By CB Adams

Remember that commercial from the late 80s with the tagline, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile?” The Repertory Theatre of St Louis’s production of “A Christmas Carol” is kinda like that. This is not your father’s, or grandmother’s (or your crazy Aunt Millie’s) adaptation of this Dickensian tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s war on Christmas. As you survey St. Louis’s rich assortment of holiday offerings (and there truly is a cornucopia that runneth over), this production entices with a shiny, progressive reboot of this Christmas chestnut.  

It’s a new spin on “A Christmas Carol” that’s perfect for those with short attention spans. This adaptation treats the story of Scrooge’s transformation as the plain evergreen upon which the shiny baubles of scenic design (Tim Mackabee), lighting and projections (Seth Reiser and Hana S. Kim), costumes (Dede Ayite), choreography (Kirven Douthit-Boyd) and hip hop choreography (Robert Crenshaw) are hung. Bringing youthful energy to the production are the Webster University conservatory cast, the Big Muddy Dance Company dancers, whose ghost dancers add much to certain key scenes, and a youth ensemble from the Center of Creative Arts.

By flattening the well-known story line whose lead character has been represented by everyone and everything from Alastair Sim and Michael Caine to Bill Murray and Mr. Magoo, this adaptation by Michael Wilson (the same as last year’s) embellishes the story of Scrooge’s transformation with new characters and scenes not in the Dickens novel.

Photo Credit: T Charles Erickson © T Charles Erickson Photography tcharleserickson.photoshelter.com

Upon each of the story’s key moments – Marley’s appearance, visits by the three Spirits, the Cratchit family’s penury, etc. – director Hana S. Sharif hangs contemporary dance numbers, special effects and humorous asides among all the dark, dank Victoriana. The dance is an especially effective component of this adaptation; the inconsistent use of modern colloquialisms – not so much.

The result is a Whitman’s Sampler of a production that tries too hard to provide a little something for every taste.  And like that holiday box, there’s all sorts of chocolates, including a rap-infused “O Come All Ye Faithful,” a Marley who flies up from beneath the stage like a spectral Peter Pan, a dance number that includes The Worm, and a Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come that’s part-Mad Max, part-Blade and part-Gimp from “Pulp Fiction.”

The latter makes his NFL-inspired entrance complete with hoverboard and ravers glasses. This ghost’s entrance is certainly impressive but calls too much attention to itself and pulls you out of the story. It also undercuts the emotional impact of Scrooge recognizing his tombstone – the climax of the story.

The same holds true for the final scene (not in Dickens’s original) with Scrooge hosting a party. This is a well-intentioned addition that hopes to highlight the new, improved Scrooge, but which borrows too much from the final scene in the “White Christmas” movie. It also weakens the intent of Dickens to use this story to examine the plight of the disadvantaged. As Scrooge promises the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

Photo Credit: T Charles Erickson © T Charles Erickson Photography tcharleserickson.photoshelter.com

Sharif adds another complexity to this production  by double casting of most of the key roles. It was fun (and impressive) to see the way Laakan McHardy played both a doll seller and the Ghost of Christmas Past (the best of the portrayals of the spirits) and Paul Aguirre went from a refreshments vendor to a vampy, over-the-top Christmas Present. Michael James Reed also played double duty as Mrs. Dilber (Scrooge’s housekeeper with shades of “Mrs. Doubtfire”) and the spectral Jacob Marley – how’s that for range!

The roles of Scrooge and Bob Cratchit are played by Guiesseppe Jones and Armando McClain, respectively. McClain provides one of this production’s best and most consistent and balanced portrayals as the long-suffering Cratchit. Ultimately, “A Christmas Carol” hinges on the portrayal of Scrooge. Jones displays an impressive range, which he definitely needs in this adaptation that pivots (sometimes to distraction) from lightheartedly humorous to full-on King Lear-level theatricality. As impressive as Jones was in all his scenes, his performance was often too self-contained and lacked chemistry with the other actors.

