Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the drill. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly, miserable old man, is visited by three ghosts the night before Christmas (well, four, if you count his old partner). After Scrooge is made to take a long, hard look at his past, present, and future lives, he wakes up to find he’s changed. Bob Cratchit, father of the sickly Tiny Tim and Scrooge’s employee, benefits greatly from this change. Everyone lives happily ever after and Tiny Tim says “God bless us everyone!” I don’t think I’m giving anything away by rehashing the synopsis.
Charles Dickens’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL has been done a thousand different ways, with everyone from Disney, to the Muppets, to Jim Carrey doing some version of it. Leslie Bricusse saw something in the Dickens play that would benefit from added music in SCROOGE! THE MUSICAL; however, Rodgers and Hammerstein he is not (one of the songs is called “I Hate People”). The performers of Methacton Community Theater, directed by Nicolette Addice, did an admirable job with not the greatest songs written for the stage. This is a large cast of all ages, with quite a few families, which was nice to see, representing what community theater is truly all about.
After a 15 minute late start (not sure why), the show began with a strong opening from the company and beautiful sets (kudos to designer Mike Addice). SCROOGE! THE MUSICAL has a tremendous amount of kids in the cast, who are all wonderful. You can clearly tell they want to be nowhere else and sing their hearts out. I love to see children get involved in the arts because you never know when you might be seeing the next Broadway star.
Clark Ven Hekken, no stranger to the stage, plays Scrooge as he should be played. I would love to see him do this role in A CHRISTMAS CAROL without music. As I said before, he does not have the greatest songs to work with and many of his solo songs do not have much melody. Bob Cratchit (Cliff Reese), Tiny Tim (Tegerty Ritchie), and the ghosts (Lauren Quigley, Gary Rantz, and Cassie McElwee) are all fine, with Rantz particularly strong in his Ghost of Christmas Present. I was waiting with baited breath to see how they would do the doorknocker scene with Jacob Marley (David Moyer), and it was really well done. However, the character of Jacob needs to be much more ghost-like and scary. Kevin Sullivan, playing both Harry and Young Ebenezer, has a nice voice, particularly in “You-You”.
This production definitely would have benefited from more orchestra participants. Only two (out of five) were there on opening night, and they didn’t seem to be miked.
Despite these opening night snafus, you could tell these actors (especially the kids) love to perform. It’s nice to see such spirit on the stage.
SCROOGE! THE MUSICAL
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
Based on A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens
Directed by Nicolette Addice
November 9 – 18, 2012
Methacton Community Theater
Shannondell Performing Arts Center
10000 Shannondell Blvd.