Photo Flash: A CHRISTMAS CAROL THE MUSICAL Celebrates Ninth Year Off-Broadway
The Players Theatre continues their annual holiday tradition of presenting "A Christmas Carol the Musical" for the ninth year. The production is a warm and uplifting adaptation of the classic Dickens tale that celebrates the essence of holiday spirit. With original music by Michael Sgouros, played by a live percussion trio, the show is wrapped in the warmth of joy, suspense and a sprinkling of tender-hearted redemption.
Written in 1843, Charles Dickens' tale follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a cold-hearted miser, as he is visited by four ghosts, starting with his old business partner, Jacob Marley. As Scrooge is forced to face his past and present he begins to regret the man he has become, while a glimpse of his future redeems and restores him to the man he was meant to be.
This production is a faithful retelling of the original tale, featuring 13 adult actors playing over 30 roles and a children's ensemble of 25 who rotate performances. Eric Fletcher reprises his role of Scrooge for the seventh year. Fletcher eagerly shows us Scrooges present state of mind in the musical prologue where he battles the townspeople, attempting to prove that Christmas is a humbug. He even doubts the ghost of Marley, trying to convince him that the pursuit of wealth is a noble. This sends Jacob Marley (Dustin Schlairet) into a tizzy as he rattles his chains and shouts "Doom!" in the song "Mankind is Your Business".
Later, as Scrooge realizes how far he has strayed from the young and hopeful boy of his youth, he reflects on the moments of his past singing "Regret" in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Past (Isabel Kruse). Next, he is greeted by the magical Ghost of Christmas Present (Emily Madan), who through a montage of scenes underscored by traditional Christmas carols, shows him the life he has forged through greed and apathy. The final and most eerie ghost, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Courtney Hansen), here personified as a somber Victorian woman in black mourning attire, floats silently onto the stage pointing ominously to The Shadows of the future, which includes a dark-comedic musical number "The Penny-Pincher is Dead" that foreshadows Scrooges future.
"This is a show for everyone, stated director Brenda Bell, we can all identify with the desire to have an opportunity to redeem ourselves. Each year the same families return to celebrate the holiday joy that touches us all. It's a NYC tradition." The musical is amply accompanied by three musicians who handle the robust score utilizing over 30 instruments that bring the lively piece to life as well as provide sound effects. Playing percussion instruments ranging from the standard marimba to the more obscure creations, the musicians bring the score to life in full view of the audience.
"A Christmas Carol", with music by Michael Sgouros and book and lyrics by Brenda Bell offers a free family workshop before the Sunday11a family matinee. Here families can learn how the production team brought the book to life onstage. After meeting the composer, playwright and Scrooge himself (offering reassurance to the younger audience members that the ghost are really just actors pretending), everyone is invited onstage to create gifts that they can share with loved ones this holiday season. Coupled with the show, this two-hour experience adds up to a fun-filled afternoon for the entire family.
"A Christmas Carol" runs through December 30th on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7p. Saturday matinee at 3p and Sunday Family Matinee at 11a and a 2p matinee. Additional holiday performances are scheduled. Performances are at The Players Theatre located at 115 MacDougal Street (between Bleecker and West 3rd). Tickets are $32-$52 and can be purchased at: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/966644 or by calling 212-352-3101 or at the box office. Visit www.ScroogeInTheVillage.com.
Photos by Martin Harris
Scrooge (Eric Fletcher) and Nephew Fred (Matthew Petromilli) Photo by Martin Harris
The Fezzi Jig - a fond memory for Scrooge Photo by Martin Harris
Scrooge (Eric Fletcher) gazes at his younger self with the assistance of the Ghost of Christmas Past (Isabel Kruse) Photo by Martin Harris
An unsavory crew - the Penny Pinchers played by Emily Madan, Matthew Petromilli and Isabel Kruse Photo by Martin Harris
Slient Night as Scrooge (Eric Fletcher) realizes how he has treated Bob Cratchit (Jack Flatley) Photo by Martin Harris
A scene of what could be if Scrooge (Eric Fletcher) does not change his ways Photo by Martin Harris
Scrooge (Eric Fletcher) sees his future Photo by Martin Harris