The Denver Center's classic telling of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella A CHRISTMAS CAROL returns to the stage for the 2011 holiday season. Join miserly Ebenezer Scrooge as he discovers the true meaning of Christmas through the spirited hauntings of the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
I must say this version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, adapted by Richard Hellesen with music by David de Berry, feels more like A CHRISTMAS CAROL: THE MUSICAL! So I thoroughly enjoyed it, of course! Christmas just isn’t Christmas without this particular Charles Dickens classic and holiday music, so why not combine the two! The only thing missing from this fun-filled production is an audience sing-a-long at the end, which I would have gladly participated in with bells on my fingers and bells on my toes and waving a cup o’ spiked ‘nog in the air!
Relying heavily on ensemble narration, this play, directed capably by Bruce K. Sevy, is darker than other productions I have experienced, but it maintains a royal sense of noble charm and is just delightful to watch. For six of the nineteen years that The Denver Center has been producing A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Philip Pleasants has bah-humbugged the stage in the lead role. He is a natural Scrooge and has had several productions to perfect the cynical, stingy nature of his character. Jeff Cribbs is superb as humble, impoverished Bob Cratchit, and Leslie Alexander as Mrs. Cratchit is lovely and strong. Michael Fitzpatrick and Leslie O'Carroll as Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig are hilarious; their oblivious frivolity juxtaposes the darker aspects of Dickens’ insights into the abject poverty that came with 19th century industrialization. Of particular note is Stephanie Cozart as The Ghost of Christmas Past. She is downright haunting, to the point of giving me goose bumps. Harvy Blanks is fun, entertaining, and appropriately jovial as the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Kevin Copenhaver did an excellent job choosing period costumes. Petticoats and bonnets abound and the lush, puffy colors bring the stage to life. Set designer Vicki Smith outdid herself with a stunning two tier set and large props to enhance and add depth to the Victorian era stage. Dan Darnutzer’s jaw-dropping lighting design – replete with fog and subtle mist – has set the bar high for future designers. His strategic use of special visual effects, coupled with Craig Breitenbach’s visceral sound design, help support the initial tone of despair, both physically and emotionally, while shifting to an uplifting optimism as Ebenezer’s transformation from mean curmudgeon to a man who embodies the very spirit of Christmas unfolds. Using a multi-sensory approach, this production team has brought forth the magical wonder of Christmas in a tangible way.
So load the family into the sleigh, head over the hills and through the woods to get grandma, and leap into the Christmas spirit with A CHRISTMAS CAROL, currently making audiences jolly and bright at the Denver Center until December 23rd. For tickets or information, call the box office at 303-893-4100 or visit online at ww.denvercenter.org. No humbugs allowed!
PHOTO CREDIT: Terry Shapiro
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Michael Mulhern has lived in Denver and been active in it's theater scene for over 10 years. He is originally from Wiesbaden, Germany and graduated with a BFA in Theater Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Currently he performs in one to two shows a year and is a proud member of the Denver Gay Men's Chorus. Some of Michael's favorite performances include - Lend Me a Tenor, Guys and Dolls, The Shadow Box, Buried Child, and Jeffrey. He is proud to represent Denver and it's growing theater community on BroadwayWorld.com!|
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