- Many theaters have Christmas traditions. The Lake Country
Playhouse is repeating Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas
Carol” because it was such a hit last year.
is a musical version by Michael Koscinski and Ernest
Brusubardis, which was first performed in 2004 at Oconomowoc
Middle School, followed by subsequent productions at the
Sharon Lynne Wilson Center in Brookfield and Mount Mary
College in Wauwatosa. It is gratifying to see and hear this
lovely version alive again on another stage in this area.
Richter has reprised his role as Scrooge, and well he should
since his re-creation of this iconic character is so
compelling. The transformation is complete.
handsome actor, who has often played romantic leads, many in
musicals, has immersed himself in this role as the selfish,
greedy curmudgeon, who is given another chance in life after
being visited by his dead partner, Jacob Marley, who warns him
that he will suffer the consequences if he continues to lead
the life he is leading. Paul Weir is a scary Jacob.
then encounters Christmas Past (Emma Estenson), where he has a
chance to watch himself in his youth making some of the
decisions he made, one of which was to make as much money as
he could, whatever the ethical ramifications. He also meets up
again with Belle (beautifully played by Jamie Nyland), whom he
loved, but who eventually left him when she realized that he
was more in love with money than he was with her.
Present (Mike Crowley) takes Scrooge to scenes of merriment
and celebration, featuring the Crachit family gathering, the
and the home of his nephew Fred (Bryan Noll) and his wife.
Scrooge begins to realize his alienation from all his
relatives and friends, all because of some of his life
is good at recording some of these realizations and
communicating them through his body language.
the time Christmas To Come arrives, Scrooge is full of regret
and fear. He vows that he will change before it is too late.
This transformation, beginning with his reaction when his
housekeeper Mrs. Shelby enters his room on Christmas morning,
lightens the mood in the story. Love and joy begin to radiate
from this man who has been frozen in his greed and solitude
the large ensemble, delivered. Twenty actors had speaking
roles and 11 more added their voices as townspeople.
Standouts in the cast include Richter; Nyland, who
plays both Belle and Catherine, Fred’s wife; and Bryan Noll,
who plays Scrooge’s persistent nephew Fred. Old Joe,
humorously rendered by Richard Levine, had a jolly time
gloating over Scrooge’s “effects” with Mrs. Shelby after
his imagined death.
the music, the acting, the costumes, coordinated by Rosanne
Fasi, the choregraphy by Jamie Mastrocolo, set design and
construction by Verne Thieme and Ron Erhrich - all combine to
offer us a heartfelt experience. Bob Hurd directed with the
help of Barb Christensen and Cathy Pfieler.
is a cadre of faithful artists and workers that combine their
talents at the Lake Country Playhouse with an impressive
degree of dedication, which accounts for the fine productions
put out at that small community theater. The musical runs one
Christmas Carol” runs through Sunday at the Lake Country
Playhouse, 221 E. Capitol Drive, Hartland. Show times are 7:30
p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and
Sunday. For tickets, call 367-4697 or visit www.lakecounryplayhouse.net