Saturday, December 12, 2015



If you love the classic Charles Dickens' tale of "A Chrstmas Carol," if you're into musical entertainment, and if the holidays with a Victorian English flavor appeal to you, then Norwich's Chestnut Street Playhouse has the perfect gift for you and your family to unwrap until Sunday, December 20.

Forget lumpy gravy, rocky mashed potatoes, sour cranberry sauce and undercooked turkey, for the most disappointing and unappetizing aspect of the Christmas season is the love-to-be-hated Ebenezer Scrooge.  For a man who values money more than people, Scrooge is wonderfully and crankily captured in all his mercenary ways by Derek Corriveau, a curmudgeon who delights in cursing the sacred day.  With a hearty "Bah! Humbug!" he clearly has no compassion left in his hardened heart.

 A trio of composers Alan Menkin, Lynn Ahrens and Mike Ockrent have conjured up a delightful musical version of this decidedly different family story.  On Christmas Eve, Scrooge's long time business partner Jacob Marley (David Fenn), long dead for many years, has returned to earth to warn Scrooge to mend his stingy ways and abandon his avarice before it is too late.

To help him learn his lesson, Marley sends three spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past (Maureen Pollard), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Randy Ronco) and the Ghost of Christmas Future  (Geralyn Kozel Frishman) to show Scrooge the error of his ways.  In scenes like "Mr. Fezziwig's Annual Christmas Ball," "Abundance and Charity" and "God Bless Us Everyone," this entire ensemble cast of more than two dozen creates a wonderful portrait of Ebenezer Scrooge's wealthy yet impoverished world. Special mention must be made of Mr. Fezziwig (Justin Carroll), Bob Cratchit (Kyle Donelan) and Scarlett Stanley as the adorable and optimistic Tiny Tim. Lisa Foss directs this spirited holiday tale with warmth and sincerity.

For tickets ($15-30), call Chestnut Street Playhouse, 24 Chestnut Street, Norwich at 860-886-2378 or online at  Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Check your calendars for two special Chestnut Street Playhouse events, on Wednesday, December 23 at 7:30 p.m. when a magical evening hosted by Valerie Azlynn and Erin Sousa-Stanley will occur.  "No Place Like Home for the Holiday" promises to be stuffed with laughter, joy and song.  On Sunday, December 27 at 7 p.m., "Next Year, Baby" will feature the song stylings of Christopher Faison, accompanied by Dan Brandt, in a personal and revealing exploration of his life and his music.  Tickets are $25.

Don't let the holidays escape without taking advantage of this trio of fine entertainment choices.  Or "Bah! Humbug!" on you!

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