BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at The Chatham Playhouse
The Chatham Players Proudly Presents The 30th Anniversary of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens adapted by Philip Wm. McKinley & Suzanne Buhrer.
The Chatham Community Players does it again! Their production of "A Christmas Carol" is one that is not to be missed this holiday season. The audience stepped into London, mid 1800s, and was greeted by a group of carolers who serenaded us with a collection of beautiful Christmas songs before the show even began. Both the set and costumes were breathtaking and deserve high praise.
Not only was the magic of Christmas present in this production, but there was also some wonderful theater magic happening. The face of Jacob Marley appeared on Scrooge's door knocker, then his ghost made a surprising entrance (You'll have to see for yourself). The Ghost of Christmas Past appeared and then disappeared all before our very eyes. Both Ghosts of Christmas Present and Christmas Future towered over Scrooge and the rest of the cast.
The entire cast was extremely talented in their acting, dancing and singing. Chip Prestera, who portrayed Charles Dickens, carried the show. Prestera lead the audience and helped tell the story of Ebenezer Scrooge with such energy and passion. He embodied Dickens so well that we were all captivated by his performance and were happy to be on the journey with him. Alan Semok played the grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge. Semok's portrayal of this character is one of the best I have seen. We watched him start off as the miserable and unapproachable man and saw him change into a gentler, more understanding man as his character was visited by 3 ghosts, each teaching and showing him something different. Scrooge has the biggest, and the only, story arch in the entire show and it was amazing to see Semok bring him over that arch gracefully. Each of the 3 Ghosts, Christina Eliades (Christmas Past), Will Carey (Christmas Present) and Luke Williams (Christmas Future), were cast perfectly. Their performances were flawless and the way they brought their characters to life were very entertaining and helped carry the story along. Even though Williams didn't have lines to speak, the way he moved about the stage was eerie to the point where you didn't want him looking in your direction for fear that you may be next in line to follow in Scrooge's footsteps. The entire Cratchit Family were both adorable and heart warming and felt like a real family. It is obvious that this cast and crew have been working hard and are all excited to be a part of this production.
The full cast includes Scott Baird (Bob Cratchit), Joelle Bochner (Mrs. Dickens, Beatrice), Will Carey (Christmas Present, Pawnbroker), Alexis Davies (Belinda), Zoe Davies (Martha), Jody Ebert (Marley), Parker Ebert (Peter), Xander Ebert (Young Boy Scrooge), Christina Eliades (Christmas Past, Fred's Wife), Alan Ellis (Topper), Michelle Finnerty (Mrs. Cratchit), Owen Finnerty (Tiny Tim), Howard Fischer (Mr. Fezziwig, Nutley), Eila Francis (Fan), Robert Hollis Lincoln (Baby Scrooge, Ignorance), Rory Lincoln (Fezziwig Child), Ken Magos (Undertaker), Samantha Papago (Want), Adelaide Prekopa (Belle), Chip Prestera (Charles Dickens), Alan Semok (Ebenezer Scrooge), Andrea Thibodeau (Laundress, Mrs. Fezziwig), Leslie Gayle Williams (Charwoman, Emily) and Luke Williams (Young Ebenezer, Christmas Future).
Directed by Jeffrey Fiorello, Music and Lyrics by Philip Wm. McKinley and Suzanne Buhrer, Book by Philip Wm. McKinley, Special Music and Arrangements by Ken Watkins and Helen Gregory, Set Design by Roy Pancirov, Produced by Bob Denmark and Joe DeVico, Costume Design by Frances Harrison, Lighting Design by Richard Hennessy, Choreography by Samantha Hahn-Simpson, Sound Design by Joe DeVico, Scenic Artist Dean Sickler, Stage Manager Pamela Wilczynski, Musical Director/Keyboard 1 by Jack Bender, Props and Set Decoration by Kate Pierce and Tish Lum, Production Coordinator Steffi Denmark, Assistant Stage Manager Mara Ebert, Francois Suhr no Keyboard 2, Jeff Little on Bass and Paul Robertson on Percussion.
A Christmas Carol runs December 8, 14, 15, 20, 21 & 22 at 8:00 PM and December 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 & 23 at 3:00 PM. The show runs about 2 hours and 15 minutes, with one 15 minute intermission. To buy tickets, visit ChathamPlayers.org or call 973-635-7363.
The Chatham Playhouse is located at 23 North Passaic Avenue in Chatham New Jersey.
Next up on Chatham's stage is "Play On" by Rick Abbott. That production runs May 3-18, 2019.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chatham Playhouse