- The Lake Country Playhouse opened its musical version of
Charles Dickens’ famous work “A Christmas Carol” last
weekend, and the house was full for the Saturday show. People
never seem to tire of this story, especially now that music is
often embellishing many new versions of the drama.
2004, Archangel Productions had its first showing of the
adaptation by Michael Koscinski and Ernest Brusubardis. It was
performed at Oconomowoc Middle School and was followed by
successful performances at the Sharon Wilson Center and Mount
Mary College. It is gratifying to see this lovely work
unearthed again. It is a perfect vehicle for a community
theater because of its large cast and its shortened length of
designers Ron Ehlrich and Verne Thieme have created a flexible
backdrop that is easily converted to indoor and outdoor
scenes. Costume designer Katie Davis, with her coterie of
helpers, brings us back to the mid-19th century. Scrooge’s
nightwear is especially eye-catching.
all know the story, so here are the highlights of this
particular production. Scrooge is especially well- rendered by
Rich Richter. Richter, with his dashing good looks, usually
plays romantic leads, but in this role, he had to transform
himself physically and mentally. He did so with nuance and
when he sang his song near the end, filled with regret and a
determination to change, he conveyed both his rigidity and his
vulnerability. From start to finish, he is fantastic. There
are many scenes in the play when he has no lines and is just
observing. He is very facially reactive as he encounters a
life review via his four nocturnal visitors.
Past, played by Erica Edquist, mesmerizes us with her beauty
and her astounding voice. Christmas Present gets some laughs
via Mike Crowley’s gyrations. An agonizing portrayal of poor
Jacob Marley is convincingly delivered by Scott Stenstrup. His
moans are chilling.
enjoyed Deb Lemke’s Mrs. Shelby, too. She and Richard Levine
do a memorable job of gloating over Scrooge’s “effects.”
Roseann Fasi is a very tender Mrs. Cratchit, but she shows
some spunk, as well. Her sweet song to Tiny Tim, though a bit
out of her range, was very moving. Aaron Bronner as Tiny Tim
certainly steals our hearts. Bob Hurd plays Bob Cratchit as a
mincing pushover but a lovable husband and father.
Gross as Fred, the faithful nephew that never gives up, takes
the stage with strength, and the two solicitors, Richard
Levine and Katie Wilke, play their cameo roles well.
Cratchit children, represented by Hannah Bonner, Julia Gesell
and Evan McKenzie, enact their small parts with fervor. We
love their little family.
Schmidt needs to react more when his fiancˇe Belle is leaving
him. That whole scene should be wrenching since it is such a
turning point in Scrooge’s life. The ensemble numbers are a
bit ragged, but melodious, nonetheless.
it was evident that the audience enjoyed the experience. A
little 7-year-old sitting in front of me said when the show
was over, “I want them to do it again.” High praise from
one so young.
directed by Karen E. Kruger with the musical expertise of
Catherine Pfeiler to assist her, the show runs two more
your local theater. You’ve got a good one in the Lake
Christmas Carol” continues weekends through Dec. 16 at the
Lake Country Playhouse, 221 E. Capitol Drive, Hartland. For
show times and tickets, call 367-4697 or visit www.lakecountryplayhouse.net