Scrooge: The Musical
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
Directed by David Yen
Music Direction by Tina Lloyd Meals
Choreography by Michella Snider
For tickets / schedule :
Spreckels Performing Arts Center
Rohnert Park, CA
Spreckels Theatre Company
RUN: November 28 – December 21, 2014
RATING: 3 of 5 stars
(November 28, 2014)
Based on the popular 1970 film Scrooge, and adapted for the stage in 1992, the musical follows the timeless story of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. There have been many retellings of the novella, from classic stage productions to Doctor Who’s science fiction adventure. The musical warms the heart and left half the audience singing excerpts on their way to the parking lot, a sure sign of a successful production. The songs are catchy, cheerful numbers, interwoven perfectly with the plot to bring the story along. It did not feel as though the action stopped in order to have a song, it is an integrated musical flowing in and out of the dialogue.
Rather than elaborate sets, the Spreckels production uses projections as the backdrop (designed by Gene Abravaya and edited by Rio Macchia), allowing for spine-chilling apparition scenes and snow covered London streets. Make the Most of This World was particularly effective, combining the projection system with audience interaction and the brilliant acting of Tim Setzer as Scrooge.
Creating Dickens’ quintessential character requires a balance of comedic timing, authenticity, and care not to become too outrageous in the portrayal. Tim Setzer as Scrooge kept the audience riveted without breaking the magic. Bob Cratchit (Ben Acedo) was immediately charismatic in an amiable fashion, and an excellent dancer. He and Abby Chambers as Mrs. Cratchit drew empathy for their family. The children, while sincere, did not have a powerful stage presence.
The Ghost of Christmas Past (Pam Koppel) radiated a sweet disposition, slowly melting the cold heart of Scrooge, as she guided him through long lost memories. The Ghost of Christmas Present (Jon Rathjen) was jolly and enthusiastic, but difficult to hear, as his voice did not project well. The visit to Fred (Zack Howard) was staged brilliantly, with a rousing game of The Minister’s Cat.
Costuming (Pamela Enz) was a mix of eras, with 1899 being the primary choice, in a vivid array of colors. Christmas Past wore a lovely walking dress inspired by 1875, matching her nostalgic presence. I was pleased to see there were no corsets on the outside, a look that has unfortunately become the norm for Victorian era theatre productions.
Scrooge: The Musical is an enchanting production for the whole family, kindling the generous Christmas spirit in each of us, and ringing in the holiday season with laughter and merriment. Prepare for a delightful evening that will leave you smiling and humming for days.