Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at People's Light Theatre Company

A Unique and Enchanting Christmas Carol Presented by People’s Light Theatre

By: Dec. 02, 2023
Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at People's Light Theatre Company
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Unique, brilliant, and enchanting are the words this reviewer uses to describe the production of A Christmas Carol currently running at Malvern-based theatre People’s Light (39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355). This Charles Dickens’ classic is Infused with original music and traditional English carols that package up the production as a truly inspirational gift for the holiday season.

A Christmas Carol, directed by Nell Bang-Jensen and featuring a stellar ensemble of award-winning actors, runs until December 31st, on the Leonard C. Haas Stage, a 340-seat performance venue housed in an 18th-century stone barn.

People’s Light originally premiered Producing Artistic Director Zak Berkman’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol in 2021. The production incorporates a vibrant mix of original songs and rearranged 19th-century English carols by Berkman with additional arrangements by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mitch Chakour. This current production features a new director, design team, and cast, with additional songs written to offer audiences a fresh experience this holiday season. The music is performed and presented beautifully by a live, five-piece musical ensemble supporting a nationally-renowned cast of performers.

A Christmas Carol follows Ebenezer Scrooge (Ian Merrill Peakes), a miserly man who despises Christmas. He is alone on the night of Christmas Eve when the ghost of his old business partner Jacob Marley (Jahi Kearse) appears and warns Scrooge that, if he does not become kinder, he will suffer a terrible fate after death. Before disappearing, Marley reveals that Scrooge will be visited by three more ghosts throughout the night. Scrooge initially dismisses the warning but, as each ghostly visit becomes more terrifying than the last, he resolves to change his ways. What follows is a heartwarming and uplifting tale of redemption that has resonated through the generations since Dickens first published the story in 1843.

This production of A Christmas Carol stars Barrymore Award-winning actor Ian Merrill Peakes, who also portrayed Scrooge in the 2021 world premiere production at People’s Light. Ian’s performance is magnificent. From his commanding stage presence through the transition of Scrooge, Ian melted this reviewer’s heart as Scrooge’s heart melted throughout the story.

Barrymore Award-winning actor Akeem Davis and Broadway actor Kennedy Caughell appear as Bob and Emily Cratchit. A dynamic pairing of brilliant actors who encapsulate every nuance and emotion of the couple as they face the struggles of their downtrodden times on the home front.

Broadway actor Jahi Kearse commands the stage as he creates the beginning of the fantasy as Scrooge’s former partner, Jacob Marley. Maya Jane Lagerstam, whose vocals are stellar, delights the audience with radiance as the joy and hope swirl that comes from the Ghost of Christmas Present.

A performance not to be missed is that of the Ghost of Christmas Past, stunningly played by the multi-talented actress Anna Faye Lieberman (whom this reviewer adored in Arden Theatre Company’s Into the Woods). Anna’s powerful physicality, and comedic, and dramatic acting skills clearly show how she has mastered her craft and knows how to deliver an impactful performance.

The ensemble is rounded out with Robby Clater as Fred, Max Gallagher as Martha, Madeleine Garcia as Belle, and People’s Light Company Members Susan McKey and Tom Teti shine beautifully as Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig. A Christmas Carol also features two rotating casts of youth performers from the Chester County region, with youth actors Owen Ahlmer and Prince Peay starring as the iconic Tiny Tim.

TICKET INFORMATION

A Christmas Carol runs through Sunday, December 31st. Tickets start at $55, including fees. People’s Light also offers a range of ticket discounts, including youth tickets, 50% off Access Nights, 25% off for educators and military, and discounted student and industry tickets.

To purchase single tickets, visit peopleslight.org or call the box office at 610-644-3500. Special rates are available for groups

About People’s Light

Founded in 1974, People’s Light (39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA, 19355) serves as one of Pennsylvania’s most accomplished professional non-profit theatres, known for its resident company of artists, a wide array of productions, and innovative work with young people. Located in Malvern, PA, People’s Light is a cultural and civic center with theatre at its core, inviting and creating opportunities for diverse communities to discover and celebrate our shared humanity.




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