It’s one of Northeast Ohio’s favorite holiday traditions, the retelling of Charles Dickens timeless classic, “A Christmas Carol”, which will be appearing at the Ohio Theater in Playhouse Square from December 2 through December 23.
It’s the classic journey, as told through a child’s eyes, of Ebenezer Scrooge and the journey his life has taken him thus far, the realization with regret of what he has become and the miracle of redemption that he finds to rescue him from his present unfulfilled life and inevitable future.
The play begins with a family gathered for the telling of the Dickens tale and as the story unfolds, the imagination of the smallest boy (Master William) begins to take hold as the story is filtered through his thoughts.
The story within a story begins with Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve at his Counting House showing the shallow, angry and bitter man that he has become. It continues after he leaves work with his confrontation with Jacob Marley (his long dead partner) who suddenly appears as his door knocker.
Later, Marley returns to give warning of what his life did to enslave him for all eternity and what is in store for Ebenezer if he does not change. The promise of visits from three ghosts is given.
The first ghost, the ghost of Christmas Past, takes Ebenezer back to his childhood and shows the probability of why he grew up the way he did. Next, the ghost of Christmas Present takes him on a journey of how Christmas is celebrated around the world. The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come shows the waste his life was…unloved, uncared for and unknown. Staring at his neglected grave he prays only for a chance to redeem himself.
In a flash, he is back in his own room as Christmas Day dawns bright and clear. Making good on his promise he dresses and rushes out to spread Christmas cheer among his neighbors, family and employees. A large turkey is delivered anonymously to the Cratchit family whose father works for him. On his way to a surprise visit at his nephew’s house to celebrate Christmas he accosts the solicitor of a charity who the day before he had scorned and makes a promise of a sizable donation. Thus spending the day celebrating Christmas does he begin to turn his life around. The next day he informs Bob Cratchit that he is getting a raise and will have help for his struggling family including medical care for Tiny Tim.
In the twenty three years that this production has been staged in Cleveland, over a half million people have enjoyed this Cleveland holiday tradition. The sponsor for this performance is The John P. Murphy Foundation. The company’s 2011-12 season is presented with support from The Cleveland Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. GLT is also generously funded by the citizens of Cuyahoga County through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. A Christmas Carol’s media sponsors are The Plain Dealer and WMJI-Majic 105.7 FM. GLT’s season media sponsors are the FORM Group, Scene, WCLV 104.9 FM, WCPN 90.3 FM and WKSU 89.7 FM.
In all, 25 players have been cast as the 60 various characters of the play. The cast is as follows: Lynn Robert Berg- Marley/Lighthouse Man/Man 2/Undertaker, Kayleigh Collins-Master William/Tiny Tim, Jackson Daugherty-James/Robert/Adolescent Scrooge/Ensemble, Aled Davies-Scrooge/Samuels, Jodi Dominick-Jane/Mrs. Cratchit/Charwoman/Ensemble, Mackenzie Dale Durken-Skate Girl/Ensemble, Antwaun Holley-Richard/Peter Cratchit/Dick Wilkins/Ensemble, Cameron Andrew Howell-Delivery Boy/Ensemble, Paul Hurley-Young Scrooge/Nephew Fred/Ensemble, Rachel M. Jones-Elizabeth/Martha Cratchit/Fan/Ensemble, Mia Knight-Swing/Street Child, Darryl Lewis-Charity Man 2/Mr. Fezzwig/Man 1/Captain, Colleen Longshaw-Cynthia/Mrs. Fezzwig/Laundress/Ensemble, Dougfred Miller-Father/Bob Cratchit/Ensemble, Cameron Danielle Nelson-Sarah/Polly/Want, Carley Marie Nelson-Sled Boy/Ignorance, Cassidy Josephine Nelson-Master William/Tiny Tim, Courtney Anne Nelson-Soloist/Street Child, Laura Perrotta-Mother/Mrs. Fred/Ensemble, Eduardo Placer-Ghost of Christmas Past/Ghost of Christmas Future/Street Singer, Maggie Roach-Debtor’s Wife/Belle/Ensemble, David Anthony Smith-Muggenridge/The Ghost of Christmas Present/Debtor/Ensemble, Dudley Swetland-Topper/Man 3/ Miner, M. A. Taylor-Charity Man 1/Joe the Keeper/Ensemble and Natalie Welch-Abigail/Belinda.
The Production Team includes: Sara Bruner-Director, A Christmas Carol, Charles Fee-Producing Artistic Director, Gerald Freedman-Director/Adaptor, A Christmas Carol, Matthew Webb/Music Director, Mary Jo Dondlinger-Lighting Designer, John Ezell-Scenic Designer, Gene Emerson Friedman-Scenic Designer, Stan Kozak-Sound Designer, Tom Mardikes-Sound Designer, Stuart Raleigh-Original Musical Director, James Scott-Costume Designer, David Shimotakahara-Choreographer, Cynthia Stillings-Lighting Designer, Robert Waldman-Music Adaptor and Arranger, Tim Kinzel-Assistant Stage Manager and Corrie Purdum-Stage Manager.
Among the delights in this production is the expansive use of theatrical special effects to lend a strong sense of the supernatural. The production team has blended exceptional stagecraft with dramatic effects to evoke the mysterious aspects of this classic ghost story.
Great Lakes Theater, the first resident company of PlayhouseSquare, has brought the pleasure, power and relevance of classic theater to the widest possible audience since 1962. The company celebrates its 50th anniversary season in 2011-12. GLT programming reaches over 85,000 adults and students annually.
Curtain times for all evening performances will be at 7:30 p.m. with a 1:30 p.m. curtain time for Thursday, Friday and Saturday matinees and a 3:00 p.m. curtain time for Sunday matinees. An audio-described and sign interpreted performance is scheduled for Sunday, December 4 at 3:00 p.m.
Single tickets for Great Lakes Theater’s production of A Christmas Carol range in price from $28 to $60 (student tickets are $26-any performance, any seat) and are available by calling 216-241-6000, or by ordering online at www.greatlakestheater.org or by visiting the PlayhouseSquare Ticket Office. Groups of ten or more receive discounts and should call 216-241-5490 x302 to make reservations.
Open your heart to Charles Dickens’ classic tale of one man’s ultimate redemption. One of northeast Ohio’s favorite holiday traditions, A Christmas Carol is a perfect gift of theater for children and adults of all ages. Celebrate the season with the ones you love.