Meadow Brook Theatre offers 32nd year of ‘A Christmas Carol’Written by Matt Liasse | | email@example.com
For 32 years, the Meadow Brook Theatre in Rochester, Mich., has performed “A Christmas Carol” annually.
Director Jerry Carpenter said the cast never grows tired of it.
Carpenter was first introduced to the story with 1962’s “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol,” an animated musical adaptation with Mr. Magoo. He fell in love with the story right away.
“That’s 50 years old now, I think, and I still like the songs from that version,” Carpenter said.
Rehearsals for “A Christmas Carol” started before Halloween. By Dec. 1, the cast had done 22 shows. Carpenter said it’s not difficult to get into the holiday spirit in October.
“Actually, if you go to the Walmart store, they’ve got their Christmas stuff out before Labor Day these days,” Carpenter said. “It’s Christmas for about three months.”
Each show is different, based on the audience, Carpenter said. The many casts the production has seen over the years keep it fresh as well.
Casting the role of Ebenezer Scrooge is always a challenge.
“You have to find somebody who can be both the hard Scrooge at the beginning but yet you still feel sympathy for as the audience,” Carpenter said. “And he needs to be able to transform, as Scrooge does, to the open, loving, joyful, as he says ‘giddy as a drunken man’ after he’s woken up on Christmas morning.”
Carpenter said he always has to find an actor who has the stamina to keep up with the demands of playing Scrooge.
“They’re on stage the entire time,” Carpenter said. “And standing up virtually the entire time.”
This season, the role of Scrooge is played by Thomas D. Mahard, a member of the Actors’ Equity Association. Mahard has played Scrooge for the past four years and has filled other roles in the production in the past, including Ghost of Jacob Marley, Old Joe and one of the charity men. He was even the understudy for Scrooge for many years.
“He’s been in the show almost from the beginning,” Carpenter said. “We also know that he knew the history of our version of ‘Christmas Carol’ because he had done it so often and played different roles from different perspectives.”
Even though the production has been going for so long, Carpenter said he doesn’t sway too far from the original script, which was adapted by Charles Nolte from the Charles Dickens story.
“The audience likes the version that we do,” he said.
The show will run 8 p.m. Dec. 6, 11-13 and 17-20 and 2 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22. Tickets range from $35 to $40. Carpenter said the show may be too scary for children younger than 5.
Meadow Brook Theatre, located on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., is a nonprofit organization serving for 48 years. For more information, visit the website www.mbtheatre.com.
Tags: 'Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol', A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, Charles Nolte, Ebenezer Scrooge, Ghost of Jacob Marley, Labor Day, Meadow Brook Theatre, Michigan, Oakland University, Old Joe, Rochester, Thomas D. Mahard, Walmart