Hedgerow Theatre Company Adds Two Performances To Sold-Out US Premiere Of A CHRISTMAS CAROL COMEDY

The theatre offers a playful take on a yuletide classic and audiences can't get enough.

By: Dec. 16, 2022
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Hedgerow Theatre Company Adds Two Performances To Sold-Out US Premiere Of A CHRISTMAS CAROL COMEDY

It's a smash hit! Hedgerow Theatre Company continues to spread holiday cheer far and wide in Delaware County. The theatre offers a playful take on a yuletide classic and audiences can't get enough. Hedgerow has SOLD OUT the run of Katie Leamen's A Christmas Carol Comedy, a US Premiere.

Audience responses have been overwhelming. According to Barbara Fitzgerald-Tuenre, a recent patron, "My family and I have enjoyed the traditional Christmas Carol play at the Hedgerow for a number of years, but this was a special treat! Not only was it hilarious, but it delivered the key messages of Dickens' classic work."

For generations, Hedgerow has produced an adaptation of A Christmas Carol on its historic stage. The beloved Delaware County holiday tradition continues with this fun and festive new adaptation of A Christmas Carol featuring two-actors playing Scrooge and everybody else. Theatre Philadelphia, effusive with its praise, celebrated A Christmas Carol Comedy as a Barrymore Recommended production as part of the Barrymore Annual Awards process.

Hedgerow patron and theatre school alum Edward Gretz noted, "There were nine of us altogether, four adults and five teenagers. Every single one of us enjoyed the play and had something nice to say about it later. Not often that teenagers and their parents totally agree on the entertainment value of a concert or movie or play." Gretz continued, "So good to see Hedgerow evolving ... expanding into new frontiers of content/material and how it is presented, while keeping high standards of production quality."

When performances began to sell out, Hedgerow decided to add a performance to the original run - those tickets were snatched up within 24 hours for another sold out performance. Regional favorites Benjamin Brown and Christopher Patrick Mullen have been playing these larger than life roles, respectively, in the care of Philadelphia director Pete Pryor who helms the production. For the final week of the scheduled run (Dec 20-23), DelCo native Mike Thurstlic makes his Hedgerow debut playing Scrooge. Thurstlic also performs as Scrooge for the student matinee performances alongside Sarah Mackus, who shape-shifts in the role of "everybody else" for these school shows. Hedgerow Fellow Sarah Stryker will play Scrooge during the limited performance extension Dec 27 & 28 at 7pm. Stryker appeared in the recent production of The Pillowman. For the performance extension the team is joined by EIlis Skamarakas as stage manager, also returning from The Pillowman.

Performed in partnership with the Toronto-based theatre collective, No Porpoise Productions, A Christmas Carol Comedy has added performances December 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $20-$35 and are available online www.hedgerowtheatre.org. All shows are performed at Hedgerow Theatre located at 64 Rose Valley Rd in Media, PA.

"To have my name listed among the many legendary playwrights that Hedgerow has premiered is an honor, and I am in awe that my silly script will have its American premiere by a company that has played such a significant role in American theatre history," delights Leamen. "To hear Charles Dickens' words spoken in a building as old as the original story, while bringing these iconic characters to life in a distinctly contemporary and comedic way feels like the precise magical mash-up that the Ghosts of Christmas' Past, Present and Future would appreciate."

A Christmas Carol Comedy is an all generations' delight that bursts to life on Hedgerow's intimate historic stage. According to Pryor, "I am most excited to explore this new comedic take on a beloved holiday classic and to honor A Christmas Carol's tenets of love and good cheer at one of America's oldest Theatres."

"A Christmas Carol is a joyful, deeply rooted Hedgerow tradition" notes Hedgerow Executive Artistic Director Marcie Bramucci. "It feels especially meaningful, at this moment in time, to offer an experience of pure delight and entertainment, which this inventive new adaptation delivers in abundance! In the care of this exceptional team, it will be a true gift that is sure to make spirits bright."

Hedgerow Fellow, Sarah Stryker, is the scenic designer for this holiday classic. Lily Fossner returns, having recently designed lights for The Pillowman. Sammy Hurley, back from The World According to Snoopy designed sound.

"Like Dickens, I believe the world can change if we choose joy, generosity, and goodwill," said Leamen. " We all deserve more laughs, kind words, and rubber chicken gags. I hope A Christmas Carol Comedy will work its magic to warm the hearts and revive the spirits of all who see it at Hedgerow Theatre, and that they in turn share the joy across Philadelphia and beyond this Christmas."

