‘A Christmas Carol’ at The Little Theatre of Alexandria

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I don’t think I know one person who doesn’t know A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Last night, I attended The Little Theater of Alexandria’s visually stunning and entertaining production. Directed by Rachael Hubbard, this A Christmas Carol is amazing, brilliant, and full of the spirit of Christmas.

Lawrence O. Grey Jr. (Ebenezer Scrooge) and Nathaniel Burkhead (Tiny Tim). Photo by Doug Olmsted.
Lawrence O. Grey Jr. (Ebenezer Scrooge) and Nathaniel Burkhead (Tiny Tim). Photo by Doug Olmsted.

The set design, by Andrea D’Amato, definitely transcends back in time to London, England in the 1800s. The backdrop lined with buildings, would make a person think they were walking along the streets of “Merry Ole’ England.” The intricate design of the clock (in backdrop, center stage), made it easy for the actors to change the time literally, in a scene.

The lighting design by Jeffrey Scott Auerbach, and sound design by Lynn Lacey were perfection, and Whitney Lloyd’s Property Design was century-appropriate. And kudos to Hair/Wig Designer Heather Norcross and Kit Siblel, Makeup Designer Lori Bonnette, Set Painter Alex Taliesen, Set Decorator Russell Wyland, Master Electrician: Micheal J. O’Connor, and Special Effects Designer Art Snow, and everyone on the design team who created such glorious beauty and visual delights on the stage.

The play opens up with the cast wonderfully dressed in early 19th century costumes (beautifully designed by Jean Schlicting and Kit Sibley), singing a melodious rendition of “Ding Dong Merrily On High,” with lyrics by George Ratcliife Woodward. The scene brings Christmas to the stage, with snow delicately falling. Then, an adorable little girl, Viktoria Truitt, sings a beautiful song, “In the Bleak MidWinter,” with lyrics by Christina Georgiana Rosetti, as she begs for money. Anyone wanting carolers to sing in their neighborhood this holiday season, should give this cast a call.

We all know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. I always felt that was a befitting last name for a cantankerous person. Lawrence O. Grey, Jr., who plays Scrooge, lives up to the name. His portrayal of the miserable miser makes you despise and feel for him at the same time. It is quite apparent that Scrooge would be just fine if the world had a little less people in it – especially the poor.

When two gentlemen, Mr. Hopwood and Mr. Whitham (portrayed by Dan Lavanga and Colin Davies, respectively), approach him to give charity to help the poor, and explain to Scrooge that the poor would rather die, than be poor, his response, “If the surplus of people can be decreased, then let them do it.”

Mr. Hopwood (Lavanga) and Mr.  Whitham (Davies), also serve as narrators of the story. Lavanga, with his “Rex Harrison-esque” persona, and Davies, were a great duo team that reminded you of the days of vaudeville. O’Grey displays much physical agility throughout his performance of Scrooge.

Daniel Calderon’s portrayal of the ghost of Marley, Scrooge’s former business partner, was fascinating. Adorned in tattered clothing, and huge chain links, it is symbolic of how he lived his natural life as a greedy and selfish man, like Scrooge. A visit from him, would make anyone to quickly change his/her ways.

Erik Reiloff’s portrayal of Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, was delightful. Reiloff was quick-witted and very humorous, as he never backed down to Scrooge, and still had hope for him.

One scene that I thoroughly enjoyed was the scene with Mr. Fezziwig (Roland Branford Gomez). Gomez’s Fezziwig was happy and joyful. I especially enjoyed the party scene with the women in beautiful dresses, much to the delight of the men. The dancing was nicely done. Kudos to Choreographer Grace Machanic and Musical Director Linda Wells.

All three Spirits: Tristiana Hinton, as Ghost of Christmas Past, Heather Norcross as Ghost of Christmas Past, and Erik Rieloff as Ghost of Christmas Future gave hauntingly convincing performances.

Scrooge could only reach one conclusion after the visitation and scenes from his past, present and future. O’Grey’s mood and attitude transition is comical, giddy, and playful.

