A CHRISTMAS CAROL, PRESENTED BY U.S. BANK, CELEBRATES 25 YEARS
OF HOLIDAY SPIRITS AT CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE IN THE PARK,
NOV. 25 – DEC. 30, 2015
Ebenezer Scrooge (Bruce Cromer) celebrates his renewed holiday spirit . Photo by Sandy Underwood.
(CINCINNATI) — The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s joyous, time-honored celebration of the true spirit of the holidays achieves the quarter-century mark this season as U.S. Bank presents Charles Dickens’ iconic story A CHRISTMAS CAROL. The beloved tale, enjoyed each season by multiple generations of Cincinnatians, will be performed for its 25th year in the Playhouse’s Robert S. Marx Theatre from Nov. 25 through Dec. 30.
Dickens, considered to be one of the greatest writers of all time, wrote the instantly successful A CHRISTMAS CAROL in 1843. His most popular work among a prolific output of classics, A CHRISTMAS CAROL is credited for revitalizing the celebration of Christmas as we know it today. So renowned is the story in popular culture that “Scrooge” has become a synonym for a mean, tight-fisted person. A CHRISTMAS CAROL has also inspired countless television, film and stage adaptations, from classic interpretations to contemporary and even cartoon versions.
The Playhouse’s version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, adapted by Howard Dallin, brings Dickens’ narrative to vivid life with spectacular effects that illuminate Ebenezer Scrooge’s time-traversing pilgrimage with the spirits one magical Christmas Eve. From his kind-hearted sister Fan and first love Belle to his generous employer Fezziwig and humble clerk Bob Cratchit, Scrooge is repeatedly shown the saving grace of love and concern for humanity. The heartwarming message of A CHRISTMAS CAROL helps to make it one of the Playhouse’s most popular productions each season and a perfect way to introduce children to the joys of theatre.
The cast of the 25th anniversary production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL features a mix of new and familiar actors. Bruce Cromer, the longest-tenured of the four actors who have filled Ebenezer Scrooge’s miserly shoes, returns to the role for the 11th time this season. (Cromer previously portrayed long-suffering clerk Bob Cratchit for eight years.) Also returning are Avery Clark as Young and Mature Scrooge/Ghost of Christmas Future, Craig Wesley Divino as Fred, Joy Farmer-Clary as Belle/Catherine Margaret, Annie Fitzpatrick as Mrs. Fezziwig/Patience, Ryan Wesley Gilreath as Bob Cratchit/Schoolmaster Oxlip, Kelly Mengelkoch as Mrs. Cratchit/Laundress, Gregory Procaccino as Jacob Marley/Old Joe, Douglas Rees as Mr. Fezziwig/Ghost of Christmas Present, Nick Rose as Mr. Cupp/Percy/Rich Man at Fezziwig’s and Stephen Skiles as Mr. Sosser/Topper/Man with Shoe Shine/Guest at Fezziwig’s. New to A CHRISTMAS CAROL this season is Cincinnati native Kathleen Wise, who is making her Playhouse debut as Ghost of Christmas Past/Mrs. Peake.
Members of the Playhouse’s Bruce E. Coyle Acting Intern Company — Law Dunford, Kyle Powell, Serena Ryen, Robert Carlton Stimmel, Erin Ward, Renika Williams and Lilian Wouters — will play carolers, party guests and others.
Nine Tristate children also appear in A CHRISTMAS CAROL; this season, six new actors join the three veteran junior cast members. Returning are Nathan E. Goodlett as George/Charles/Apprentice at Fezziwig’s, Livvy Stubenrauch as Fan/Guest at Fezziwig’s and Ethan Verderber as Peter Cratchit/Gregory/Apprentice at Fezziwig’s. New to the production this year are Ella Gallagan as Belinda Cratchit/Guest at Fezziwig’s, Ari Elizabeth Johnson as Want/Guest at Fezziwig’s, Aidan McCracken as Ignorance/Matthew/Rich Son at Fezziwig’s, Ashley Taylor as Martha Cratchit/Guest at Fezziwig’s, Austin Vaughan as Boy Scrooge/Guest at Fezziwig’s/Bootblack and Henry Charles Weghorst as Tiny Tim.
“It is a recurring joy to bring Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL to life every holiday season,” says Michael Evan Haney, who is directing the production for the 23rd time. (Haney has been associated with A CHRISTMAS CAROL since 1991, its first year. He played the first Bob Cratchit for two seasons.) “I love watching the children filing into the Playhouse dressed in their holiday finery to experience this play for the very first time. I feel proud that this production has become a tradition for so many Cincinnati families.”
In addition to Haney, the creative team for A CHRISTMAS CAROL includes James Leonard Joy (set designer), David Murin (costume designer), Kirk Bookman (lighting designer), David B. Smith (sound designer/composer), Steve O’Shea (lighting contractor), Cindy Witherspoon (costume coordinator), Rebecca N. Childs (music director) and Dee Anne Bryll (choreographer). The stage manager is Andrea L. Shell, and second stage managers are Brooke Redler and Jenifer Morrow.
The production is presented by U.S. Bank. The design sponsor is American Modern Insurance Group. Artist sponsor/Ebenezer Scrooge is AAA and Provident Travel, and artist sponsor/Tiny Tim is Skidmore Sales and Distributing. Additional support is provided by The Stona Fitch Family.
All show times for A CHRISTMAS CAROL are at 2 p.m. for matinees and 7 p.m. for evening performances to accommodate families with children. Please note the earlier curtain time. There will be no performances on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and selected weekdays in early December. There is an added performance on Monday, Dec. 28.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL is suitable for all general audiences, including children ages 5 and older. Due to the full-length nature of the show, children younger than 5 cannot be admitted.
Tickets for A CHRISTMAS CAROL start at $40. Prices are subject to change, and patrons are encouraged to buy early for the best seats at the best prices. Tickets for children, teenagers and students are $30 and $45. Tickets for the public preview, which will be performed at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, begin at $35. The official opening night is at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27.
The production will be audio described for those with visual impairments at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, and signed for persons with hearing impairments at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6. The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs and complete wheelchair access are available.
Tickets for A CHRISTMAS CAROL are on sale now. For ticket information, call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888 (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visit www.cincyplay.com. Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.
For the 20th year, the Playhouse will partner with the University of Cincinnati’s Hoxworth Blood Center for a blood drive on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Blood donors who attend the special event will receive vouchers good for half-price tickets to select performances of A CHRISTMAS CAROL and NATIVE GARDENS. To schedule an appointment, visit www.hoxworth.org/groups/playhouse. Donation times are limited, so donors are strongly encouraged to make an appointment in advance. Questions may be directed to Hoxworth at 513-451-0910.
Spread the joy this holiday season by participating in the Playhouse’s Cratchit Family Food Drive for the Freestore Foodbank. Bring donations of non-perishable food or personal care items (no glass, please) to the Playhouse during performances in November and December and place them in barrels located near the Box Office.
Characters from A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s holiday production of CINDERELLA, Cincinnati Ballet’s FRISCH’S PRESENTS THE NUTCRACKER and The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s production of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS will be spreading the holiday spirit at festive events throughout the Tristate this season. For a listing of events, visit www.cincyplay.com.
Club Carol, a new program this year in celebration of the 25th anniversary of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, provides behind-the-scenes access to the production with donations starting at $100. Benefit details are available on the Playhouse website.
The 2015-16 Marx Theatre Series is presented by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation, and the Robert S. Marx season design sponsor is Macy’s. The season sponsor of new work is The Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation.
The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of the community contributors to the ArtsWave campaign.
The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation.