The spirit of the season arrives at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park as U.S. Bank presents Charles Dickens' classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL. A popular favorite with Tri-state families now in its 22nd year, A CHRISTMAS CAROL runs in The Playhouse's Robert S. Marx Theatre from Nov. 29 through Dec. 30.
First written in 1843, A CHRISTMAS CAROL was an instant success that sold 10,000 copies in just 10 days in its initial printing and often is credited with reinvigorating our modern holiday celebration. The book became the author's most popular work, translated into nearly every language and inspiring hundreds of television, film and stage adaptations.
Adapted by Howard Dallin, The Playhouse's version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL combines faithful storytelling with spellbinding stage magic to bring to life its familiar story of a sinner given one last chance at redemption by four persuasive ghosts. Ebenezer Scrooge undergoes a miraculous Christmas Eve transformation as he views with new eyes his past, present and the possibilities of the future. As he witnesses all those who have improved his life - his first love Belle, his kindhearted employer Fezziwig, his nephew Fred and his heartily abused clerk Bob Cratchit - he realizes that it's never too late to change his miserly ways. A CHRISTMAS CAROL's heartwarming message, along with hundreds of costumes and thrilling special effects, helps to make the show one of The Playhouse's most Popular Productions each year.
This year's cast is comprised largely of returning actors. Local favorite Bruce Cromer will be humbugging as Ebenezer Scrooge for the eighth year. Also returning are Dale Hodges as the Ghost of Christmas Past/Mrs. Peake, Keith Jochim as Mr. Fezziwig/Ghost of Christmas Present, Gregory Procaccino as Jacob Marley/Old Joe, Amy Warner as Mrs. Fezziwig/Patience and Nick Rose as Mr. Cupp/Percy/Guest at Fezziwig's. Stephen Skiles plays Mr. Sosser/Topper/Man with Shoe Shine/Guest at Fezziwig's, Craig Wesley Divino plays Fred, Avery Clark plays Young and Mature Scrooge/Ghost of Christmas Future and Joy Farmer-Clary plays Belle/Catherine Margaret. Making their Playhouse debut are Michael Keyloun as Bob Cratchit/Schoolmaster Oxlip and Kelly Mengelkoch as Mrs. Cratchit/Laundress.
Playing carolers and party guests are Suzanne Sefinatu Ayoka Blunk, Jamal Crowelle, Phillip Ray Guevara, Rachel McKeon, Kevin Percival, Heather Petersen, Datus Puryear and Betsy Rosen.
Nine area children also appear in A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Returning are Allison Edwards as Fan/Guest at Fezziwig's, Von Eric Huhn as Tiny Tim, Jack Johnson as Peter Cratchit/Gregory/Apprentice at Fezziwig's, Carrington Shropshire as George/Charles/Apprentice at Fezziwig's and Naomi Stoner as Martha Cratchit/to the Guest at Fezziwig's. Other children include Grace Hehman as Belinda Cratchit/Guest at Fezziwig's Guest, Ethan Verderber as Boy Scrooge/Guest at Fezziwig's/Bootblack, Aubrey Elizabeth Jones as Want/Guest at Fezziwig's and Joseph Forest Lennon Hamzy as Ignorance/ Matthew/Guest at Fezziwig's.
Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Michael Evan Haney, who has been associated with A CHRISTMAS CAROL since its first year (including two as Bob Cratchit), directs the show for the 20th time.
According to Haney, "One of my greatest joys every year is returning to Howard Dallin's faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL. The rich and colorful language of the book has been adapted into dialogue enabling the actors to speak in such a way as to retain the beauty and rhythm of the original prose. It is a beautiful retelling of, as I call it, the second greatest story ever told."