A Sneek Peek at Rehearsals for A Christmas Carol
With a week to go until opening night, the cast and crew are hard at work putting together this unique show performed in a unique way!
The cast and crew are hard at work preparing for a truly unique experience. Our July show, A Christmas Carol: A 1940s Radio Show, is not like the flashy Broadway musicals or even the typical straight-play format that our audiences are used to. This ensemble cast of five has the challenge of transforming into a multitude of characters before your eyes--or, more specifically, ears!
Before TVs had shown up in every American household, families used to gather around the radio after dinner to hear plays performed by voice actors, augmented with sound effects and music to give a truly immersive, emotional experience. And that's what our audiences will get to witness on the stage of the Wagner Family Pavilion on July 16, 17, and 18!
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Rick Love and Nicole Astra (left) laugh together at the expense of the miserly Scrooge, played by Don Gingold (right). Photo credit: Christopher Corrigan
The story is one we've all heard: old Mr. Scrooge, selfish and unfeeling, thinks Christmas is a "humbug." His employee, Bob Cratchit, and his nephew Fred, try everything they can to help him enjoy the spirit of Christmas, but it isn't until Scrooge is visited by three mysterious otherworldly beings that he begins to understand the toll his miserly life has taken on his happiness and his legacy.
In our version, though, adapted by the play's director, Christopher Corrigan, Scrooge is the owner of a 1940s Chicago newspaper. Corrigan brings the action forward to an era of industry where Scrooge fits right in, and the undertones of uncertainty, distrust, and the overwhelming need for community after the atrocities experienced during the Second World War give this nostalgic tale a unique and poignant spin.
What do an electric keyboard and some china dishes have in common? In this show, they're all musical instruments! Photo credit: Christopher Corrigan
To immerse the audience in the world of the play, it was the job of the Foley artist and the studio musicians to create ambiance. When a character opens a door, walks down a hall, and sits down to eat dinner on china and silver, the Foley artist provides the sound of the creaking hinge, the tapping shoes, and the clinking tableware--live! That's why our Foley artist, Emma Hughes, is really the sixth member of the cast.
Foley artist Emma Hughes prepares to use one of her props to create a sound effect for Don Gingold as Scrooge. Photo credit: Christopher Corrigan
Another important aspect of the soundscape is provided by the studio pianist, who manipulates the audience's emotions and expectations by underscoring important moments. If you can picture the scene in an old Western movie when the villain enters the saloon and the audience knows at once that he's bad news, there's always an abrupt music change. That's Kevin McOlgan's job! He creates the mood of the scene, fills interludes, and will maybe even accompany a carol singalong or two!
Pianist Kevin McOlgan waits for his cue while (from left) Justin Cooper, Isabella Chinnici, and Don Gingold rehearse a scene. Photo credit: Christopher Corrigan
With so many moving parts, such a unique interpretation of a beloved story, and such talent all over the stage, A Christmas Carol is not to be missed! Join us next weekend as we celebrate Christmas in July--think of it as a holiday do-over, now that 2020 is in the rearview!
Performances will be live outdoors at the Wagner Family Pavilion of 95th Street Community Plaza on July 16, 17, and 18 at 7pm. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets--and maybe your Santa hat and reindeer antlers!
Tickets start at only $15. Skip the line at the Box Office and buy in advance right now!