Theater Review – Holiday magic in LTAs A Christmas Carol

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Twas the night before Christmas back in 1843, when the world was first introduced to Ebenezer Scrooge in the immortal Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, now playing for a limited time at The Little Theatre of Alexandria.

In the enduring tale, the wealthy but cantankerous Scrooge despises the Christmas spirit, dismissing everyone around him with a surly Bah, Humbug!

But on Christmas Eve, he is haunted by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns Scrooge that if he continues to live so selfishly, he will be condemned to spending eternity wearing the chains of his greed.

Scrooge is then visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future, and is taken on a journey through time that changes his life.

Both frightened and inspired by the visions he has seen, Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning with a changed heart and a pledge to share the spirit and generosity of Christmas throughout the year.

In the legendary role of Scrooge is John Barclay Burns, whose every nuance captivates the audience in his transformation from bitter and miserly businessman to compassionate benefactor.

Burns is able to balance the mean-spirited Scrooge with a tenderness that leaves the audience, especially the children, fully believing in the magical powers of the holiday season.

Making his debut at LTA is John Baer as Scrooges perennially cheerful nephew Fred, who invites his uncle to Christmas dinner every year despite constant rejection. Baer is as effortless in the optimism and merriness of his role as Burns is in the cynicism of Scrooge.

The talented Michael J. Fisher plays Scrooges underpaid but loyal clerk Bob Cratchit, whose frail, disabled son Tiny Tim helps ignite the transformation of Scrooge.

Other key roles include Rachel Hubbard as The Ghost of Christmas Past and Heather Sanderson as The Ghost of Christmas Present. Both are gifted actresses whose characters are particularly mesmerizing to younger audiences.

Theater veteran Ron Cork skillfully directs this abridged version of the Christmas classic, which runs just under one hour without an intermission.

Especially impressive are the costumes by Chelsea Cook and set design by John Downing, which brings 19th-century London to life under the visionary style of producers Carol Strachan and Laurel Summerfield.

Dickens called his story A Christmas Carol because he had hoped it would spread joy and bring people together throughout the Christmas
season. LTA honors that wish and delivers a warm, delightful, family-friendly evening with a timeless tale that appeals to young and old alike.

All tickets to this heart-warming production are $10, making it the perfect way to kick off the holiday season with family and friends. The LTA staging of A Christmas Carol has become a treasured part of Alexandrias holiday festivities and one that should be made a part of everyones annual family tradition.

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