Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009

Scrooge in Quad

This Weekend, Local Stages Will Be Visited By Four Scrooges

By Russ Bickerstaff
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At 7:30 pm tonight, the Nebraska Theatre Caravan will pull into UW-Whitewater's Young Auditorium to present its production of A Christmas Carol. The show boasts a cast of 27. One of those actors will, of course, be playing Scrooge. Half an hour earlier in the heart of the theatre district, James Pickering will be taking the stage as Scrooge. The single most recognizable character in all of Charles Dickens’ work, it’s not uncommon to see old Eb’ onstage. It’s a bit strange that this particular weekend, local stages will be visited by at least four different Scrooges as the holiday theatre season hits its stride.

In addition to the two serious Scrooges mentioned above, there are a couple of productions of Christmas Carol spoofs making their way to opening night this weekend.



Tonight at 7:30 pmIn Tandem Theatre presents a pay-what-you-can preview of its production of Scrooge in the Rouge—a fast-paced comic take on Dickens’ classic. The play is set in a mid-19th century music hall, where a production of A Christmas Carol is plagued by a nasty food-poisoning incident that leaves seventeen members of its 20-person cast unable to perform. Thus you have a production of the musical as performed by only three people. The real treat here is the three actors who will be playing the three actors—In Tandem co-founder Chris Flieller is joined by Matt Daniels and Marcy Kearns, possibly best known for their work with the late Milwaukee Shakespeare. There’s real comic talent here of a kind absolutely necessary for the kind of lightning-quick comedy that the premise requires. This one should be a lot of fun.

In Tandem’s Scrooge in the Rouge runs through January 3rd.



And tomorrow at 8pm, the Sunset Playhouse opens its production of Dan Sullivan’s Inspecting Carol. Guest Director Bryce Lord orchestrates the 1992 comedy. A small regional theatre company is left in the lurch as the actor set to portray Tiny Tim has left its production of A Christmas Carol has left the cast. When an actor of questionable talent arrives to audition, he is mistaken for an informer for the National Endowmen For The Arts. And then things get weird.  Their entire $30,000 grant is up for review due to what one evaluator from the NEA termed “a significant artistic deficit,” and they pick a bad actor for their big commercial production because they think he IS the NEA. Funny stuff. And the dialogue’s pretty crisp. Should be a nice departure from Dickens’ classic.

Sunset Playhouse’s Inspecting Carol runs through December 31st.

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