Overall, this production is designed with lots of wow-factors to defy you to call it anything but bah-humbug. The success of this approach depends on how you like your Scrooge served up. If you’re seeking the more traditional, ye merry ole England version (I remember one from my youth that included real basset hounds on stage), this isn’t that. To its credit, this adaptation avoids the saccharin Timmy-fell-down-the-well savior sub-narrative of so many other productions. And, it brings a modern sensibility to this timeless, still all-too-relevant story.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents “A Christmas Carol” November 19–December 30 at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, St. Louis. For tickets or more information, visit: www.repstl.org.

Photo Credit: T Charles Erickson © T Charles Erickson Photography tcharleserickson.photoshelter.com

By Lynn Venhaus
Whether you embrace the holiday season by turning on Christmas music soon after Halloween or are in the “Bah, Humbug” camp year-round, “Spirited” may surprise you as a sweet-and-salty confection that’s both playful and parody.

A merry musical comedy that offers a fresh twist on the evergreen “A Christmas Carol” from the ghosts’ point of view also mocks the endless parade of holiday entertainment and its conventions.

And that’s refreshing, given that the Hallmark Channel has started its festive onslaught and other streaming services will churn out dozens of films before the new year. We all have our annual favorites, of course, and I wouldn’t be surprised if “Spirited” is among the perennials in years to come.

This flip on Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella is that the Ghost of Christmas Present (Will Ferrell, in charming doofus mode) selects one dark soul to be reformed by a visit from spirits on Christmas Eve. Sunita Mani is Past, Tracy Morgan is Yet to Come (in voice only), and Patrick Page is Jacob Marley.

He must find a selfish man who will see why he ended up miserable and alone, and why he should change. But his choice, an “unredeemable” marketing shark Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds doing his slick, sardonic persona) turns the tables and suddenly, Present is reexamining his life.

This bros-meets-Scrooged affair, co-written by Sean Anders and John Morris, is funny and clever, blending the 19th century behaviors with 22nd century attitudes, and Ferrell and Reynolds are quick with the quips and the wisecracks. Featuring Christmas movie Easter Eggs, there’s even an “Elf” nod, of course.

Anders and Morris are the writing team behind a string of genial just-folks comedies like “Instant Family,” “Daddy’s Home,” “We’re the Millers” and “Horrible Bosses 2.” They’re not re-inventing the wheel here, and this is entertaining enough to survive repeat viewings.

While kidding about “the afterlife is a musical!” and having a jaunty tone about the insertion of music numbers, “Spirited” is committed to the format. They’ve staged snappy song-and-dance numbers by choreographer Chloe Arnold, who’s been doing those delightful “Crosswalk musicals” and other numbers on James Corden’s “The Late Late Show.”

She knows what’s required of big splashy numbers, and the smiling dancers have pep in their steps – these are spirited homages on a major scale.

The songs are written by the current showtune golden boys Benji Pasek and Justin Paul, who recently produced and wrote original material for “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile.”

Pasek and Paul, who adapted “A Christmas Story” into a Broadway musical in 2009, are one award shy of an EGOT. They are Oscar winners for “La La Land,” Tony winners for “Dear Evan Hansen,” and their “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack won a Grammy Award and has sold over 7 million copies worldwide.

The funniest song here, not unlike the ironic “South Park” numbers, is “Good Afternoon.” The movie is bracketed by the tap-happy “That Christmas Morning Feelin,’” which is likely the catchiest takeaway. “Do a Little Good” is memorable and Spencer has a genuinely touching ballad “The View From Here.” Who knew she could sing? Or for that matter, Reynolds!

Ferrell, who showed his ease with music on “Saturday Night Live” — in such classic sketches as Marty Culp, along with Ana Gasteyer as his wife Bobbi Mohan Culp, who taught music at the Altadena Middle School, and the best-ever “More Cowbell” — is a natural, and Reynolds also demonstrates his willingness to have fun performing. (And he certainly fares better than Pierce Brosnan in “Mamma Mia!”)

The sweet part of the story is the Briggs family connections, and the director’s sister, Andrea Anders, a veteran of sitcoms including “Joey,” “Ted Lasso” and “Young Sheldon,” plays Reynolds’ sister Carrie, while Joe Tippett plays baby brother Owen and Marlow Barkley is the young niece.

