Thursday, December 4, 2014


Imagine a classic Christmas tale with a slightly modern twist in presentation.  Music Theatre of Connecticut has just the right mistletoe decorated present ready for opening and you're invited to do the honors.  MTC has taken Charles Dickens" famous story of that irascible curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge and the heart-tugging Tiny Tim and created a radio show to bring this beautiful story of redemption and second chances to life.

For two performances only, Saturday, December 13 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 14 at 2 p.m., with a post-show reception with spirits and good cheer with cast and staff, you're welcome to join the party.  Joe Landry, who has already created "It's a Wonderful Life" as a successful radio show, is adding "A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play" to his colorful and creative repertoire.

The idea occurred to Artistic Director Kevin Connors last summer that MTC wanted to do a holiday show again this December but not "It's a Wonderful Life." A nearby theater was already booked to do its presentation and Connors wanted a new venture.  The first time around Joe Landry was inspired by Woody Allen's film "Radio Days" and the concept of nostalgia.  He knew "A Christmas Carol" had been a successful radio show in the past but he wanted to give it a new spin. Landry began by using the full text and making it into a stage play, "chipping away," reforming it and breaking down the scenes.  He even watched the film version to discover what other writers and directors had done with it.

One of the most fun aspects was finding the perfect commercials to use, remember this is a radio show set in the 1940's, and settled on one featuring a Fruitcake Club of the Month and a second showcasing a department store, after researching authentic Fairfield County ads from the era. Landry hopes these two radio shows will be done in repertory to provide the ultimate holiday experience. This year alone, one hundred productions of "It's a Wonderful Life" will be performed across the country.

This world premiere benefit reading will feature music by Kevin Connors, with traditional holiday themes, Christmas carol tunes and jingles for the commercials, and take place on a fictional Christmas Eve in the 1940's.  Five actors -John Flaherty, Cynthia Hannah, Chilton Ryan, Jim Schilling and Nadine Willig - with a galaxy of sound effects, like creaking chains for ghosts, mysterious moanings from the other world, doors slamming and carriages arriving, create the intriguing atmosphere of this holiday classic.

From Scrooge's first "bah humbug" to Tiny Tim's heartfelt "God bless us everyone," you will be caught up in this perfect  production for the whole family to enjoy.  Where else can you find a trio of ghosts paying visits after midnight to a cranky cuss who claims Christmas is a cause for complaints and chaos.  Scrooge is set to learn a powerful lesson about life and love.  His heart, hardened like steel, is softened and sweetened in the process.

Come see MTC's new digs in Norwalk, about a mile from their old Westport home, at 509 Westport Avenue, Norwalk, behind Jones New York and Nine West Outlet. Look for the new orange awning. For tickets ($30-40, $5 off students and seniors if available), call MTC at 203-454-3883 or online at  Proceeds will benefit MTC and its programming.

Let playwright Joe Landry and composer Kevin Connors put you in the Christmas spirit by producing spirits of a ghostly nature, all designed to entertain and, for Scrooge, to haunt first and to enlighten second.

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