- When a story continues to attract an audience after 170
years, when a story has been converted into a stage play,
several film versions, a musical and even a few spoofs, it
definitely has proven its continued popularity.
Milwaukee Rep’s annual presentation of “A Christmas
Carol” is still drawing many patrons in its 38th year
running, so it’s obvious that Charles Dickens’ classic
tale of greed and redemption still moves us.
production itself is stunning, involving a plethora of actors,
directors of music and choreography, scenic designers,
costumers, lighting and sound designers, casting and dialect
coaches. More than 35 actors, some playing multiple roles,
comprise the large cast that also includes 19 children.
quite amazing when one sees how the whole production comes
together and always seems to proceed in seamless fashion.
Director Aaron Posner had a massive challenge with a
show of this proportion, but he managed to somehow pull it off
familiar faces dot the landscape here - Jonathan Smoots, James
Pickering, Emily Trask, Jonathan Wainwright, Melody Betts,
Marti Gobel, Renata Friedman and Luigi Sottile. Some new faces
include Beth Mulkerron and Michael Doherty, both of whom
appeared recently in “Ragtime.”
Donahue returns in the key role as Scrooge. He again delivers
the iconic character with a nice mix of angst and humor. It is
a joy to witness his gradual transformation from a crotchety
miser to a man with fresh insights and determined resolve.
of redemption echoes through the years. Humans are certainly
capable of greed, pettiness and selfishness, but they are also
capable of love, forgiveness and hope.
We’ve probably all been somewhere on the continuum
many times in our lives. We’ve all made mistakes,
experienced regret and tried to change. If we are honest with
ourselves, we can relate to the Scrooges, the Freds and the
Bob Cratchits of the world.
We also can empathize with Belle as she experiences
rejection and neglect when young Scrooge chooses ambition over
love. Many of us have also been concerned about the health of
a given child, such as the endearing Tiny Tim.
is much to derive from this story over and over again. It
gives us the opportunity to engage in our own life review.
We need reminding sometimes to look inward, and when
that reminding is told with such splendid music, such
masterful acting against such a colorful backdrop, we gain
much more than we would from merely reading the story.
Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens and adapted by Joseph
Hanreddy and Edward Morgan, runs through Dec. 24 in the
sumptuous Pabst Theater at 144 E. Wells St., Milwaukee. Call
414-224-9490 for show tickets and performance times.