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A CurtainUp Connecticut Review
A Christmas Carol — A Ghost Story of Christmas
Every idiot who goes about with Merry Christmas on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart — Ebenezer Scrooge.
Bill Raymond as Ebenezer Scrooge
(Photo: T. Charles Erickson)
This is Hartford Stage's 12th annual production of A Christmas Carol, A Ghost of a Story
Director Michael Wilson adaption of the classic Charles Dickens'story and remains faithful to the original while cleverly allowing three actors to double in the roles of the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future as well as three villagers: a doll saleslady, a fruit vendor and a strange clock maker indebted to the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Bill Raymond, returning to the role for the 10th time). Even the actor playing Marley's ghost, Bill Kux, gets a humorous second role as Scrooge's housekeeper and possible romantic interest, Mrs. Dilbert, though it's not clear why she sometimes speaks in her masculine voice, except maybe to prompt a laugh.
Wilson's adaptation, in fact, offers more humor and a more comedic and spry Scrooge than most traditional interpretations (and, unfortunately, results in a less-than-dramatic change in the character when he discovers the spirit of Christmas). The emphasis instead is put on the ghostly visits, with a number of flying and dancing spirits making creepy appearances along with the main ghosts (the special effects on the entrance of Christmas Present are particularly pleasing).
There are tons of kids in various roles, some Christmas carols (though some choruses of the old English ballad "Barbara Allen" get more singing time) and a generally fun, very fast-paced atmosphere in what has become a holiday tradition for many in the Hartford area.
A Christmas Carol — A Ghost Story of Christmas
By Charles Dickens, adapted by Michael Wilson
Directed by Michael Wilson
Associate Director: Jeremy B. Cohen
Choreographer: Hope Clarke
Cast: Bill Raymond (Scrooge), Bill Kux (Mrs. Dilbert, Jacob Marley), Robert Hannon Davies (Bob Cratchit), Michael Bakkensen (Fred, Scrooge at 30), Nathan Johnson (lamplighter, party guest) Nafe Katter (First Solicitor, Undertaker), Gustave Johnson, Johanna Morrison (Bettye Pidgeon and Spririt of Christmas Past), April Glick (Rich Lady), Alan Rust (Bert , Fezziwig and Spirit of Christmas Present), Robert Patrick Sheire (Mr. Marvel), Patrick Morrisey (Scrooge at 15), Natalie Brown (Mrs. Fezziwig, Fred's sister-in-law, Old Jo), Chelsea Farthing (Nichola), Sarah Killough (Wendy), Andrea Rice (Fiddler), Salvatore Mitson (Dick Wilkins), Alex Shamas (party guest), Michelle Henrick (Belle), Rebecka Jones (Mrs. Cratchit), Shaylan Ske Glezjar (Martha Cratchit), Brock Harris (Fred's wife), Natalie Brown, Kyle Brand, Brock Harris, Sarah Killough, Patrick Morrisey, Nathan Johnson (ghostly apparitions and citizens of London) Evan John Work Gonzalez and Emily Weiner (Tim Cratchit), Gillian Colbath and Kristen Fitzpatrick (spoiled child), Andrew Holland, Zachary Cyr, Grace Lillian works Gonzalez, Abbi Roce, Abigail McMillan, Jordan Tyler Virtue (schoolboys), Tai-Anthony Nigro and Thomas Beebe (Boy Scrooge/Fred's party), Alisha Kapur and Josie Kulp (Fan), Grace Gentile and Caitlin Becker (Claire), Rachele Dalton and Hollis Long (Belinda cratchit), Zachary Scott Zavalick and Jacob Entenman (Peter Crtachit), Jacrhys Dalton and Rodney Edwards, Jr. (Ignorance/cider child), Trisha Kapur and Katie Rice (Want/fruit child), Michael Foley Griffin and Jordan Cyr (Turkey Boy), Burns Kowalski and Amina Starr Edwards (Urchin)br>
Scenic Design: Tony Straiges
Lighting Design: Robert Wierzel
Original Music and Sound Design: John Gromada
Costume Design: Zack brown
Dialect Coach: Gillian Lane-Plescia
Music Director: Ken Clark
Youth Director: Carleigh Cappetta
Associate Set designer: Catherine Chung
Associate Lighting Designer: Robert W. Henderson, Jr.
Running time: 2 hours with a 15-minute intermission
Hartford Stage, 50 Church St., Hartford
Evening performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 pm. There is no evening performance December 25. Matinee performances are Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm. There will be additional 2 pm matinees on Dec. 28, 29, and 30 and an additional 7:30 performance on Dec. 27.
Tickets are $25 - $66, children 12 and under save $10. They can be purchased by calling 860-527-5151 or by visiting www.hartfordstage.org.
Dec. 3-30, 2009
Review by Lauren Yarger based on performance of Dec. 20, 2009
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