Alumnus, philanthropist and Life Trustee Daniel D’Aniello ’68, H’20 was recently celebrated by the city of Florence, Italy, for his dedication to the city and his support of the Syracuse Abroad program in Florence. In a ceremony hosted by the…
‘A Christmas Carol’ Returns to Syracuse Stage, Reimagined as a Music-Filled Celebration Featuring the Magical 2 Ring Circus
Syracuse Stage, in association with the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Department of Drama, continues Syracuse Stage’s 50th Anniversary season—and the tradition of heart-warming, family-friendly holiday shows—with “A Christmas Carol,” the classic novel by Charles Dickens, here adapted by Richard Hellesen, with music by David de Berry, and orchestrations by Gregg Coffin.
The production runs Nov. 24 to Dec. 31 in the Archbold Theatre at Syracuse Stage, 820 E. Genesee St., Syracuse.
Melissa Rain Anderson, who dazzled audiences last season with “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” returns to direct this co-production of “A Christmas Carol,” along with music director Brian Cimmet, choreographer Andrea Leigh-Smith and New York City-based 2 Ring Circus, together taking this timeless tale to new heights.
“This is absolutely my favorite adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol,’” says Anderson. “There is so much heart and joy woven into this classic holiday ghost story, and 2 Ring Circus’ work blends seamlessly into the production, using historic Victorian clowns and acrobatic lamplighters, as well as phantoms and ghosts that fly above the action and above the audience.”
Featuring a cast of over three dozen performers, “A Christmas Carol” joins seasoned pros from across the country with students from the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Department of Drama and local young actors making their Syracuse Stage debuts in a music-filled spectacle that charts Ebenezer Scrooge’s soul-searching holiday sojourn, with help from a host of otherworldly spirits.
The production team, many returning from last year’s “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” includes Kimberly Powers (scenic design), David Kay Mickelsen (costume design), Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz (lighting design), Jacqueline R. Herter (sound design), Ryan Moller (wig design) and Blake Segal (dialect coach).
Anderson adds, “Kim Powers’ scenic design allows the audience inside our magical world with steps leading out into the aisles, giving an immersive feel to the evening. We are grateful to share the true spirit of the holidays with the ultimate story of redemption, kindness, generosity and love.”
“We’re thrilled to create this all-new production of the quintessential holiday classic for our 50th season,” says Bob Hupp, artistic director. “This one has something for everyone; it’s a treat for young and old alike.”
With scores of memorable characters and iconic moments, Hellesen’s adaptation retains the playful, joyous and sometimes ominous tone of Dickens’ source material, while sprinkling in mesmerizing theatrical flair and spirited holiday songs like “Home at Christmastide” and “Wassail.”
“I love this particular adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol’ because it’s wonderfully faithful to Dickens’ novella and it brings to life the celebratory flavor of the season,” adds Hupp. “It’s also visually spectacular, which is something we’ve come to expect from this visionary creative team. It’s the perfect holiday celebration.”
Published in 1843 just days before Christmas, Dickens’ tale of generosity’s triumph over greed became an instant hit and is often credited with revitalizing the holiday tradition in England and the United States. “A Christmas Carol: In Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas” has since been adapted countless times for the stage and screen and continues to be a touchstone of popular culture today; Scrooge’s emphatic “Bah, humbug,” and Tiny Tim’s declaration of “God Bless us, everyone,” are phrases known the world over.
Charles Dickens, widely considered amongst the greatest writers of English literature, authored some 15 novels, including “Oliver Twist,” “Great Expectations,” “The Pickwick Papers” and “A Tale of Two Cities.” He died in 1870, at the age of 58, and is buried at Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey in London, England.
All evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. while all matinee performances begin at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $40 with discounts available for students and groups. Tickets may be purchased online at SyracuseStage.org, by phone at 315.443.3275 or in person at the Syracuse Stage Box Office.
Pay-What-You-Will performances for “A Christmas Carol” are Nov. 29 to Dec. 3 inclusive; prologue conversations, three pre-show discussions that take place one-hour before curtain time on Dec. 3, 9 and 14; the post-show talkback will take place on Sunday, Dec. 3, after the 7:30 performance. Syracuse Stage has its open-captioned performances scheduled for Dec. 6 and 17 at 2 p.m. and Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m., as well as an audio-described performance on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m.
In addition, Syracuse Stage will have a Spanish language open-captioned performance of “A Christmas Carol” scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 30, at 7:30 p.m. With a translation commissioned from Claudia Quesada, this one-night only event is the first time Syracuse Stage has offered this Spanish language option for the Central New York Community.
A special sensory friendly and open captioned performance is scheduled for Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. The sensory friendly performance provides a welcoming environment that lets all patrons enjoy themselves freely without judgment or inhibition. This live theater experience invites autistic individuals, as well as those living with ADHD, dementia and other sensory sensitivities, to enjoy a performance in a “shush free” zone. House lights will be dimmed, but not turned out completely, patrons may move about as necessary for their comfort and patrons will not be discouraged from vocalizing during the performance. Fidget toys and other materials will be provided for patrons. All tickets to the sensory friendly performance are $35 and include a 100 percent refund right up to the start of the show if unable to attend.
The Slutzker Family Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor for the 50th Anniversary Season. Additional season support comes from the Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation and Advance Media New York. The community partner for “A Christmas Carol” is Interfaith Works of Central New York.