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Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Sacramento Theatre Company

Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Sacramento Theatre Company

The production runs through Christmas Eve.

As we reach the end of 2022, it's time to pause and reflect on the past year. Have we been naughty or nice? Stingy or generous? While most of us can't boast of being the best miser, like Scrooge, or the most innocent, like Tiny Tim, we can find solace that we are somewhere in the middle and most likely will not be visited by three specters in the middle of the night. As familiar as A Christmas Carol is to most of us, it continues to teach us lessons almost 180 years after its inception. As Director Michael Laun says, "All we need to do is place a cardboard sign in the hands of the 'beggar child' and we can see the relevance still today." Indeed, its themes of helping the needy and the greed of the wealthy are themes that we see every night on our television news. Change Scrooge to a contemporary politician or business mogul and A Christmas Carol could be set in 2022 America. Charles Dickens was a staunch proponent of social reform, and the Sacramento Theatre Company champions his vision with their adaptation of this staple of the holiday season.

This year, there have been a few changes to the production that have made it fresh and just as wonderful. Eric Wheeler joins the production as Ebenezer Scrooge, bringing an abundance of experience as he has played every other adult male role in the show. Wheeler is a decidedly sour Scrooge, prompting one to partake in some serious introspection and a promise to do better in the coming year. In the past, I've said that all other Scrooges would fall short of STC's Matt K. Miller, but that no longer holds true. Wheeler has taken the reins and continued a legacy of excellence. Also new to the production is Jeffrey Lloyd Heatherly, who wore many hats including Fezziwig and, my personal favorite, The Ghost of Christmas Present. Heatherly's lighthearted Fezziwig and jovial Ghost brought cheer (and hearty talent) to a sometimes dark and heavy story. Another change is STC member Miranda D. Lawson as Mrs. Cratchit and The Ghost of Christmas Past. Her Ghost is perhaps the most important of all, offering a brutal look at how Ebenezer Scrooge has misused his life and his loved ones, precipitating his existence of solitude and misery. Everyone in the cast deserves mention, for the talent in this production is remarkable and the enthusiasm and energy are infectious. Not to mention, tiny Tiny Tim (Simon Morphy) is the cutest thing on stage.

It's just not Christmas without A Christmas Carol, and to be more precise, STC's musical adaptation. Music by the late David DeBerry brings merriment in such songs as the audience favorite "Wassail" and "The Hearty, the True, and the Bold." This is a wonderful show to bring the entire family to to start the holiday season.

A Christmas Carol plays at Sacramento Theatre Company through December 24. Tickets may be purchased at the Box Office at 1419 H Street in Sacramento, by calling (916) 443-6722, or by visiting SacTheatre.org.

Photo credit: Charr Crail



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