(CINCINNATI) — The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s joyous, time-honored celebration of the true meaning of the holidays, a tradition enjoyed by multiple generations of Cincinnatians each year, returns for its 26th season as U.S. Bank presents Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL. The beloved, iconic story will be performed Nov. 23 through Dec. 31 in the Playhouse’s Robert S. Marx Theatre.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL, an immediate hit when Dickens wrote it in 1843, is often credited for revitalizing the celebration of Christmas as we know it today. The renowned tale is so imbedded in popular culture that “Scrooge” is universally recognized as 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 — that share the heartwarming truth of Dickens’ most popular work among a prolific output of classics.
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 timeless 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 26th annual production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL features a mix of new and familiar actors. Bruce Cromer returns to fill Ebenezer Scrooge’s miserly shoes for the 12th time this season, the longest run among the four actors who have played the role in the Playhouse’s production. (Cromer previously portrayed long-suffering clerk Bob Cratchit for eight years.) Also returning are Craig Wesley Divino as Fred, Annie Fitzpatrick as Mrs. Fezziwig/Patience, Ryan Wesley Gilreath as Bob Cratchit/Schoolmaster Oxlip, Kelly Mengelkoch as Mrs. Cratchit/Laundress at Fezziwig’s, 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, Stephen Skiles as Mr. Sosser/Topper/Man with Shoe Shine/Guest at Fezziwig’s and Kathleen Wise as Ghost of Christmas Past/Mrs. Peake. New to A CHRISTMAS CAROL this season and making their Playhouse debuts are Sara Masterson as Belle/Catherine Margaret and John Skelley as Young and Mature Scrooge/Ghost of Christmas Future.
Members of the Playhouse’s Bruce E. Coyle Acting Intern Company — Richard Buchanan, George Bull, Ernaisja Curry, Candice Handy, Tatum Hunter, Taha Mandviwala and Koray Tarhan — will play carolers, party guests and others.
Nine Tristate children also appear in A CHRISTMAS CAROL. This season, one new junior cast member will join eight veterans of the production. Returning are Ella Faith Gallagan as Belinda Cratchit/Guest at Fezziwig’s, Ari Elizabeth Johnson as Want/Guest at Fezziwig’s, Aidan McCracken as Peter Cratchit/Gregory/Apprentice at Fezziwig’s, Ty Joseph Shelton as Ignorance/Matthew/Rich Son at Fezziwig’s, Livvy Stubenrauch as Fan/Guest 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. New to A CHRISTMAS CAROL this year is Sabian George Swan as George/Charles/Apprentice at Fezziwig’s.
“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 24th time. (Haney has been associated with A CHRISTMAS CAROL since its debut in 1991, playing Bob Cratchit for the first two seasons.) “Cincinnati has enthusiastically embraced this production and many have made it a family tradition. Seeing the faces of the children entering the theatre and getting their first glimpse of the set, hearing their squeals at Marley’s entrance and their laughter as Scrooge enjoys his redemptive metamorphosis — these moments sweeten my holiday season like nothing else.”
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 manager/assistant stage manager is Brooke Redler.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL is presented by U.S. Bank. The design sponsor and artist sponsor/Ghosts is Ohio National Financial Services. Artist sponsor/Ebenezer Scrooge is AAA and Provident Travel, artist sponsor/Tiny Tim is Skidmore Sales and Distributing and artist sponsor/Bob Cratchit is Bahl & Gaynor Inc.
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. 26.
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. 23, begin at $35. The official opening night is at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL will be audio described for those with visual impairments at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, and signed for persons with hearing impairments at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs and complete wheelchair access are available.
For the 21st year, the Playhouse will partner with the University of Cincinnati’s Hoxworth Blood Center for a blood drive on Saturday, Nov. 19, 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 LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. To schedule an appointment, visit www.hoxworth.org/groups/playhouse. Because donation times are limited, 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: AFTER EVER AFTER, Cincinnati Ballet’s FRISCH’S PRESENTS THE NUTCRACKER and The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s production of ELF THE MUSICAL JR. will be spreading the holiday spirit at festive events throughout the Tristate this season. For a listing of events, visit www.cincyplay.com.
Tickets to A CHRISTMAS CAROL are on sale now. For more 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.
The 2016-17 Robert S. Marx Theatre season is presented by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation, and Macy’s is the Robert S. Marx Theatre season design sponsor. The season sponsor of new work is the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation.
The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of more than 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community 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.