This is a cheery, we’re not taking ourselves too seriously holiday offering where there seemed to be much effort made in getting all the elements right.

So, heat up the cocoa, haul the ugly sweater out of storage, and enjoy getting into the holiday spirit. May you have one of the the hap, hap, happiest Christmas movie watches since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Kaye.

“Spirited” is a 2022 musical comedy directed by Sean Anders starring Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, Octavia Spencer, Sunita Mani and Patrick Page. It’s Rated PG-13 for language, some suggestive material, and thematic elements, and the run time is 2 hours, 7 minutes. In theaters Nov. 11 and streaming on Apple TV + starting Nov. 18. Lynn’s Grade: B

This season’s exhilarating offerings feature contemporary plays by Madhuri Shekar  and Dominique Morisseau, classics by Noël Coward and Agatha Christie,  a musical tribute to Stephen Sondheim and the return of ‘A Christmas Carol’ 

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (The Rep) Augustin Family Artistic Director, Hana S. Sharif, and Managing Director, Danny Williams, are excited to announce the 2022-2023 show lineup for the 56th Season. The Rep is thrilled to welcome audiences back this fall with a season filled with world-class productions, a joyful mix of classics featuring tributes to theatrical icons, and new work from powerhouse voices of the 21st century.

The 2022-23 Mainstage Season kicks off in August with the highly anticipated House of Joy by Madhuri Shekar – an action-packed fantasy filled with romance and lots of girl power. In late-September, journey down the 1930s French Riviera in Noël Coward’s Private Lives, a scathing sendup of the British upper class. Just in time for the holidays, The Rep rings in the spirit of the season with the second annual production of the magical wintery wonderland of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol adapted by Michael Wilson.

Heading into the new year, The Rep lights up the stage with Steven Sondheim’s, Putting It Together: A Musical Review, featuring many of the legend’s most unforgettable masterpieces. Then stay tuned for Confederates, a time-bending drama fresh off its New York debut from MacArthur Genius Award-Winning Playwright Dominique Morisseau and produced in association with Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Closing out the Mainstage is the timeless Agatha Christie classic, Murder on the Orient Express, adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig.

Spring 2023 will mark the long-awaited return of the beloved Steve Woolf Studio Series, adventurous theatre for adventurous theatregoers — a provocative and memorable black box experience at the new state-of-the-art Strauss Black Box Theatre in Kirkwood Performing Arts Center (KPAC). Show announcement to come in May. 

“I look forward to inviting new and old friends to our theatre homes to share in the beauty and magic of the wonderful productions that will light up our stages next season,” said Sharif. “As I programmed the 2022-23 season I was inspired by the blossoming life of spring. From our reinvestment in the arts to the renewal of our commitment to the St. Louis community; my goal was to provide an array of productions that align with our mission of sharing entertaining and thought-provoking world-class art.”

“I am immensely excited to be at the helm of The Rep for my first full season with such a thrilling lineup of shows,” added Williams. “It’s been a true joy to watch this season come together and we can’t wait to share with everyone St. Louis.”

New for the 2022-2023 season, The Rep is offering several tiered subscription pass options, available now (prices vary by section). These exclusive subscription passes offer audiences the opportunity to find the perfect subscription for them. Subscription options:

●      Classic Subscription Pass: Get your tickets for all 5 Mainstage shows, plus your choice of our Holiday or Steve Woolf Studio offerings. Lock in your preferred seats and dates for the entire season when you order. And if your plans change, enjoy no-fuss exchanges.

●      Flex Subscription Pass: Get six passes to use for the best available seats to the shows you want most on the dates that fit your schedule, redeemable any time during the season.

●      Insider Preview Subscription Pass: Be the first to see the show and get a great deal! Just like the Classic Pass, you’ll get tickets for the 5 Mainstage performances, plus your choice of either our Holiday or Steve Woolf Studio offerings. By attending Insider Preview Weekends (the first Friday-Sunday of each show’s run), you get priority access to the best seats in the theatre and save substantially on your subscription.

