Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway

Tis the season for family, tradition, good cheer and of course "A Christmas Carol". The Players Theatre continues their annual holiday tradition of presenting "A Christmas Carol the Musical" for the 10th 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 and 1 dog - Bravo Bell. Eric Fletcher reprises his role of Scrooge for the eighth 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 (Erica Clare). Next, he is greeted by the magical Ghost of Christmas Present (Kelsey Riker), 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 Sunday 11a family matinee. 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 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. Performances are at The Players Theatre located at 115 MacDougal Street (between Bleecker and West 3rd). Tickets are $42-$57 and can be purchased at: www.ScroogeInTheVillage.com or by calling 212-352-3101 or at the box office.

Photo Credit: Martin Harris

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
The Carolers

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
The Carolers with Scrooge & Bravo the Dog

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
Scrooge (Eric Fletcher)

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
Scrooge (Eric Fletcher) and Ghost of Christmas Past (Erica Clare)

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
Fred (Brandon James Butorovich), Scrooge (Eric Fletcher) and Bob Cratchit (Robert Hooghkirk)

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
Scrooge and the Cratchit Family

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
Marley (Dustin Schlairet) and Scrooge (Eric Fletcher)

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
Belle(Emily Brady) and Young Scrooge (Kit Asfeldt)

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
Scrooge (Eric Fletcher) and Ghost of Christmas Present (Kelsey Riker)

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
Scrooge (Eric Fletcher) and his younger self

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
The Penny Pinchers (Kelsey Riker, Dustin Schlairet and Erica Clare)

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
Scrooge (Eric Fletcher) and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Courtney Hansen)

Photo Flash: A Decade Of Dickens  - A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Musical Begins Its 10th Year Off-Broadway
Scrooge (Eric Fletcher) at his grave

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