The spirit of Christmas, or rather, the “spirits” of Christmas – Past, Present and Future – are alive and well and up to their old hijinks at Meadow Brook Theatre. Now in its 32nd year of presenting the timeless story of the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge, Meadow Brook’s productions seem to grow more delightful with each annual viewing.
“’A Christmas Carol’ is our gift to southeast Michigan,” said Cheryl Marshall, MBT managing director. “People come back year after year. Maybe they saw it 20 years ago with a school group and now want to share it with their children. It’s a magical event.”
Apparently, the charm is true for the company as well. MBT veteran Tom Mahard returns to the role of Ebenezer Scrooge this year. Mahard has brought a trademark miserly relish to the role of Scrooge for the past few years, but he has also appeared in many other roles, adding up to over 1,000 “Christmas Carol” performances across the years.
This year’s production reads like a “Who’s Who” of favorite professional actors: Mark Rademacher (Ghost of Jacob Marley), Sara Catheryn Wolf (Spirit of Christmas Past), Paul Hopper (Spirit of Christmas Present), and Tobin Hissong and Jean Lyle Lepard as Bob and Mrs. Cratchit.
“We’ve been presenting “A Christmas Carol” for more than 30 years now. A lot of years it’s like a family reunion, and our audience is part of that family,” said Travis Walter, MBT artistic director.
Per tradition, the juvenile roles are double cast, with two local boys sharing the role of Tiny Tim: Andrew Guest of Rochester Hills, and Jack Sanitate of Washington. This show’s cast is the largest of the season, with more than two dozen professionals in the cast. The youngest member of the cast – and an unrepentant scene-stealer – is Lilianna Rose Ducan, who at less than a year old shines as Belle’s baby. Her calm serenity while all about were engaged in frantic merriment was most regal.
If you haven’t seen “A Christmas Carol” at Meadow Brook, you are missing out on a true spectacle; this is theatre magic the way it was meant to be enjoyed. For people who’ve seen it across multiple seasons, there is always something new to reward one’s loyalty. From the pre-show carols, performed by gifted cast members, to gorgeous scenery and startling special effects, to the richly detailed costumes, this show is not to be missed.
The Meadow Brook Theatre adaptation was written and originally staged by Charles Nolte. MBT Associate Director Terry W. Carpenter directs this season’s production, with original choreography by Jan Puffer. Scenic design is by Peter Hicks, lighting by Reid G. Johnson, costumes by Mary Pettinato and sound design by Mike Duncan.
Tickets range from $18 to $41 and are available by calling the Meadow Brook Theatre box office at 248-377-3300 or going online to Ticketmaster. Groups of eight or more should call 248-370-3316 for discounts. Check the website for show times, as they vary. Meadow Brook Theatre is located on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester (2200 N. Squirrel Road).
There are several opportunities for families to save money, including tickets discounted for the whole family Nov. 15, 16 and 17; and Nov. 22, 23 and 24, when children 12 and under are half price.
The entire cast of “A Christmas Carol” includes:
- Ebenezer Scrooge Thomas D. Mahard*
- Ghost of Jacob Marley Mark Rademacher*
- Spirit of Christmas Past Sara Catheryn Wolf*
- Spirit of Christmas Present Paul Hopper*
- Spirit of Christmas Future Matt Siadak
- 1st Charity Man Paul Hopper*
- 2nd Charity Man Phil Powers*
- Bob Cratchit Tobin Hissong*
- Mrs. Cratchit Jean Lyle Lepard*
- Martha Cratchit Nicole Hollinsky/Georgia Mies
- Peter Cratchit Ian Douthitt/Lucas Guest
- Belinda Cratchit Maxine Koos/Madison Mies
- Matthew Cratchit Nathan Koss/Graham Simpson
- Tiny Tim Cratchit Andrew Guest/Jack Sanitate
- Fred Joseph Feldmann
- Fred’s Wife Lizzie Rainville
- Turkey Boy Collin Kilpatrick/Maxwell Schein
- Boy Scrooge Zachary Jackson Garrett/Blake Reno
- Fan Bella Ignagni/Rachel Jones
- Fezziwig Paul Hopper*
- Young Scrooge James Busam
- Dick Wilkins Dave Roy
- Mrs. Fezziwig Judy Dery*
- Belle Robyn Lipnicki*
- Belle’s Husband Matt Siadak
- Ignorance Andrew Guest/Jack Sanitate
- Want Grace Seyferth/Kayla Sharp
- Merchants James Busam, Dave Roy, Patrick Wehner
- Old Joe Phil Powers *
- Charwoman Judy Dery*
- Laundress Sara Catheryn Wolf*
- Undertaker Mark Rademacher*
- Londoners James Busam, Judy Dery*, Ian Douthitt, Zachary Jackson Garrett, Andrew Guest, Lucas Guest, Tobin Hissong*, Nicole Hollinsky, Jaclyn Holmes, Bella Ignagni, Rachel Jones, Collin Kilpatrick, Maxine Koos, Nathan Koss, Jean Lyle Lepard*, Robyn Lipnicki*, Georgia Mies, Madison Mies, Michele Peters, Phil Powers*, Mark Rademacher*, Blake Reno, Lizzie Rainville, Dave Roy, Ashley Rozanski, Jack Sanitate, Grace Seyferth, Maxwell Schein, Kayla Sharp, Matt Siadak, Graham Simpson, Diana Turner, Patrick Wehner, Sara Catheryn Wolf*, Caroline Wroblewski
*Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association
The Production Crew includes:
- Director and Stage Manager Terry W. Carpenter*
- Adaptation and Original Staging Charles Nolte
- Assistant Stage Manager Sarah Warren*
- Choral Director Jim Territo
- Choral Arrangements Caitlin Burke
- Dance Mistress Ann O’Brien
- Original Choreography Jan Puffer
- Dialect Coach Nancy Lipschultz
- Set Design Peter W. Hicks
- Lighting Design Reid G. Johnson
- Costume Design Mary Pettinato
- Sound Design Mike Duncan
This production of “A Christmas Carol” is made possible through the continued support of The Kresge Foundation, The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, and Extended Stay Hotels.
By the way, if you want to know what happens to Mr. Scrooge 15 years later, check out Tipping Point Theatre’s production of “Ebenezer.”