Ebenezer returns for annual ‘Bah-humbug’ season greetings

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By Bob Evans

Thirty-eighth Annual Retelling of Kc Holiday Favorite –
Up next for
Kansas City Repertory Theatre
Charles Dickins’ “A Christmas Carol” Runs Nov. 16 – Dec. 30 at Spencer Theatre

Kansas City Repertory Theatre continues its 2018/19 season with a 38-year holiday tradition, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, running November 16 through December 30 at Spencer Theatre on the UMKC campus.

This year’s production features work by two members of KCRep’s extended family, with the adaptation by former Artistic Director, Eric Rosen, and Direction by Marissa Wolf, the recently-departed Associate Artistic Director and new Artistic Director at Portland Center Stage at The Armory in Portland, Oregon.

Last season, Rosen took the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his three ghostly visitors closer to the original text of Charles Dickins’ book. This season, Wolf will follow that adaptation while injecting her own personal take on the production, with all the joy and seasonal exuberance audiences have come to love. Well-known and beloved Kansas City actors Mark Robbins and Gary Neal Johnson return as Dickens and Scrooge respectively, along with the rest of the talented cast, to help Kansas City residents celebrate the 38th retelling of this production.

“I am thrilled to carry the torch for this gorgeous, beloved Kansas City tradition this season,” says Wolf. “I’m excited to bring a magical, lively, moving journey to life that will speak to audiences of all backgrounds and all ages.”

“A Christmas Carol” is a novella by Charles Dickens about Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old businessman, who is well-known for his ‘bah-humbug’ ways, especially around the Christmas holiday season.

On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by a series of ghosts, starting with his old business partner, Jacob Marley (Walter Coppage). The three spirits which follow, the Ghosts of Christmas Present (Shanna Jones), Christmas Past (Bree Elrod) and Christmas Yet to Come (Bradley Thomas), show Scrooge how his behavior has affected those around him. At the end of the story he is relieved to discover that there is still time for him to change and we see him transformed into a more generous and kind-hearted soul.

The almost entirely Kansas City-based cast for “A Christmas Carol” features the addition of a choir to bolster the holiday feeling and help move the story along. There’s nothing that says holiday tradition quite like “A Christmas Carol”, an inimitable Dickens tale of hope and redemption. KCRep’s 2018 production features more joyous music and dancing, breath-taking costumes, and a soaring set that has become the trademark of KCRep productions, including the return of the bright and joyful Candlelight Carol. Audiences will be transported back to the streets of Victorian London with Rosen’s adaptation under fresh, new direction from Ms. Wolf.

“I can’t imagine a better artistic partnership for this season’s production of “A Christmas Carol” than Eric Rosen and Marissa Wolf, explains KCRep’s interim artistic director Jason Chanos.”They have been working closely over the last few months to hone in on something moving and beautiful and I look forward to the culmination of their work together.”

The 2018 production of “A Christmas Carol” features the following cast:
Gary Neal Johnson as Scrooge, Mark Robbins as Dickens, Walter Coppage as Marley, Bree Elrod as Christmas Past, Shanna Jones as Christmas Present, Bradley Thomas as Christmas Yet-to-Come/Dick Wilkins, Logan Black as Bob Cratchit, Nicole Marie Green as Mrs. Cratchit, Sam Cordes as Fred/Young Ebenezer, Brianna Woods as Mrs. Fred/Belle, John Rensenhouse as Fezziwig/Old Joe, Peggy Friesen as Mrs. Fezziwig/Harp, Lauren Braton (Quartet, Soprano), Alison Jones (Quartet, Alto), Joseph Carr (Quartet, Tenor), John-Michael Zuerlein (Quartet, Bass), Cheryl Weaver as Charwoman, Ashley Wheat (ensemble), Khalif Gillett as Topper, Marianne McKenzie as Laundress, Jason Francescon as Undertaker, Freddy Acavedo (ensemble), Jonathan Schriock (violin), and Mike Prucha (reeds). There are also two youth ensembles of twelve actors each that alternate performances throughout the production.

The creative team for the production consists of Marissa Wolf, Director; John Ezell, Scenic Design; Stella Tag, Costume Design; Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason Thompson, Lighting and Projections Design, Joshua Horvath, Sound Design; Anthony Edwards, Music Director, Rufus Burns, Assistant Director, and Jonathan Schriock, Assistant Music Director. Sadie DeSantis serves as the Production Stage Manager.

Lead sponsors for the KCRep production of “A Christmas Carol” are US Bank; Hall Family Foundation, KCRep’s Literary Series Sponsor; and H&R Block, KCRep’s Education Fund Matching Challenge Donor. This project is supported by an award from the City of Kansas City, MO Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund. KCRep is underwritten in part by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets for “A Christmas Carol” start at $38 and may be purchased by visiting http://kcrep.org/show/ACC or by calling the KCRep box office at 816-235-2700. Groups of nine or more receive discounted tickets by calling Andrew at 816-235-6122.

2018/19 season continues at Kansas City Repertory Theatre

“A Christmas Carol”
Written by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Eric Rosen
Directed by Marissa Wolf
November 16 – December 30, 2018

Indecent
Written by Paula Vogel
Directed by Eric Rosen
A Co-production with Arena Stage and Baltimore Center Stage
January 18 – February 10, 2019

School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play
Written by Jocelyn Bioh
Directed by Chip Miller
February 22 – March 17, 2019

Pride and Prejudice
Written by Kate Hammill
Based on the Novel by Jane Austen
Directed by Marissa Wolf
March 22 – April 14, 2019

OriginKC: New Works Festival – Rotating Repertory
Both at the Copaken Stage
April 19 – May 19, 2019

FRIDA: A Self Portrait
Written by Vanessa Severo
Directed by Joanie Schultz

Unreliable
Written by Dipika Guha
Directed by TBD

Image courtesy of KC Rep

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