The Chatham Community Players bring some of Charles Dickens' most beloved characters to live in their biennial production of "A Christmas Carol" beginning Friday.
The musical by Philip Wm. McKinley and Suzanne Buhrer features the author, Dickens himself, as the narrator and a character in the play who guides the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge through a journey of discovery and wonder in Christmases past, present and future.
Chris Furlong, the executive producer for the Chatham Community Players, said the story has become a traditional holiday activity within northern New Jersey. "While the script remains true to the original story, the playwright also pulled from letters that Dickens wrote to family and friends," Furlong wrote in a press statement to Chatham Patch.
The play has been staged at the Chatham Playhouse every other year between 1988 and 1995, and every other year since. Furlong said over 30,000 people have come to see the show at the Chatham Playhouse since 1988.
Chris Curcio of Westfield is the musical director and Megan Ferentinos of Cranford is the choreographer. Jeffrey Fiorello of Montclair directs the 2012 production.
When Fiorello was growing up, his father would read the novel to him and his brothers. "I guess in his own way he was trying to do what the character of Dickens in McKinley’s version of 'Carol' is doing—that is, to educate us about the true meaning of Christmas and the care and concern for our fellow man,” Fiorello said.
The cast includes:
- Gordon Wiener of Bridgewater as Charles Dickens
- Alan Semok of Somerset as Ebenezer Scrooge
- Lucas Schultz of Warren as Tiny Tim
- Gus Ibranyi of Bloomfield as Bob Crachit
- Annie Reynolds of Bloomfield as Fan
- Jennifer Bogush of Westfield as Mrs. Cratchit
- Paul Salvatoriello of Jersey City as the Ghost of Christmas Present and Undertaker
- Paul Aiello of Jersey City as Marley, Mr Fezziwig and Pawnbroker
- Jaron Cole of Madison as Young Scrooge
- Pat Wry of Bernardsville as Charwoman
- Katie Shults of Glen Ridge as Ghost of Christmas Past and Martha Cratchit
- Brent Hartwell of Glen Ridge as Peter
- Samy Cordero of Glen Ridge as Belinda
- Gira Derise of Morris Plains as Belle and Emily
- Patrick Weaver of Linden as Gentleman 1, Nutley and Dick Wilkins
- Shannon Ludlum of Basking Ridge as Mrs. Fezziwig and Laundress
- Chip Prestera of Stirling as Fred
- Tessa Ferentinos of Cranford as Harriet
- Kristin Bennett of Montville as Scrooge's Niece
- James Ciccarelle of Summit as Ignorance and Baby Scrooge
- Mia Ciccarelle of Summit as Child Fezziwig
- Eila Francis of Springfield as Want
- Ava Ferentinos of Cranford as Child Fezziwig
- Jeffrey Gallup of Montville as Boy in the Street
- Jason Jackson of South Plainfield as Young Ebenezer and Ghost of Christmas Future
- Jackie Jacobi of Edison as Beatrice
Performance dates are 8 p.m. Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22, and 3 p.m. Dec. 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23. Tickets are $25 for adults and $23 for youths and seniors. Tickets can be purchased online up to three hours in advance of showtimes or by telephone at 973-635-7363. All performances are at the Chatham Playhouse.