Last year, Randall Theatre presented its production of "Scrooge: A Magical Musical" to full houses throughout its December run.
"I chose to do the production again because it's a classic story for this time of year," says artistic director Robin Downward. "Ballet companies do 'The Nutcracker,' symphonies and choirs do Handel's 'Messiah' and we do 'Scrooge.' It's a story that everyone knows, with characters that people can identify with. It's a story of redemption. A story of someone being changed for the better."
The show kicks off Thursday, Dec. 12, with an opening-night gala that includes dinner and drinks at 7 p.m. and the show at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Dinner will include red-onion tarts, pasta with chicken, basil and peppers, steamed vegetables and green salad, along with white truffles and cheesecake with cherries for dessert.
What: "Scrooge: A Magical Musical"
When: An opening-night gala includes dinner and drinks at 7 p.m. and the show at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Other shows are set for 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 13-14 and 20-21, Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 23-24, and Friday, Dec. 27. Matinees are set for 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 14-15 and 21-22, Tuesday, Dec. 24, and Saturday, Dec. 28.
Where: Randall Theatre, 10 Third St., Medford
Tickets: Reserved seats cost $15 in advance; pay-what-you-want tickets will be available 30 minutes before shows.
Call: 541-632-3258 or see www.randalltheatre.com
Other shows are set for 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 13-14 and 20-21, Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 23-24, and Friday, Dec. 27. Matinees are set for 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 14-15 and 21-22, Tuesday, Dec. 24, and Saturday, Dec. 28. Reserved tickets cost $15 and can be purchased online at www.randalltheatre.com or by calling 541-632-3258. Pay-what-you-want tickets will be available at the door 30 minutes before showtimes. Randall Theatre is at 10 Third St., Medford.
The community theater also is an official drop point for the United States Marines' Toys for Tots campaign. Those who bring new, unopened toys to any performance of "Scrooge" will receive a free concession item.
Based on the 1970 musical film "Scrooge" starring Albert Finney, the stage production includes all of the heart, humor and high-energy musical numbers that audiences enjoy. With book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, it closely follows the story of the screenplay. Bricusse was nominated for an Oscar for the song score he wrote for the film, and most of the songs were carried over to the musical.
"In directing the show, I've made the musical numbers bright and energetic while keeping the character of the original story," Downward says.
"It's set in a time when there was great poverty and great wealth — quite similar to today's times. Bob Cratchit always is just one small step away from being fired and thus homeless. The next step for him and his family would be the poor house with his children sent off to the workhouses."
Downward plays Ebeneezer Scrooge, Robert Brazeau plays family man Cratchit and Jon Oles plays Tom Jenkins. Musical direction is by Brian Alec Thom, and choreography is by Deborah Downward. Other roles include Tiny Tim and the familiar ghosts that live in the world of the Dickens classic.
When Scrooge is visited on Christmas Eve by the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley, he is offered a final chance to turn his life around and make things right. The kindly Ghost of Christmas Past, the ever-jovial Ghost of Christmas Present and the sinister Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come are his guides. Along the way, Scrooge realizes where his life went wrong.
"With so many versions of 'A Christmas Carol' and 'Scrooge,' I've noticed that many actors go with a stereotypical version of the character. They play him as a crotchety old man, a comical fellow. I'm going to play him as a human being. He didn't choose to live the way he does. It's his life experiences that have left him bitter and alone. His anger is a shield to hide his loss. He pursues wealth to make up for the life he cheated himself out of. But his wealth is more of an addiction. It has no other purpose than to disguise his pain."
That being said, all of the fun and whimsy people would expect from this musical is still there — comical moments, wonderful dance sequences, fantastic musical numbers and hearfelt solos, Downward says.