Left to right: Kacie Greenwood (Mrs. Cratchit), Eva Gary (Martha Cratchit), Avery Clifford Evans (Boy Cratchit), Katya Zaitsev (Girl Cratchit), Johnie Hays (Peter Cratchit), Lindsey Gattuso (Belinda Cratchit), Nathaniel Burkhead (Tiny Tim), and Matthew Fager (Bob Cratchit). Photo by Doug Olmsted.
Left to right: Kacie Greenwood (Mrs. Cratchit), Eva Gary (Martha Cratchit), Avery Clifford Evans (Boy Cratchit), Katya Zaitsev (Girl Cratchit), Johnie Hays (Peter Cratchit), Lindsey Gattuso (Belinda Cratchit), and Matthew Fager (Bob Cratchit). Photo by Doug Olmsted.

Tiny Tim (Nathaniel Burkhead), was so cute and lovable, that I was hoping for a cure. God bless you Nathaniel. Bob Cratchit (Matthew Fager) and Mrs. Cratchit (Kacie Greenwood), played the nurturing and caring parents, whose house was full of love.

Belle, Scrooge’s fiancé as a young man, was portrayed by Clare Baker. When Belle confronts Scrooge about him working all the time, and seeming to lose interest in their relationship, the speech Baker delivers, makes any woman want to get up and shout “Amen!” and make any man rethink his priorities, at the loss of a “soul mate.”

What can I say about the children and teenagers in this production? Adorable, engaging, and professional. I was pleasantly amazed.

After seeing this production of A Christmas Carol, I realized there are many lessons to be learned. I’ll leave you with these:

  1. Your past can be a vital part of the outcome of your present or “yet to be” (future).
  1. Happiness is not measured by monetary gain or wealth. Love is the greatest wealth.
  1. Showing kindness to even the most miserable, mean person can eventually soften their heart.

With the current climate of our society, let’s turn this Christmas, from “Bah Humbug,” into “God Bless Us, Everyone.”

The cast of LTA's 'A Christmas Carol.' Photo by Doug Olmsted.
The cast of The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Photo by Doug Olmsted.

The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s sterling production of this holiday favorite is a Must-See! Take the entire family to see this glorious A Christmas Carol.

Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission.

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A Christmas Carol plays through December 19, 2015 at The Little Theatre of Alexandria – 600 Wolfe Street, in Alexandria, VA. For tickets, call the box office at (703) 683-0496, or purchase them online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1555.gif

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Jacqueline Brown
Jacqueline Brown (Actress, Playwright) is originally from Washington, DC. However she resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Jacqui wrote, produced, and played the character, (Mildred Barnes) in “A Conversation With The Man Who Killed My Son” (2015) which received great praise and rave reviews. Her theatrical experience also include: “Vagina Monologues 2015: East of the River;” A Staged Reading: (Rochelle) “A Quick Stop At the Florist;” (Vissegan/Maria) “A Thread of Gold Beads“ (2014); (Landlady/Ensemble) Theatre Lab’s “Violet;” wrote and starred in one-act, one woman play for 2013 DC BLACK THEATRE FESTIVAL“Bedlam in the Pulpit: The Jocelyn Marshall Story;” DC 2013 QUEER Festival (Rochelle) A Quick Stop At the Florist; NVTA 2012 ONE ACT PLAY COMPETITION: (Preacher’s Wife); DC WOMEN’S THEATRE; (2012) Vagina Monologues;” VPSTART CROW (2011):(Officer Welch):” Rumors” TRAVELING SPOTLIGHT PRODUCTION (2011):(Homeless Woman) “RENT;” FOOTSTEPS IN TIME (2011): (Staged Reading) Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory; CREATIVE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (2011): (Miss Mary), “Shakin The Mess Outta Misery;” SELAH THEATRE (2008) (Deaconess Helen) “Saints, Ain’ts and Wanabeez;” FOOTSTEPS IN TIME (2008): (Lu, Slave Woman) “The Gray Ghost”. Jacqui is a school social worker for Prince William County Schools, in Manassas, VA.