by Brian Robin
It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like "A Christmas Carol"—12 Reasons Why You Don’t Want to Miss It
There are 12 days remaining until SCR’s holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol, begins its 42nd year on the Segerstrom Stage. The production runs Nov. 26-Dec. 24.
With that, we’re counting down with 12 reasons you should see A Christmas Carol.
1. The Experience: You’ve probably seen A Christmas Carol on TV, film or via an animated production, such is the timelessness of this story. But nothing beats the emotional, electric experience of being in the theatre for a live production of Dickens’ masterpiece. “Memorable moments abound,” wrote Eric Marchese in the Newport Beach Independent.
2. Charles Dickens: He’s in the pantheon with Shakespeare, Twain, Orwell, Hemingway and a small handful of other authors in terms of writing stories that not only stand the test of time, they get better with age. Dickens’ tale about redemption, goodwill and generosity toward one’s fellow man remains as relevant in 2022 as it was when Dickens wrote it—in 1843.
3. Richard Doyle: His portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge was called “deliciously watchable” by Paul Hodgins of Voice of OC. One of SCR’s Founding Members, Doyle brings 37 years of experience in the production to his second year as everyone’s favorite curmudgeon. Whether he’s Cranky Scrooge, Repentant Scrooge or Joyful Scrooge, Doyle brings his emotions to life in an entertaining manner.
4. Hisa Takakuwa and Kelly Todd: Directing her second production after spending 14 years as an assistant director and another 14 in the cast, Takakuwa brings extensive knowledge, passion and dedication to her craft. The level of trust she inspires in returning actors, newcomers and designers adds to the quality awaiting audiences. One of the most respected choreographers in Southern California, Todd’s award-winning talent is entertainingly displayed during the Fezziwig party, a scene audiences delight in every year.
5. The Spirits: From Jennifer Parsons’ Spirit of Christmas Past balancing helpfulness with a taskmaster’s certainty, to Richard Soto’s Spirit of Christmas Present coming at Scrooge with his Falstaffian friendliness tinged with subtle warnings, to Michael Manuel’s haunting, attention-grabbing Jacob Marley’s Ghost, to the frightening spectre of Nick Slimmer’s Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come, A Christmas Carol’s ghosts definitely cause a stir.
6. The Costumes: It’s the sartorial splendor of Victorian London, featuring the artistry of the late Dwight Richard Odle combined with the incredible handiwork of the SCR Costume Shop, which fabricates hundreds of costume pieces. And that’s just for the 16 children. Speaking of which …
7. The Red Team: You’ll see them Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at noon., playing the children’s parts. The Red Team features Justine Roussel (Martha Cratchit), Maximilian Lalli (Peter Cratchit), Maddie Chung (Belinda Cratchit), Julia Ner (Tiny Tim), ChloeLux Phan (Teen Girl About Town), Tessany Azizi (Girl About Town), Max Zazik (Boy Scrooge/Oliver Shelley) and Ben Hacker (Turkey Boy). Roussel, Lalli, Phan, Azizi and Chung return from last year’s production.
8. The Green Team: Alternating performances with the Red Team, the Green Team performs Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. The Green Team features Natalie Bright (Martha Cratchit), Matthew Chan (Peter Cratchit), Anabelle Green (Belinda Cratchit), Yunah Choi (Tiny Tim), Piper Huntley (Teen Girl About Town), Ashley Hong (Girl About Town), Isaac Person (Boy Scrooge/Oliver Shelley) and Vincent Logan (Turkey Boy). Bright returns from last year.
9. Tiny Tim (times two): Say “Hello” to your scene stealers. Played by Ner (Red Team) and Choi (Green Team), Tiny Tim’s predicament will play a soulful melody with your heartstrings.
10. The Cast: Along with Doyle, Parsons, Manuel, Soto and Slimmer and the children, this talented cast features Melody Butiu (Mrs. Fezziwig/Solicitor), Tommy Beck (Young Scrooge), Kelsey Bray (Mrs. Shelley/Pursued Maiden), Erika Schindele (Sally), Preston Maybank (Bob Cratchit), Larry Bates (Fred), Eduardo Enrikez (Joe/Young Marley), William Francis McGuire (Mr. Fezziwig/Solicitor), Elyse Mirto (Mrs. Cratchit), Alicia Coca (Belle) and Michael Reese Shald (Topper). The cast also features understudies for the first time, Diana Burbano (Mrs. Fezziwig, Mrs. Cratchit, Ghost of Christmas Past, Sally) and Michael Polak (Bob Cratchit, Ghost of Christmas Present, Fred, Jacob Marley).
11. The Sets: Tom Buderwitz’s scenic design transforms you into Victorian London with a purpose Chris Daniels of The Show Report cleverly describes as “Mr. Buderwitz’s scenic design—all elaborately designed with canted angles—evokes Ebenezer Scrooge’s warped priorities, his slanted mind and steely heart. You can actually even hear the chilly London wind blow through the drafty bedroom where the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future come to take him on his journey.”
12. It Cures Your ‘Bah-Humbugs’: The combination of Dickens’ story, adaptor Jerry Patch’s words and the talented cast and creative team is the perfect holiday pick-me-up.