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New Musical A HALLOWEEN CAROL Retells Dickens' Classic With A Spooky Twist

After a visit by her BFF Marley Jacobs, Carol Cratchit is helped by a host of other reimagined characters to embrace the true spirit of the holiday like never before.

New Musical A HALLOWEEN CAROL Retells Dickens' Classic With A Spooky Twist

An all-new spooky musical written and composed by local playwright Tracey Jane will have a workshop performance on October 30, 2 p.m. at the Renaissance Theatre. Inspired by Charles Dickens' beloved Christmas story, "A Halloween Carol" is a tragicomedy surrounding one Carol Cratchit. After a visit by her BFF Marley Jacobs, Carol is helped by a host of other reimagined characters to embrace the true spirit of the holiday like never before.

Directed by Missy Barnes (Rollins College, Dept. of Theatre and Dance) with music direction by Billy B Williamson (Seminole State College, Center for Fine and Performing Arts), the workshop includes 15 actors who bring mostly female roles to first-ever musical life. Spooky to whimsical conceptual orchestrations are previewed in piano and vocal arrangements, all by Christopher Robinson.

"From the moment I heard Tracey Jane's imaginative, memorable songs, I knew I was in for a fun time of arranging this music," said Robinson. "After completing short 20-piece orchestral samples and that first vocal demo, I knew we had something very special brewing."

"A Halloween Carol" is a modern tale celebrating the holiday all about facing one's fears. Because, as the opening song reminds, "THAT's a Happy Halloween!" Carol must confront her past, and with it, the trials of growing up. First, her best friend moved away ("...SHE didn't die, you know; she moved to I-DA-HO!"). The Ghost of Halloween Past and Ms. Fezziwig, her favorite teacher, deliver relevant commentary in the rousing anthem "Energy Never Dies/History Is Alive." Meanwhile, Carol's little brother Timmy who is teased at school for being 'lame' at sports potrays the pure spirit of the holiday with his unfailing optimism in the power of becoming "Somebody Else," if only once a year. Carol stands up to intimidating twins hawking elicit Girl Scout wares with an ominous leitmotif that rhymes 16 names of "The Cookies." Just for a moment, our grammar-loving protagonist finds herself "Tangent" in song with her numbers-loving crush since the second grade, Evan Neezer, before the twins trick her into complete humiliation at school. What's more, honoring the first grief many children experience, Carol endures the loss of a beloved pet, in this case, a previously full-of-life hamster, whom "Barnaby's Eulogy" mourns appropriately. Carol feels "Pure Electricity" around Evan at the end of Act One. And the company opens Act Two with "Look at Me," a grand panoply on the nature of Halloween costumes in exploring one's ego and shadow as part of forging identity.

As expected, Carol Cratchit is aided by three sequential ghosts: The Ghost of Halloween Past, The Ghost of Halloween Present, and in a tense verb twist, The Ghost of Halloween Past Perfect. The show's comedic characters and dialogue work with its 18 highly hummable songs to help Carol see her past more clearly and ultimately realize she herself is dead. "What a Difference One Day Makes" chronicles life's unexpected possibilities before the ending offers a touching takeaway. As Marley explains, "When someone you love is gone, it never makes sense." Timmy sets off to trick-or-treat with the now fully "Present" ghost of his sister, his faith in the holiday rewarded that he has felt her with him all along. And with "The Beginning" of her new stage, Carol fully embraces her spirit-hood to join her brother on All Hallows Eve, concluding that "Love is the bravest act of all."

The musical is intended to be a Halloween holiday show for high school to multi-age ensembles. While family-friendly and featuring teen-aged principal characters, "A Halloween Carol" is not a show written for children, and parental guidance is advised due to confrontations of death. The Orlando Workshop will give attendees the first public performance of the developing show's full two acts of libretto and all songs with an estimated run time under two hours, including intermission. A recording of the workshop performance will be used to help raise funds to support a staged production for Halloween 2023.

ABOUT TRACEY JANE - A Central Florida native, copywriter, and mom of two, Jane's short playful comedies have been produced from Miami to New York, Los Angeles to London, winning audience awards and critial recognition. Her branded QUICKIES appeared at the 2018 Orlando International Fringe Festival. Meet the Pets was named Winner, Best Original Script, One-Act Play Festival, 2018, Silver Spring Stage, Maryland/DC. The Morning Ménage was awarded Best Play of Summer Shorts 2018 by Playwrights' Round Table, and in 2019, Build-a-BOB won all four audience choice awards at PRT's Summer Shorts: Best Director, Best Cast, Best Script, and Best Play. Kneading Happiness (Originally titled MEN: The Family Dinner Conversation) won Best Show for Play-in-a-Day, Beth Marshall Presents, 2019. In the depths of the 2020 pandemic, while writing many of the songs for A Halloween Carol, Jane produced a show of her QUICKIES at The Barnacle on South Florida's Biscayne Bay, raising money for Miam/Dade County's oldest historic home. And in her first foray writing/directing/producing for the movies, Men Are Dogs won eight Orlando Independent Filmmaker awards for comedy, including Best Picture, Best Original Story, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor.

ABOUT CHRISTOPHER ROBINSON - A studied orchestrator and arranger, Robinson has made it his primary mission to help bring new musical productions to life worldwide through his Orlando-based production company, CRC Music International. When writing for the stage, his musical works are influenced from an assortment of industry colleagues/friends and longtime mentors, including Broadway's Alex Lacamoire ("In the Heights," "Bring It On," "Hamilton," "Dear Evan Hansen"). "If you love the musical works of Stephen Sondheim, Danny Elfman, John Williams infused with bag full of radio artists who all inspired the musical world of 'A Halloween Carol,'" said Robinson, "then this is definitely a show for you!"

The Orlando Workshop of "A Halloween Carol" at the Renaissance Theatre will be Sunday, October 30, 2PM. Tickets are $20 each and may be purchased at:®id=78&

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