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World premiere in the Bowmer

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‘It’s Christmas, Carol!’ is Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s first holiday show
Brent Hinkley
John Tufts
Kate Mulligan
Mark Bedard

If you laughed your head off at the antics of Mark Bedard, Brent Hinkley and John Tufts in Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Marx Brothers comedy romps, you’re going to love them in OSF’s first-ever holiday show, “It’s Christmas, Carol!”

Written by and starring the zany trio, this new work from the twisted minds of OSF’s favorite clowns has its world premiere Nov. 23-Jan. 2.

“It promises to be a silly and uplifting way to mark the holidays and celebrate the festival’s return to live indoor performances,” said Blake Zidell, OSF spokesman.

Although they have done considerable work for OSF, the three actors may be best known for their appearances in “Animal Crackers” in 2012 and “Cocoanuts” in 2014.

The song-filled holiday show will run 2 hours, 30 minutes with one intermission in the Angus Bowmer Theatre. Music and lyrics are by the playwrights, with Pirronne Yousefzedeh directing.

Preview performances are scheduled Nov. 23, 24, 26 and 27. Thereafter, shows will be held Wednesdays through Sundays through Jan. 2 with a mix of evening and matinee performances.

“It’s Christmas, Carol!” is the story of businesswoman Carol Scroogenhouse, who is taken by three ghosts through space and time to reckon with how she’s abandoned humanity for hollow capitalism.

The question is: Will Carol find her soul as she is whisked by these ghostly apparitions to a Shakespearean theater, prehistoric holiday celebrations, and a zombie future?

Along the way, the show skewers Dickens, the holidays and Shakespeare, with a dose of the Marx Brothers, fractured carols and more.

OSF will offer an encore run of the show during the holidays in 2022 and beyond.

“We are hopeful that the production will become a holiday tradition for people living in the Rogue Valley and beyond,” said OSF Executive Director David Schmitz. “We hope to attract audiences from around the country to experience a holiday show that is unique to Ashland.”

The cast of 11 includes Bedard (Ghost of Holidays Past), Hinkley (Ghost of Holidays Future), Tufts (Ghost of Holidays Present), Lisa Birnbaum (Barbara Crotchit and others), Armando Duran (various), Safiya Fredericks (Narrator), Amy Lizardo (various), Kate Mulligan (Carol Scroogenhouse), Benjamin Pelteson (David Crotchit and others), Lynette Rathnam (Marley and others), and James Ryen (Tom Crotchit and others).

Additional creative team members are Sara Ryung Clement, scenic designer; Valerie Bart, costumes; Xavier Pierce, lighting; Paul James Prendergast, sound; Dolores Duran-Cafalu, music director, arranger; Jaclyn Miller, choreographer, Martine Kel Green-Rogers, dramaturg; Rebecca Clark Carey, voice and text; Lily Riopelie, assistant director; U. Jonathan Toppo, fight director; Roxana Khan, stage manager; Karl Alphonse, assistant stage manager; and Quy Ton, assistant stage manager.

Understudies are Catherine Castellanos, Kate Hurster, Cristofer Jean, Eddie Lopez, and K.T. Vogt.

The play is deemed suitable for the entire family, although the rapid-fire dialogue contains some occasional innuendo.

All audience members 12 and older must present proof of vaccination or a recent COVID negative test. Audience members 18 and older must present a photo ID at the door. Seating will be assigned with social distancing. And all audience members must wear masks.

Tickets are $35 and $75. For show dates and times, tickets, and more information, go to osfashland.org and click on “It’s Christmas, Carol!”

You can reach Ashland writer Jim Flint at jimflint.ashland@yahoo.com.