'Scrooge! A Magical Musical'

Randall Theatre Company presents a look at Charles Dickens' classic Christmas tale
Bob Cratchit (David Sours) and Ebenezer Scrooge (Daniel Grossbard) appear in Randall Theatre Company's production of "Scrooge! A Magical Musical."Photo courtesy of Rodney Rampy

"Scrooge! A Magical Musical" is Randall Theatre Company's holiday offering. Based on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," it's the story of a bitter, miserly, Christmas-hating banker redeemed by visits from Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. The show has all the familiar characters, including the Cratchits and Tiny Tim.

Randall's production is based on the Leslie Bricusse screenplay and music for "Scrooge," a 1970 movie version of the Dickens tale, starring Albert Finney as Scrooge and Sir Alec Guinness as Marley's ghost. Bricusse's original score was nominated for an Oscar, as was the song "Thank You Very Much." The movie was adapted for the stage in 1992.

If you go

What: "Scrooge! A Magical Musical"

When: Fridays through Sundays, Dec. 14-16 and 21-23, and Monday, Dec. 24

Where: Randall Theatre, 10 E. Third St., Medford

Tickets: Pay-what-you-want at the door; $12 for reserved seating

Call: 541-622-5795

Songs include "I Hate People," "December the 25th" and the finale, "I Like Life."

"As a child, that film affected me in very deep ways," says Robin Downward, Randall's executive director. "The story is one that everyone can understand. People are suffering, looking for meaning and are forced to look at what is truly important in life — love and living life with no regrets."

Performances of "Scrooge! A Magical Musical" are set for Fridays through Sundays, Dec. 14-16 and 21-23, and Monday, Dec. 24, at Randall Theatre, 10 E. Third St., Medford. Curtain is at 7 p.m. Fridays, at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturdays and at 1 p.m. Sundays and Monday. The Dec. 15 show will benefit Rogue Valley Family YMCA.

Pay-what-you-want tickets are available at www.randalltheatre.com, by calling 541-622-5795 or at the door. Reserved seats cost $12.

The show's director, Don Tull, who also arranged the music, has made full use of Randall's intimate space by "breaking the fourth wall." In other words, performers interact with the audience by singing directly to them. Tull used all of the original music and dance numbers from the film, including several songs cut from a later, stage version and from the film's television broadcasts. Choreography is by Deborah Downward.

"We want the audience not just to watch but to feel that they are a part of the action," Downward says. "All of the Dickens characters are onstage, but we've reduced the cast from 36 people to 15, with actors playing multiple roles. The same actor that plays the young Scrooge also plays his nephew, to give him a family resemblance."

The show stars Daniel Grossbard as Scrooge, Peter Wickliffe as Tom Jenkins and Topper and Robin Downward as Jacob Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Present.

The minimalist scenic design by Rick Hazen, Vienna Mathisen, Greg Franklin and Chuck Melton uses large backdrops made to look like pencil and chalk drawings of London landmarks such as St. Paul's Cathedral, Big Ben and London Bridge. Costumes are by Gigi Michaels and Julia Chavez.

"Randall tries to recreate the feel of off-Broadway," Downward says. "We want the experience of theater to be relaxed and accessible to everyone, a place where the audience can dress casually and feel really connected to what's onstage."

Roberta Kent is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach her at rbkent@mind.net.

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