Tri-County Performing Arts Center in Pottstown opened its holiday offering, A CHRISTMAS CAROL – THE MUSICAL, on Friday December 3. I attended the preview on December 2, and was very entertained by what I saw coming together.
The show takes place on a relatively small open stage, with a Richard Scarry-esque backdrop of the London cityscape, circa 1840. There are various levels upstage for the actors to work on, with an open area downstage where the few set pieces move in and out briskly. The actors move about the open area, entering from all sides, keeping the action moving along very briskly and not allowing the pace to lag throughout the production.
The story is a familiar one…the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, et al. In the approximately 105 minutes of this show (which may end up even quicker by the time you see it) the ensemble manages to tell the entire story with most of the flashbacks, subplots, and characters. There are enough direct quotes from Dickens’ novel to engage the literary attendees, yet the show is understandable to even the younger audience members.
The cast is large and very talented. Robb Hutter is Scrooge, and does a fine job as the elderly curmudgeon, growling and snapping at young and old. As the visitations proceed you can see each moment affect him, so that his metamorphosis is very believable. Paul Recupero’s Cratchit is all nerves and energy, and his scenes with Mrs. Cratchit (Natalie Cisternas), Martha (Jenna Stango), and Tiny Tim (double-cast with Davey Eurillo and Connor Kirk) were wonderful. Other performances of note were Michael Kiesling’s Fezziwig, the three ghosts (Laura Watson, Isaih Robinson, and Donna Dougherty) and Ben Fried as Marley. They were joined by many others, all of whom gave very solid performances.
A preview performance is the final rehearsal in many ways…it is when everything is put together, sometimes for the very first time. As such, there were a couple issues with special effects and especially with the sound, but the good news is that by the time you go see this show they will all be corrected…and see it you should. A CHRISTMAS CAROL – THE MUSICAL is a fine way for families to celebrate the holidays, with beautiful music, a classic story, and a wonderful message, no matter what your religious beliefs. This is a very limited run, so order your tickets now and don’t miss it.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL – THE MUSICAL
Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens,
Book by Lynn Ahrens & Mike Ockrent
Directed by Neal Newman
Tri-County Performing Arts Center (Village Productions)
245 E. High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464