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Portland Stage Announces World Premiere Adaptation of A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Streaming November 15 – January 7.

Portland Stage Announces World Premiere Adaptation of A CHRISTMAS CAROL

After earning equity approval to produce its second show in the 2020-21 season - a rare enough feat that its first show, Talley's Folly, landed Portland Stage on PBS NewsHour - Portland Stage announces the return of the holiday family classic, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Joel Leffert.
Portland Stage first produced A Christmas Carol in 1975. In 1996, the annual tradition of remounting the production every year or every other year began, alternating A Christmas Carol with other Christmas classics, which always included a large cast of local children to allow them to absorb the language and acting skills from professional actors on stage. This season marks the 21st production of A Christmas Carol. This inaugural production is a world-premiere of Joel Leffert's adaptation. Leffert played Scrooge in the 2016 and 2018 Portland Stage productions. The one-man show helps ensure the safety of its actors, staff, and patrons during the pandemic.
"This story seems especially relevant in our world today" said Executive and Artistic Director Anita, Stewart. "Charles Dickens reminds us to reflect on the past that has made us who we are; find beauty in the present, however hard it may be; and work to make our yet-to-come a better place by caring for others. The message it sends is timeless; Charles Dickens captured what it means to be human.
"It was quite a triumph to get permission from AEA to move forward with this project. As we are building out the show, both for in-person and virtual participation, we are working hard to ensure that everyone will have a safe and magical experience. I'm excited to share this holiday classic with our community."
Charles Dickens' personal experience growing up in poverty was rare for authors of his time. A Christmas Carol was written to spread awareness of the poor's plight in Victorian London and stimulate charity. "In the end, Scrooge becomes a sympathetic character. And his belief that prisons and workhouses were enough social aid for those in poverty--a common enough belief in Victorian times--is overwhelmed only when he realizes that the city needs something more: empathy, in the form of charity." - Kat Eschner,, "Why Charles Dickens Wrote A Christmas Carol," December 19, 2016.
This holiday family classic is brought to life in this one-man show adapted by and starring Joel Leffert on-stage, with charming costumes, delightful music, a few ghostly apparitions, and foley operator Nancy Nichols. It is guaranteed to warm the heart of every Scrooge.

As our platinum virtual sponsor, L.L. Bean is helping Portland Stage to bring the show to patrons at home with a digital-on-demand offering.

Portland Stage received Equity permission after complying with a rigorous multi-point safety plan devised by taking into consideration guidelines created in the field, including, but not limited to: ART Harvard Public Health Road to Recovery Report; Guidelines from AEA (Actors Equity Association), SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society), USA (United Scenic Artists), IATSE (The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) Guidelines; Health and Safety Guidelines for Motion Picture, Television, and Streaming Productions During the COVID-19 Pandemic; The Event Safety Alliance Event Reopening Guidelines; while also addressing the State of Maine recommendations for reopening Performing Arts venues. The plan was reviewed by Stephen Sears, a clinical advisor to the Maine CDC in COVID-19 response and former Maine State Epidemiologist,a??and reviewed and accepted by artists unions AEA, SDC, and USA; and will be regularly reviewed by COVID Compliance Officers.

One of the critical safety aspects that Portland Stage was concerned about as an indoor venue was the update of the Portland Stage HVAC system. The HVAC system installed by W.H. Demmons utilizes bipolar ionization technology, which releases charged atoms that attach to and deactivate harmful substances like bacteria, mold, allergens, and viruses by pulling the hydrogen atom away, causing the harmful substances to die. Recent testing of the building's system for effectiveness against the COVID-19 virus by two (2) different independent laboratories, Analytical Lab Group, and Innovative Bioanalysis, revealed that the virus's level would be cut by 90% within 60 minutes.

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