BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at McCarter Theater- A Treasured Show for the Holiday Season
"Men's lives lead to certain ends, but if those lives are changed, will the ends change as well?"
by Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol
The magic continues! A Christmas Carol, at McCarter Theater, is now on stage through December 29th. This is the show that has become a tradition for avid theatergoers every year. Adapted by David Thompson and directed by Adam Immerwahr, the production has marvelous acting, elaborate staging, and exciting new flourishes. Guests of the theater will revel in the appeal of Charles Dickens's beloved masterpiece. We attended a sold-out Sunday matinee with an audience that was enthralled by the show. There were many families in attendance including children who had the opportunity to appreciate live theatre.
For many, A Christmas Carol is a familiar story, yet it never grows old. The story unfolds in London in 1843, where Ebenezer Scrooge, an irritable, miserly businessman, has no use for the joys of the holiday season. He has a frightening experience when his deceased partner, Jacob Marley appears as a ghost and issues a dreadful warning if Scrooge does not mend his ways. Ebenezer Scrooge is then visited in just one night by three spirits, one from the past, one from the present, and one from the future. As Scrooge embarks on an incredible journey through time, his spirit and faith in humanity is renewed and the joy of Christmas is realized.
The superb cast masters Dickens' fascinating story. Audience members will laugh, be surprised, and possibly shed a tear. The troupe is led by returning McCarter veterans, Greg Wood as Ebenezer Scrooge; Jon Norman Schneider as Bob Cratchit; Paul Deo Jr. as Young Marley/Ghost of Christmas Future; Billy Finn as Fred/Undertaker; Andrea Goss as Lily/Belle; Sharina Martin as Mrs. Cratchit; Steven Rattazzi as Mr. Fezziwig/Solicitor David; A.J. Shively as Young Scrooge/Solicitor Matthew; and Frank X as Old Marley/Old Joe. They are joined by two newcomers, Twinkle Burke as Mrs. Fezziwig/Lady Char/Laundress and Jo Twiss as Mrs. Dilber. To round out the tale, the production also features talented actors playing additional roles, a Community Ensemble, and a Young Ensemble.
Memorable moments include the Solicitors attempting to get a donation from Scrooge, Fan presenting Scrooge with a snow globe when he was a schoolboy; Fezziwig's festive Christmas Ball; Ebenezer meeting Belle for the first time; the Cratchit family preparing Christmas dinner; Fred playing "Yes or No" with his holiday guests; Mrs. Dilber selling Scrooge' belongings; and Scrooge's heartwarming Christmas visit to the Bob Cratchit's family.
The Design Team has done a fabulous job of bringing A Christmas Carol to the Princeton stage with an authentic setting and state-of-the-art special effects. They include choreography by Lorin Latarro; scenic design by Daniel Ostling; costumes by Linda Cho; lighting by Lap Chi Chu; sound design by Darron L West; wig design by Carissa Thorlakson, and special effects by Jeremy Chernick. The production's musical director is Cris Frisco. The Associate Director is Jessica Bedford; the Dialect Coach is Liz Hayes; Flying Effects are by Flying by Foy; Choreography Supervisor is Greer Gisy; Casting is by Calleri Casting; and the Supervising Stage Manager is Cheryl Mintz. The music is by the late Michael Friedman.
Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy wonderful storytelling and a show that embodies the spirit of the holidays with a moral that rings true for all. Be sure to the theater early. The festive atmosphere with costumed characters is a special treat. Gather your group and get your tickets.
A Christmas Carol will be performed in the Matthews Theatre of McCarter Theatre Center, 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ 08540. For tickets, visit https://www.mccarter.org/ or call 609.248.2787.
Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson