“God bless us every one!” And, “thank you very much” to Haddonfield Plays and Players for bringing us SCROOGE THE MUSICAL. It was truly the theatre’s gift to the community this holiday with a bountiful Christmas spirit of music and cuteness on stage. Colorful costumes, superb sound effects, and a captivating cast made this holiday show especially charming for the entire family.
I brought my twelve-year-old daughter, Allie, who came home singing, “Thank You Very Much” and, of course, now I can’t get it out of my head.
Director Pat DeFusco did a great job of casting and staging the show with fine performers, “every one,” and using them where they were most effective, often in multiple roles. We are all familiar with the Dickens tale that it’s based on, A Christmas Carol. By contrasting actors playing the ghosts by size and age, DeFusco made what we already know from the story to be more interesting. And, he transformed a group of actors into diverse community of family and citizens–the 19th century characters Dickens writes about–and made them come to life on stage.
I hadn’t seen the musical version before, but I found it to be entertaining despite the fact it’s become classic holiday fare. This is certainly one of those shows where the Scrooge character stands out the most, but it still is largely an ensemble show. Joe Sweeney made a good “Scrooge,” although I agree with my daughter who thought he became nice too soon. But I liked his general grumpiness–especially at the beginning so it didn’t bother me too much. He did a fine job with the songs, although his volume like a few others could have been pumped up a bit.
Still, the cast did a nice job without mics. On the other hand, I have to admit the echo on the Marley’s ghost and the other sound effects gave the atmosphere a particularly spooky feel when needed.
Overall, this is a musically consistent show. The music, while not the stuff Broadway hits are made of, is still quite nice and some songs I liked very much for their variety like “Happiness,” “Love While You Can,” ” The Minister’s Cat,” and “Thank You Very Much”–the song I can’t get out of my head.
While this show has the expected elements of sweetness, it also has a reality and a strong message. Naturally, it has something for the whole family. And speaking of family, below is the review from my daughter:
SCROOGE THE MUSICAL Review
By: Allie Shaw
SCROOGE THE MUSICAL, performed at Haddonfield Plays and Players in Haddonfield, was a stellar performance that “wowed” the audience. This production showed how the actors all worked together. I was really impressed with Lisa Diaz as “Christmas Past,” Antony Post as “Peter Cratchit” and “Urchin 1, “Corrine Costa as “Isabel” and lastly, Connor Twigg as “Tom Jenkins.”
In SCROOGE THE MUSICAL, Scrooge learns from Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-Be to become a better person. It seemed to me that Joe Sweeney as “Scrooge” learned his lesson too soon and showed others his change too quickly, but otherwise his Scrooge had good character with good emotions.
There were songs I liked that were full of character. These songs* were “Happiness,” “Love While You Can,” “The Minister Cat” and “Thank You Very Much.” These songs had some spotlight characters in them, but could not have been so remarkable without the ensemble bringing them to the top.
(*I swear I did not see her review when I selected the same songs in the same order, and probably for the same reason.–JS)
Tonight was pretty much sold out, so if you haven’t seen SCROOGE THE MUSICAL at Haddonfield Plays and Players, do it now. And, enjoy the holiday spirit live on stage.
SCROOGE THE MUSICAL
Book, Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
Published by Samuel French, Inc.
December 1-4, 9-11 and 16-18, 2011
Haddonfield Plays and Players
957 East Atlantic Avenue