About the Creative Team

Pete Pryor (Director) is the co-founder and former Producing Artistic Director of 1812 Productions; he most recently worked with People's Light as Associate Artistic Director. Pete has worked extensively in theatre across the Delaware Valley and beyond. Pete is the winner of four Barrymore Awards for excellence in theater and is the recipient of multiple Independence Foundation individual artist fellowships. Pete is a Lunt Fontanne Fellow and was mentored at Ten Chimneys under Barry Edelstein. Pete's first play, Beautiful Boy is now available on Amazon. He has a M.Ed. in early childhood, is a certified special education teacher and is the Theatre Arts Program Coordinator at The Pathway School in Norristown.

Katie Leamen (Playwright) Playwright, producer, actor, and founding member of No Porpoise Productions, a Toronto (Ontario) based theatre collective that has produced two of her scripts including Alice in Wonderland: A Tale with No Porpoise and A Christmas Carol Comedy. Commissioned scripts include: Treasure Island, produced by Solar Stage four times and received multiple Dora Award Nominations for Ensemble - TYA Division in 2016, 2017, and 2018; and an original script and soundtrack to educate grade 7-11s about the pathways in education for skilled trades, performed by student collaborators in the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board. Her next creative quest currently in the research phase is Worthy, a play about King Arthur and kidney transplants. Katie is passionate about helping artists build their capacity as artist-producers, and works as a marketing specialist at The Rose Theatre with the City of Brampton.

Benjamin Brown (Scrooge, through 12/18) Theatre: Sweat, Our Town (People's Light Theatre), Blues For An Alabama Sky (Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre), Othello (KnightsBridge Theatre), Blood (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), An Act Of God (Bristol Riverside Theatre). Film/Television: Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (HBO), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (SONY) The Family That Preys (Tyler Perry Studios), Law and Order (NBC), FBI-Most Wanted (CBS), NCIS (CBS), Omba Mokomba (Disney), Safari Tracks (Fox), The West Wing (NBC).

Christopher Patrick Mullen (everyone else) Previously at Hedgerow: Amadeus (1998). His 33 year collaboration with People's Light has included King Lear, The Winter's Tale, Mr Hart & Mr Brown, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Moon Over Buffalo, Richard III, The Crucible, Julius Caesar, and numerous Pantos; Other credits include: West Side Story (1st National Tour); The Runner Stumbles (Off-Broadway); Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes, Long Day's Journey into Night (Bridge Street Theatre); Birds of North America (Chester Theatre); Hapgood (Lantern Theatre); Cabaret, Metamorphoses, Macbeth, A Little Night Music, Candide, Assassins (Arden Theatre); The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Noises Off, Rumors, Leading Ladies, ChipandGus (Arts Center of Coastal Carolina); Productions with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival since 1992 include: Henry iv Part One, Irma Vep, Shakespeare In Love, Richard II, Love's Labour's Lost, Pericles, Henry VIII, Charley's Aunt, Hamlet, The Glass Menagerie, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, and Macbeth; Compleat-Wrks-of-Wllm-Shkspr, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew (Orlando Shakespeare Theatre). TV: Law & Order, FBI; Training: DeSales University. His play ChipandGus has been produced at Baltimore Center Stage, Proctors Theatre, Centenary Stage, The New York Fringe Festival (Best of Fringe Award), and SoHo Playhouse. He is an acting teacher and audition coach: ChristopherPatrickMullen.com

Sarah Stryker (Scrooge, 12/27 & 28) played the Mothers in The Pillowman at Hedgerow this fall. She is a 2022 graduate of Villanova's master's program where she played Olympe de Gouges (The Revolutionists), Orlando (Orlando), Lysander (Midsummer), Jane Forsythe (White), Orsino/Sir Andrew (Twelfth Night). Professional credits include Lady Macbeth/Lady Macduff/First Witch (Macbeth, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre) and Salisbury/Drums (King John, Revolution Shakespeare).

Mike Thurstlic (Scrooge, 12/20-23, plus student matinees) makes his Hedgerow debut. Film/tv credits: Kinsey, Law & Order SVU, and Young Americans. He has performed on stages in Pittsburgh, London and New York, where he currently lives.


Run-time: 70 minutes (with no intermission)

Tickets: $35 Adult | $20 Previews & Student/Youth Tickets

For tickets, call the Box Office at 610-565-4211 or visit www.hedgerowtheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Rd., Media, PA.

ADA accessible parking, entry and seating available on site. Please contact the box office for any accommodation requests or questions.


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