Mainstage shows will take place at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts and the Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA. The full schedule for the 2022-2023 Season is as follows:

●      House of Joy: August 26 – September 18, Loretto-Hilton Center

At first glance, The House of Joy is a dazzling utopia; but when a new guard joins the emperor’s army, she discovers it’s more prison than paradise. This genre-busting adventure fantasy is filled with stunning locales, electrifying combat, steamy romance and badass girl power.

●      Private Lives: September 30 – October 23, Catherine B. Berges Theatre

Amanda and Elyot are enjoying a romantic honeymoon – just not with each other. A chance meeting on their adjoined hotel balconies brings this divorced duo face-to-face for the first time in five years. Passions and tempers collide in this combustible romp, as the two remember why they fell in love and why they divorced in the first place.

●      A Christmas Carol: November 18 – December 30, Loretto-Hilton Center

The Rep rings in the spirit of the season with the second annual production of this holiday classic. At long last, the ghosts of Ebenezer Scrooge’s past, present and future have caught up with him. Now London’s most infamous miser must face down his demons, reconcile the consequences of his choices and experience the power and joy of a miraculous redemption.

●      Putting it Together: A Musical Review: January 27 – February 19, Catherine B. Berges Theatre

Celebrate legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim by revisiting nearly 30 of the most poignant, powerful and witty songs in the American musical theatre canon. This beautiful, funny and emotionally charged musical review exposes the complicated relationships and deepest desires of two couples out for an elegant evening. 

●      Confederates: February 10 – March 5, Loretto-Hilton Center

An enslaved rebel turned Union spy and a tenured professor in a modern-day private university are having parallel experiences of institutionalized racism, despite existing more than a century apart. Dominique Morisseau brilliantly bends the continuum of time and weaves together the stark realities of racial and gender bias both women face in this illuminating drama.

Confederates is being produced in association with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

●      Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express: March 17 – April 16, Loretto-Hilton Center

It’s 1934, just after midnight, and a snowstorm has stopped the opulent Orient Express sleeper train in its tracks. A wealthy American businessman is discovered dead, and the brilliant and beautifully mustachioed Hercule Poirot must solve the mystery before the murderer strikes again. Agatha Christie’s plot-twisting masterpiece takes audiences on a suspenseful thrill ride.

Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. www.concordtheatricals.com

●      Steve Woolf Studio Series: Spring 2023Strauss Black Box Theatre in Kirkwood Performing Arts Center (KPAC)

Adventurous theatre for adventurous theatregoers — a provocative and memorable black box experience at the new state-of-the-art . Show announcement to come in May.

For more information and to purchase, visit repstl.org or call the Box Office at (314) 968-4925. The Rep Box Office at the Loretto-Hilton Center will be open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM.

About The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

The Rep is the St. Louis region’s most honored live professional theatre company. Founded in 1966, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is a fully professional theatrical operation belonging to the League of Resident Theatres, The League of St. Louis Theatres and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre. Visit www.repstl.org for more, and find The Rep on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

New season includes world premieres of ‘Dreaming Zenzile’ and ‘The Gradient,’ plus ‘The Trinity River Plays,’ an original work by Rep playwright-in-residence Regina Taylor 

 The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (The Rep) is pleased to announce its 2021-2022 Season, featuring two world premieres. The season kicks off September 10 with the world premiere production of ‘Dreaming Zenzile,’ a musical about the South African songstress Miriam Makeba, written and performed by Grammy-nominated international music sensation Somi Kakoma.

‘Dreaming Zenzile’ will be followed by the world premiere of Steph Del Rosso’s ‘The Gradient,’ a satire set in the not-so-distant future in which a new facility promises to take men accused of sexual misconduct and rehabilitate them into responsible citizens. The Charles Dickens’ classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ will become a new holiday tradition under the direction of Hana S. Sharif, Augustin Family Artistic Director at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. The second half of the season will feature ‘The 39 Steps,’ a farce written by Patrick Barlow adapted from the novel by John Buchan and the Alfred Hitchcock film; ‘The Trinity River Plays,’ a trilogy exploring one woman’s life journey by The Rep’s playwright-in-residence, Regina Taylor; and ‘House of Joy,’ an action-adventure romance by Madhuri Shekar.

