, together with all of your favorite characters and ghosts from the original novella.

The 14-member cast plays multiple roles with Mike Pomp in the iconic role of but the main as Ebenezer Scrooge.

“I feel it is an honor to portray this character that is so well known,” Pomp said. “There are so many actors that have given their interpretation of Scrooge that I only hope that I can bring him to life in another distinct memorable way. There are more layers to the man than one thinks.”

  

Scrooge’s very name has become synonymous with cold-hearted, miserly behavior, and his actions from the first time we meet him in “A Christmas Carol” do nothing to contradict this idea. 

“He is everything opposite from what Christmas spirit is, but the story will show that he once had a great love in his life and lost it because of his greed for money,” Pomp said. “Ironically, it takes supernatural intervention to bring out his goodwill, caring and kindness which is the true meaning of Christmas spirit. Deep down inside (like therapy) Scrooge always had feelings of love, hope and caring.”

David Moore and Maggie O’Neill are music directors for the play; Leslie Gallagher is the choreographer and dialect coach; Bretton Reis is the set and lighting designer; Rae Strand is costume designer; Sammi Soprano is dance captain; Mike Pomp and Debra Martuscello Wiley are sound designers and Elaine St. Jean is stage manager.

This is not the first time Martuscello Wiley has directed “A Christmas Carol.”

Tom Frey brought this adaptation to The Dover Repertory Theater in the late 1980s and it was performed every year during the life of the theater,” she said.

“I personally performed in it for 12 years, and directed it for the first time while pregnant with my daughter. Tom and I revived the show with The Garrison Players in 2019, and my daughter performed in that production while pregnant with her daughter. So, it really is a family tradition.”

Martuscello Wiley added that this will be the first production where some technical effects are added that will add a layer to the spirits, which she is excited about.

“I am always hopeful that along with enjoying the tale of Scrooge’s redemption, the audience will be open to receiving Dickens’ timeless message of the need for social change and affording kindness and help to those in need not just at Christmastime,” she said.

“A Christmas Carol” comes to the Players’ Ring Theatre, at 105 Marcy Street, Portsmouth, NH, from Dec. 1 through Dec. 23. Showtimes are: Fridays at7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday shows are at 7 p.m. Show length is 1 hour and 50 minutes with intermission.

Ticket Prices: General Admission: $31; Students and Seniors (65+), $28 and Children under 12, $18. Group rates are available.

“A Christmas Carol” is sponsored by the Holy Rosary Credit Union.

The theatre also invites you to ring in the New Year!

Just in time for New Year’s Eve, “First Night,” by Jack Neary, will be at the Ring Dec. 29 through Dec. 31.

A bright, warm comedy about dreams, life, and love. Danny Fleming had convinced himself that life’s dreams can’t be anything more than dreams. Then back into his life walks his eighth-grade flame, Meredith O’Connor – only now it’s Sister Meredith Louise, and it becomes a New Year’s Eve to remember.  Come see why the New York Post review said "You can't help cheering."

The show runs Friday, Dec. 29, and Saturday, Dec. 30, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 31, at

2:30. p.m. and 7:30 p.m. General Admission: $28; Students and Seniors (65+), $25.

Visit www.playersring.org to order tickets for “A Christmas Carol” and “First Night.” Phone: (603) 436-8123

Our neighbor, The Puddle Dock Restaurant, and its sister restaurant, Tour, on Lafayette Road, are both offering a 10% discount on food to Players' Ring patrons. Visit their websites to reserve, and present your ticket when you ask for your check.

Artwork: Mike Pomp as Ebenezer Scrooge. Courtesy photo.




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