BWW Review: SCROOGE IN LOVE at Gateway Theatre is a playful and loving tribute to an enduring classic that has every reason to become one in its own right.
If you're in the mood for an unconventional confection this holiday season, look no further than 42nd Street Moon's Scrooge in Love now playing at the Gateway Theatre. First performed here in 2015, this sequel to Dickens' classic tale captures the heart of the original while adding a great deal of hilarity.
Ebeneezer Scrooge (Jason Graae) has evolved in the year since his festive haunting, but the four ghosts are back again with a new mission: to find this reformed miser a bride. With ebullient original music by Larry Grossman and lyrics by Kellen Blair, and a witty book by Duane Poole, Scrooge is dragged through the past, present, and future by spirits who are a lot livelier than you might have remembered them.
Andrea Dennison-Laufer is a stand-out as a flighty Ghost of Christmas Past in love with love, as is Will Springhorn, Jr. as an enthusiastic Ghost of Christmas Present with a disco-frilled shirt underneath his traditional winter robes. Matt Hammons' Ghost of Christmas Future stops the show with a hilarious number inspired by Brooks' Young Frankenstein. Graae is charismatic and charming in the title role, and Jenny Veilleux makes a splendid love-interest with a surprisingly feminist bent as Belle. Dresden Davis is as adorable a Tiny Tim as you could wish for.
Mark Mendelson's spectacular and versatile set transforms the space through its various settings. Michael Palumbo's lighting aptly conveys the briskness of London at Christmastime. Dyan McBride directs with pace and vigor, though some critical scenes are staged in the corners unnecessarily.
Though it may not pack the emotional punch of A Christmas Carol--it's hard to top wrestling with eternal damnation for stakes--Scrooge in Love is a playful and loving tribute to an enduring classic that has every reason to become one in its own right.
Scrooge in Love continues through December 24th at San Francisco's Gateway Theatre (215 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94111). Tickets can be purchased through the Box Office at (415) 255-8207 or online at www.42ndstmoon.org.
Photos by Ben Krantz Studio.