The full schedule for the 2021-2022 Season is as follows:

  • Dreaming Zenzile: September 10 – October 3, Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
  • The Gradient: October 1 – October 24, Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA
  • A Christmas Carol: December 3 – 23, Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
  • The 39 Steps: January 21 – February 13, Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
  • The Trinity River Plays: February 11 – March 6, Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA 
  • House of Joy: March 18 – April 10, Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts

“We are excited to be returning to the stage for a new season of live theatre featuring the work of thought-leading playwrights including our own playwright-in-residence, Regina Taylor,” said Hana S. Sharif, Augustin Family Artistic Director at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. “We know our audiences have been eager to return to the theatre and we’re delighted this compelling season offers something for everyone to enjoy.”

Subscriptions for The Rep’s 2021-2022 season are available now, and single tickets go on sale August 2. For more information and to purchase, visit repstl.org

Hana S. Sharif

About The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

The Rep is the St. Louis region’s most honored live professional theatre company. Founded in 1966, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is a fully professional theatrical operation belonging to the League of Resident Theatres, The League of St. Louis Theatres and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre. Visit www.repstl.org for more, and find The Rep on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


Metro Theater Company (MTC), St. Louis’s premiere theater for youth and families, presents a special virtual event for families this December to help keep the community connected during a holiday season that has been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

MTC’s A Christmas Carol brings together artists, athletes, civic leaders, media personalities, and first responders, for a streamed reading of Charles Dickens holiday classic Thursday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 13 at 2:30 p.m. The public can register for free or make a donation with their registration. As a thanks for a donation of $50 or greater, audiences can receive a commemorative DVD or digital download of the broadcast. The DVDs will be available for all donations made through January 1, 2021.

The beloved holiday story of redemption, transformation, and goodwill comes to life in this all-St. Louis reading. Metro Theater Company Artistic Director Julia Flood adapted the story to produce the hour-long program.

More than 25 outstanding St. Louisans serve as readers for the broadcast, each contributing excerpts on camera, stitched together to create the final broadcast. While additional readers will still be announced, the lineup includes Emmy-nominated television star Ellie Kemper, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, two-time Tony Award-winning actress Judith Ivey, St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak, Grammy Award-winning soprano Christine Brewer, film, stage and voice actor Ken Page, nationally syndicated columnist and St. Louis Post-Dispatch editor Aisha Sultan, St. Louis-based American Ninja Warrior Jamie Rahn, president of the St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature Julius B. Anthony, and medical director for the St. Louis Fire Department Mark Levine

Metro Theater Company’s virtual reading follows a long tradition of readings of Dickens’ novella. Public readings of A Christmas Carol—one of the most beloved and famous holiday stories ever written—have been around since 1853. Dickens adapted the work for public readings, doing more than 120 performances until his death in 1870. The popularity of the readings—staged readings, radio-style readings, family readings, and now virtual readings—continues as does the enchantment of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, and his transformation into a sympathetic man through visits from the ghost of Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. 

All funds raised through donations to this event will support MTC’s programs during COVID-19 to connect young people to the power and impact of theater, through live performances, virtual programs, and arts-integrated classroom experiences. Corporate and individual sponsorships are available.

WHEN:       Thursday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 13 at 2:30 p.m.  

WHERE:       Virtual Event at http://metroplays.org/christmascarol 

TICKETSTickets are free. Donations are appreciated. Registration is required to receive the link for streaming.

A downloadable digital recording or commemorative DVD is available through January 1, 2021 with a donation of $50. Donors who give $250 or greater will receive the recording as well as a commemorative set of MTC mugs and a hot chocolate mix from St. Louis’s own Kakao Chocolates.

