As I was walking to my car after the show a mother was talking with her young daughter about A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Mom said, “That one guy was dead, see . . .” and her daughter said, “He was bad but then he turned good after the ghosts showed him what was wrong.”
And with that brief synposis, this seven-year-old girl captured the two-hours and five minutes of the show at its essence. What a joyful experience it must be to see this production for the first time and through such young eyes. This is my fourth or fifth time seeing the delightful Bruce Cromer command the stage as Ebenezer Scrooge, and each time I marvel at his physicality. The nimbleness of his movements around the stage is impressive, but even moreso is the enthusiasm he brings to the redemption of this iconic character.
The cast is steady; most of them have done this for years. New this year, though, are Avery Clark (“Young Scrooge”) and Kathleen Wise (“Ghost of Christmas Past,” “Mrs. Peake”). Clark’s emotional breakup with Belle towards the end of Act One got me in ways it never has before. Wise, stepping into the formidable shoes of Dale Hodges, brings a wide-eyed, younger take to both of her characters and I was impressed.
Michael Evan Haney has once again directed a beautiful, enthusiastic, and just-spooky-enough production. The technology used in this show still impresses every year and its fun to look for the nuances and changes from year to year.
If you’ve never seen A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Playhouse, I strongly suggest you see it this year. Twenty-five years later, it just keeps getting stronger and strong. It’s a family tradition that you’ll want to keep year after year.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL runs through December 30th at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Tickets and information can be found here.