BWW Review: Blessings for All in A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Hale Centre Theatre
While the tale has long been a classic, and the story much beloved at Christmastime, the direction and cast of the Hale Centre Theatre's A CHRISTMAS CAROL will make you feel as though it's the first time you're seeing it.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL, (Book by Melany M. and Richard G. Wilkins, based on the original text of Charles Dickens, and musical score by Barlow Bradford) is a heartwarming story of redemption.
Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Stephen Kerr (double cast as Shawn Stevens), is a disgruntled old man who is unkind, has no empathy for others, and especially loathes Christmas. His angry and unforgiving demeanor plays a role in the lives of everyone around him, from his employees to his own family.
His nephew Fred, expertly played by Lucas Charon (double cast as Spencer Jackson Hohl), is the narrator of the play, and while his persistence is hard to understand, he never seems to give up on including Scrooge as part of the family Christmas traditions.
Meanwhile, his employee, Bob Cratchit, played by Anthony Lovato (double cast as David K. Martin), suffers greatly at the hands of Scrooge, while also struggling to take care of his wife and children. One of his sons, Tiny Tim, played by Jacob Despain (double cast as Austin Flamm), suffers from disease and is unable to walk properly, but still finds joy in his loving family.
While the rest of town is rejoicing and celebrating on Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge is spreading "bah-humbugs" to everyone he encounters, including the weak and the poor. However, when he finally gets home to rest, he is alarmed to be confronted by the ghost of his long-dead business partner, Marley, played by Josh Richardson, (double cast as Matt Kohler). Marley warns Scrooge of his wicked ways and tells him that three more ghosts will visit him to make him understand the cost of continuing life in such a heartless way.
First is the ghost of Christmas past, a sweet and charming young ghost played by Jackie Spendlove (double cast as Elle Brimhall), who makes Scrooge relive some of his most dreadful moments in the past and see how it affected the people who loved him.
Second is the ghost of Christmas present, a jolly and whimsical ghost played by Daniel Fenton Anderson (double cast as DRU), who gives Scrooge a glimpse into the lives of those closest to him, including his nephew and his employee Bob Cratchit. This allows him to see what others think of him and the man he has become.
Finally, is the ghost of Christmas future, a startling and cryptic ghost, played by Hohl (double cast as Patrick Aloysius Hawkins). This ghost shows Scrooge what it looks like when he dies, and it's not a pretty sight. No one mourns the wicked, as they say, and many even rejoice at his passing.
Throughout the play, Scrooge is transformed by the three experiences. He feels deep regret for the things he has done and vows to change and become a person who is giving and loving. His salvation is made complete at the end of the play when he gives money to the family of Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim delivers the renowned line, "God bless us, everyone!"
A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a beautiful story of enlightenment and the power of kindness and love, which is the perfect message this Christmas season.
The cast is full of talented actors and singers who give a brilliant and captivating performance. Don't be surprised if you find yourself emotional on multiple occasions throughout the show, as this cast has the ability to make you feel like you're truly part of the story.
In addition to the engaging cast, the stage design and props absolutely propel this production to another level (literally, in many cases throughout the show). Under the direction of John J. Sweeney, set designer and technical director, Kacey Udy, created an elaborate and breathtaking set. The attention to detail in each setting throughout the play is remarkable, another key component to drawing in the audience and making you feel a part of the magic.
The Hale Centre Theatre's rendition of A CHRISTMAS CAROL is truly unique and special. A must see this holiday season.
The cast will take its final bow on Christmas Eve. To learn more about this show and other upcoming shows at the Hale Centre Theatre, visit www.hct.org.
Photo Credit: Shawn Stevens