To register for free or to make a donation, please visit http://metroplays.org/christmascarol

NOTES:        A Christmas Carol: A St. Louis Virtual Holiday Reading is 60 minutes and recommended for ages 6 and up

Major support for Metro Theater Company is provided by Emerson, Centene, Arts & Education Council, Berges Family Foundation, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, Missouri Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and Regional Arts Commission. 

About Metro Theater Company: Since 1973, Metro Theater Company has been creating productions that respect young people’s intelligence, tell compelling stories, stimulate curiosity and provoke thoughtful reflection. The Company has reached a total audience of more than two million and has a national reputation for excellence in the field of professional theater for young audiences. Metro Theater Company has received major honors and awards, both locally and nationally. The company is led by Artistic Director Julia Flood and Managing Director Joe Gfaller. For more information, visit http://metroplays.org

By CB Adams
Contributing Writer
We are living in the age of the Christmas-industrial complex. Never before have we had such a wealth of holiday entertainments, from dancing sugar plum fairies to prancing Grinches. The slate of stage, film, television, radio and music options means you can curate a Christmas season experience exactly to your liking.
One franchise rules them all, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and one character from that novella, Ebenezer Scrooge, stands scowling above the holiday fray, waiting, not for his close-up, but his redemption.
So imagine the challenge faced by Charles Jones, the founder and creator of the Nebraska Theatre Caravan, as he adapted Dickens’ tale for the stage more than 40 years ago. The field of Christmas Carol  interpretations was full even then, including several well-known films starring the likes of George C. Scott, Lionel Barrymore, Alastair Sim, Albert Finney and, ahem, even Jim Backus, to say nothing of later incarnations by Jim Carrey and Patrick Stewart. So there were plenty of ways to present “the wicked old screw.”

According to Jones’ own introduction, “I think of this adaptation and the production of “A Christmas Carol” as a masque. It is not a musical comedy.”
A masque, in case your theater history is a bit rusty, was a form of festive entertainment popular with the royals in 16th- and early 17th-century Europe. Masques were especially popular in Merry Old England, where they were considered among the highest art forms. The Puritans in the 1600s tried their Scroogely best to abolish masques, but they have persevered in one form or another to the present day.
This bit of history provides the key for Jones’ approach. It’s a bit like adapting the story of the Titanic – we all know the ship sinks in the end. The transformation of Scrooge from miser to magnanimous mensch has entered our cultural lexicon and shared imaginations.
There’s a reason this story has resonated from its publication in 1843 as well as a reason that Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s production of Jones’ adaptation has had a successful 40-year run. Although not a “musical comedy” by Jones’ definition, is certainly is music-filled and definitely played to lighter, comedic effect.
There’s nary a bleak Dickensian Victorian moment to be had during the play’s two acts. For instance, the Charity Men, who are usually presented as serious solicitors for charity, enter Scrooge’s place and request a donation with the buffoonery of Lauren and Hardy, though they are toned down in their appearance at the play’s conclusion.
One of the most successful aspects is the show’s pacing. As played by 23 actors in multiple roles, one scene moves swiftly into another – advantageous in our age of short attention spans. Andy Harvey as Scrooge carries the show with a solid supporting cast.
Special effects also move the story along and hold their own in comparison to those in the filmed adaptations, though the Ghost of Christmas Past’s spectral presence seemed, like Scrooge’s bed clothes, a bit frayed around the edges and in need of a refresh.
One of the highlights of this production is the seamless integration of traditional Christmas carols into the action. Especially noteworthy is “Dancing Day” and “Susanni” during the Fezziwig Warehouse scene, “The Holly and the Ivy” and “The Other Night” in the Cratchit home scene, and “The Polka” and “Greensleeves” during the festivities at Fred and Millie’s home.
If this production were a beer, it would be “Scrooge Lite.” Perhaps harkening to its heartland roots, it is a steak and potatoes adaptation – and a good value for the ticket price. This is not a bad thing for its intended, broad audience. It’s simple enough for children to follow along – and laugh along – and fulfilling enough for adults to enjoy the same things.
This production’s longevity is well-deserved and a popular choice – among so many – for some families who make it an annual event.
“A Christmas Carol” played at the Fox Theatre Dec. 6-9.