Refreshing Charles Dickens’ beloved family holiday classic with a Baltimore-centric twist, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC) spices up A Christmas Carol with local cultural history, festive music and special smoky effects, returning for its third annual season.
Set in the Dickens’ era circa 1843, on Daniel O’Brien’s functional but fetching three-story row house, Founding Artistic Director Ian Gallanar, who wrote the adaption, cleverly honors Baltimore’s waterfront history and cultural heritage with communal references to well-known landmarks and sites throughout the two-hour production, which is appositely within CSC’s beautifully refurbished 19th century structure – formerly the Mercantile Deposit and Trust Company Bank.
We placed the story in the Baltimore business district of the 19th Century in honor of this magnificent building housing our theater, and this amazing city in which we performed. When you arrive to see the show, don’t miss the theatre’s new exhibit exploring the history of the building, a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. The landmark exhibit was financed in part through funds from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, managed by the Baltimore Heritage Area Association, the management entity for the Baltimore National Heritage Area. The heritage area works to promote, preserve, and enhance Baltimore’s historic and cultural legacy and natural resources for current and future generations.
Resident Company Member Gregory Burgess shines, for his third season, portraying the irascible but ultimately redeemable Ebenezer Scrooge who transforms from miserly crank to jubilant Christmas celebrant in the course of one night’s review of his life with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
Associate Artistic Director Scott Alan Small proficiently directs a large cast of local artists and Company members, including 11 child actors from area schools, reflecting the multi-racial diversity and breadth of Baltimore.
In addition to Burgess’ impressive rendering of Scrooge, memorable performances were delivered by James Jager as an affable Bob Cratchit, and Michael P. Sullivan as a pulsating, beyond-the-grave Marley (and, later, pulling triple duty with unexpected comic turns as a party guest and as the chicken man). Imani Turner’s Young Scrooge and Elana Michelle, as Belle – Young Scrooge’s fiancee, brought noteworthy naturalness and ardor to their succinct scene.
Likewise, Jack Novak (Scrooge’s nephew Fred and George Wilkens), Laura Rocklyn (Ghost of Christmas Past and Dorothy – Fred’s wife), Kevin Alan Brown (Ghost of Christmas Present and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come), Tim R. Bintrum (Mr. Fezziwig), and Tamieka Chavis (Mrs. Fezziwig) conveyed committed portrayals of their respective roles.
Brimming with joyous song, dance and merriment, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s production of A Christmas Carol edifies a timeless tale into a theatrical, as well as historical, treat for all of Baltimore’s friends, families, and visitors.
Running Time: Approximately two hours and 15 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission.
A Christmas Carol plays through December 23, 2016 at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company – 7 South Calvert Street, in Baltimore, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (410) 244-8570, or purchase them online.