A CAROL CHRISTMAS by Carol Kaufman Segal
It’s that wonderful time of the year when many theaters are offering Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. You may feel that you have seen it often enough over the years. Therefore, I highly recommend that you see a brand new version of the Dickens’ classic playing at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood.
This new musical production entitled A Carol Christmas is set in America today. It was written by Doug Haverty, with wonderful music and lyrics by Bruce Kimmel, orchestration and musical direction by Richard Allen, and choreography by Kay Cole, all under the direction of Bruce Kimmel. It is a top-notch, first class musical production with a superb cast of actors, singers and dancers that is making its debut in the Los Angeles area.
And speaking of the cast, this big list of talented members includes Monica Allan, Ben Anderson, Emily Barnett, Ryan J. Duncan, Kevin Hoffman, Peyton Kirkner, Lola Paja, Lloyd Pedersen, Catarina Pereira, Hartley Powers, Savannah Schoenecker, John Schroeder, Debi Tinsley, Harley Walker, and Janet Wood. A special group of marvelous young carolers include Celine June Bautista, Ella Birdwell, Andre Grigorian, Chihoro Kato, and Momoka Kato.
You won’t find Scrooge, because in this play, it is Carol (Hartley Powers), the host of a home-shopping show on TV. Her job is very demanding. She and her large staff spend many hours working towards the success of her show, and since she doesn’t care about Christmas she expects her entire staff to work with her throughout the holidays. Her former partner, Joelle (Janet Wood) who recently passed away, left Carol with an unexpected DVD telling her what Christmas Eve will be like for her.
We won’t see any ghosts, but Carol is visited by a rather wacky therapist Odette, Christmas Past (Debi Tinsley), Karina, a Russian herbalist, Christmas Present (Janet Wood ), and Mabel, a weird Tarot card reader, Christmas Future (Debi Tinsley again). Tinsley and Wood are both delightful and very funny in their roles. Trina (surrogate for Tiny Tim), whose malady is a weak heart, is played with sensitivity by young Peyton Kirkner.
Everyone in the cast is outstanding, the music and lyrics are sensational and the book is clever and well-written. The set design (Tesshi Nakagawa), costume design (Morgan Gannes), sound design (Austin Quan) all go together to make this a wonderful theater experience.
A Carol Christmas is playing Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM, at the Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd, North Hollywood, through December 30. There will be no performance Friday, November 23. There will be an added performance Saturday, November 24, at 2 PM. For tickets, call (818) 760-1240, or go online at www.thegrouprep.com.