BWW Review: Lyric Theatre's Holiday Classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL Returns with Spectacular New Designs
Adapted and directed by artistic director Michael Baron, Lyric's A CHRISTMAS CAROL brings the beloved Christmas story to life with marvelous new designs to freshen up this holiday classic.
Filled with Oklahoma City actors recognizable to Lyric audiences, A CHRISTMAS CAROL allows these local favorites to "do their thing" ...and they do it well. As Scrooge's visitors from beyond, Stephen Hilton as Jacob Marley, Melissa Griffith as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Mateja Govich as the Ghost of Christmas Present hit all the right notes to keep Scrooge on his toes. While Matthew Alvin Brown, Andi Dema, Nakeisha McGee, Charlie Monnot, Susan Riley, Jennifer Teel, and Brenda Williams, round out the community of lovable oddballs-their many characters add variety and surprise to this familiar tale. Lexi Windsor, in particular, made a memorable impression in her short scene as Young Scrooge's fiancé Belle. Many other actors would only light upon the superficial surface of a character like Belle, but Windsor grounded her character's young love with a soulfulness and depth of humanity rarely realized. The heart and soul of any CHRISTMAS CAROL lies in is its Scrooge, and guest artist Dirk Lumbard as Ebenezer Scrooge brought out all the memorable moments audiences expect: his "Bah Humbug's" and scrunched-up facial expressions were on point.
The design of the show, however, was the highlight of the evening for me. From top to bottom, Baron has assembled a team that makes this show feel fresh; for this year's production, audiences are treated to all-new sets and costumes. Lyric's Resident Costume Designer Jeffrey Meek's new designs were gorgeous: he stayed true to the spirit of the season with lots of yuletide red and green, but also brought out the full spectrum of the Dickensian period-fleshing out his palette with rusty earth tones. His design for Hilton's Jacob Marley costume added an icy rock-star edge to this notable literary figure. The Lighting Design by Weston Wilkerson was dazzling-luscious jewel tones added emotion to cheerful, cozy scenes while stark, harsh beams of light and haze enhanced the spectral parts of the story, making them all the more hair-raising. Kimberly Powers' Set Design-her cragged brick, velvety fabrics, rough-hewn wood, and frosted glass-created a world rich with texture and depth. While using only a few key set pieces, Powers utilized a turntable to quickly and fluidly change locations, yet the consistent presence of an enormous, elegant clock upstage served as a reminder to Scrooge (and the audience) that his time was slowly-but-surely running out.
Michael Baron's adaptation retains all the definitive elements, but allows for updated choices in design and performance, ensuring this production stays sleek and crisp. Whether you know A CHRISTMAS CAROL like the back of your hand, or are looking to experience this quintessential classic for the first time, Lyric Theatre's production has something for everyone.
Playing through December 24th. Click here for tickets.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
By Charles Dickens, Adapted by Michael Baron; presented by Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma; directed by Michael Baron, lighting design by Weston Wilkerson; original music and sound design by Josh Schmidt; co-sound design by Brad Poarch; set design by Kimberly Powers; costume design by Jeffrey Meek; hair design by Joanne Weaver; dialect coach, Nicholas Bartell; props by Courtney Strong; production stage manager, Jeffrey Scott Cochran; music direction by Brian Hamilton; choreography by Ashley Wells.
WITH: Dirk Lumbard (Ebenezer Scrooge), Matthew Alvin Brown (Topper), Andi Dema (Fred/Young Scrooge), Mateja Govich (Ghost of Christmas Present), Melissa Griffith (Ghost of Christmas Past), Stephen Hilton (Marley/Old Joe), Nakeisha McGee (Mrs. Cratchit), Charlie Monnot (Bob Cratchit), Susan Riley (Solicitor, Sister-In-Law), Jennifer Teel (Mrs. Fred/Charwoman), Brenda Williams (Mrs. Dilber), Lexi Windsor (Solicitor/Belle), and the Children's Ensemble: Tori James, Isabella Acuna, Ellie Oglivie, Abigail Ruth Manners, Ariana Safi, Sydney Lahodny, Justin Smiley, Samuel Cammon, Anthony Neumann, Hudson West Ratcliff, Saxon Neal, Briam Zuniga, Kamryn Jackson, Analisa Wilson.
Playing November 30th - December 24th, 2016 at the Plaza Theatre.
Photo Credit: KO Rinearson