Monday, November 28, 2011

Favorites Return for 14th Christmas Carol at Hartford Stage

Marley pays a visit. Photo: T. Charles Erickson
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas returns to Hartford Stage for its 14th season. Adapted and originally directed for the stage by MichaelWilson, and now directed by Hartford Stage resident director Maxwell Williams, Dickens’ timeless inspiring masterpiece runs from through Dec. 30.

Hartford Stage favorite Bill Raymond returnsfor his 12th turn as Scrooge for all evening and 2 pm performances and Gustave Johnson again will play Scrooge at student matinees.

A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas is the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the heartless miser who discoversthe true meaning of the holiday season after a Christmas Eve haunting.  Featuring all of Charles Dickens’ well-knowncharacters (Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present,and Future), the story of love and redemption is both a chilling ghost story and a heartwarming holiday event for children ofall ages. 

Original cast member Noble Shropshire (Milton,NY), returns to play the Ghost of Jacob Marley and Scrooge's housekeeper Mrs. Dilber.  Since 2004, Robert Hannon Davis (West Hartford) returns in the roles of Bob Cratchit and Mr. Fezziwig.  Rebecka Jones (Hamden) returns in the roles of Mrs. Fezziwig and Mrs. Cratchit. Michael Bakkensen (New York) returns in the role of Scrooge’s warm-hearted nephew, Fred, and Michael Preston (Hartford) makes his A Christmas Carol debut as Mr. Marvel. 

Cast members who have performed in all 14 seasons are Johanna Morrison (WestHartford) as Bettye Pidgeon and the Spirit of Christmas Past, Alan Rust (West Hartford) as Bert and the Spirit of Christmas Present, and Michelle Hendrick (Hartford) as Belle.

The cast also features more than two dozen local children Tiana N. Bailey (Bloomfield), EliBaker (South Glastonbury), AilieBednarz (Deep River), Tailanse Brantley (Springfield), Natalie Castonguay (Avon), Olivia Coe (Simsbury),Jordan Cyr (Cromwell), Jacrhys Dalton, Lorenzo Dalton, Rachel Dalton (Branford), Clareight Ellis,Seanan Ellis (West Simsbury), Yoni Haller (West Hartford), Jonathan Hammond (Farmington), Andrew Holland (West Hartford), Daniel Kemple (Hartford), Daniel Madigan (Avon), Emily May (Ivoryton), Michael Oliver (Avon), Ethan Pancoast (Rocky Hill), Maiya Pascouche (Simsbury), Thomas Ranttigan (West Hartford), Abbi Rice, Katie Rice (Avon), Ankit Roy(East Hartford), Laura Spineti(Higganum), Fred Thornley (Hartford,and Garet Weirdsma (New Hartford); as well as several “stars of tomorrow” making their Hartford Stage debut – members of the BFA Acting Program at The Hartt School.

Acting students include Ben Cole (Hartford), Alana Fallis (Hartford),Mark Ford (Hartford), Nicholas Giuliani (Hartford), Morgan Hammel (Hartford), Laura Helm (Soughborough, MA), Tom Rash (Hartford), Timothy Rizzo (Hartford), Alex Saffer (Hartford), Charles South (Hartford), Kirsten Tarczynski (Hartford), Sophia Watt (Hartford), and Salvatore Zullo (Bronx).

Hartford Stage’s presentation features settings by the Tony Award-winning scenic designer Tony Straiges, costumes by Zach Brown, lighting by Robert Wierzel and original music and sound design by John Gromada. Hope Clarke is choreographer, Ken Clark is musical director.

Tickets are $24 - $69; children 12 and under save $10. For other discounts, activities and to purchase tickets, call 860-527-5151 or visit the box office at 50 Church St., Hartford or visit www.hartfordstage.org.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced
numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont
Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.”

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway
League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway
run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill
Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/. She
is editor of The award-winning Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com),

She is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Contributing Editor for BroadwayWorld.com, Connecticut theater editor
for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web. Yarger is a book reviewer and writer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented
by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle (awards committee).

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts,
the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

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