Monday, December 18, 2017

A Christmas Carol -- Hartford Stage

Michael Preston. Photo: T. Charles Erickson
A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas
Adapted by Michael Wilson from the novel by Charles Dickens
Choreographed by Hope Clarke
Directed by Rachel Alderman (originally directed by Michael Wilson)
Hartford Stage
Through Dec. 30

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
The 20th anniversary production of Michael Wilson's adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, this year with a new Scrooge, Michael Preston, who replaces Bill Raymond, who had played the Christmas-hating miser for most of Hartford' Stage's run of the holiday classic. Preston, a master juggler, had played inventor Mr. Marvel (Christmas Future) for the past six years. New casting also is in effect for other principal characters this year as well:  John-Andrew Morrison as Mr. Marvel; Kenneth De Abrew as Fezziwig; Rebecka Jones as Ghost of Christmas Past; Shauna Miles as Mrs. Cratchit. There also are some new costumes from Designer Alejo Vietti.

What Are the Highlights?
Some very good special effects with flying by ZFX, Inc. and lighting by Designer Robert Wierzel. It's become a holiday tradition for the Hartford area. This year 14 Hartt School at the University of Hartford students and 26 youths from across Connecticut are in the cast.

What Are the Lowlights?
This isn't one of my favorite adaptations. No surprise, given the subtitle, but the emphasis is on scary ghosts and special effects, not on the transformation of Scrooge's hard heart. The theater suggests the production is for children 8 and up. Scrooge always appears youthful and rather jolly to me (this one even juggles out of character with the one I have in mind from the Dickens text). Some color-blind and gender-neutral casting doesn't work well.

More Information:
A Christmas Carol has been extended through Dec. 30 at Hartford Stage, 50 Church st., Hartford. Performances are Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30 pm; matinees Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets are $25-$90:

Additional Casting:
Vanessa R Butler
Fred's Wife/Belle
Robert Hannon Davis
Bob Cratchit 
Kenneth De Abrew
First Solicitor/Undertaker/Fezziwig
Rebecka Jones
Bettye Pidgeon/Spirit of Christmas Past/Old Josie
Sarah Killough
Ghostly Apparition/Fred’s Sister-in-Law
Shauna Miles
Mrs. Cratchit/Mrs. Fezziwig
John-Andrew Morrison
Mr. Marvel 
Michael Preston
Ebenezer Scrooge
Buzz Roddy
AM Scrooge/Second Solicitor
Alan Rust
Bert/Spirit of Christmas Present
Noble Shropshire
Mrs. Dilber/Jacob Marley
Terrell Donnell Sledge
Fred/Scrooge at 30
Laura Axelrod, Napoleonic Apparition/Nichola/Fred Party Guest
Jake Blakeslee, Topper
Rebecca Chism, Elizabethan Apparition
Brittany DeAngelis, Medieval Apparition/Wendy/Fred Party Guest
Jamaal Fields-Green, 1400s Soldier Apparition/Fezziwig Party Guest/Fred Party Guest
Dan Macke, 18th Century Apparition/Dick Wilkins
Alyssa Marino, Female Swing
Evan McReddie, Male Swing/Lamplighter
Daniel Owens, Teen Scrooge
Nicholas Rylands, Tudor Apparition/Fezziwig Party Guest
Dawniella Sinder, Martha Cratchit
Austin Tipograph, Second Solicitor AM/Fred Party Guest
Alessandro Gian Viviano, Mr. Toby/Christmas Future
Dominique Rose Waite, Rich Lady, Fiddler
Isabella Corica, School Boy
Hunter S. Cruz, School Boy
Ethan DiNello, Fruit Child/Ignorance
Lily Girard, Fan
\Norah Girard, School Boy
Nicholas Glowacki, Turkey Boy
Jaime Han, School Boy
Brendan Reilly Harris, Boy Scrooge/Fred Party
Emma Kindl, Claire
Amelia Lopa, Belinda
Timothy McGuire, School Boy
Andrew Michaels, Fruit Child/Ignorance
Majesty-Alexis Moore, Fruit Child/Want
Princess-Larrine Moore, Spoiled Child/Fred Party Girl
Alexander O’Brien, Tiny Tim
Addison Pancoast, Spoiled Child/Fred Party Girl
Ethan Pancoast, Peter
Meghan Pratt, School Boy, 
Tessa Rosenfield, Claire
Ankit Roy, Boy Scrooge/Fred Party
Sana “Prince” Sarr, Turkey Boy
Taylor Santana, Fan
Jordyn Schmidt, Fruit Child/Want
Fred Thornley IV, Peter
Ava Vercellone, Belinda
RJ Vercellone, Tiny Tim

Additional Credits:
Tony Straiges
Scenic Designer
Zack Brown
Original Costume Designer
John Gromada
Original Music and Sound Designer
Ken Clark
Musical Director
Derric Harris
Assistant Choreographer
Ben Furey
Vocal Coach
Shelby Demke
Youth Director
Catherine Michaels
Assistant Youth Director
William Steinberger
Assistant Director/Dramaturg


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