REVIEW // A Christmas Carol
Rochester is a very charming place to spend the holidays. Sure, there might be an unexpected blizzard warning every once in a while, but that white covering on the ground makes the holiday season all the more magical.
When it comes to “getting in the holiday spirit,” many local villages, organizations, and churches offer festivities—but there’s something special about sitting in a darkened theater, taking in a story about “the most wonderful time of the year.” From annual productions of The Nutcracker to Handel’s Messiah, there’s a wide range of traditions available for every taste and age.
Geva Theatre Center’s annual production of A Christmas Carol is one example of a holiday classic with a regional twist. Several years ago, Geva’s artistic director Mark Cuddy adapted the Dickens novel to include music and lyrics by Gregg Coffin, dancing, and an array of special effects to delight (and spook) the audience. The refreshed show originally premiered in 2010 with great success.
For those who have “seen the show” in years past, here are nine reasons to buy tickets for a repeat viewing:
1. The production’s technical effects are even more numerous this year. Vintage images and lighting projected on two giant, onstage screens make it feel like whole stage is moving (especially effective during the Ghost of Christmas Past’s scene).
2. While both of the actors playing Tiny Tim are heartbreakingly adorable (per the usual), this year one of them is a little girl (Aprell Davis).
3. One of the most beloved aspects of the show is the return of many of the principle actors: Guy Paul (Scrooge), who has appeared in London’s West End and on Broadway; real life husband and wife team Jim Poulos (Bob Cratchit) and Melissa Rain Anderson (Mrs. Cratchit); and Remi Sandri, who plays The Ghost of Jacob Marley along with a handful of ensemble roles.
4. The rest of the cast is rounded out with a handful of equity actors and the roles of the children are filled (usually double cast) by local youths ranging from ages five to college-age.
5. The door knocker scene. Never gets old.
6. Onstage violinist Katrina Marlett Ruggiero weaves each scene together masterfully without ever speaking a word.
7. While Fezziwig’s Christmas party is always a foot-stomping scene, actor Joel Blum (Fezziwig) brings a contagious energy and joy to the stage—it’s easy to forget there are other people in the scene.
8. There is a free "Home for the Holidays" performance of A Christmas Carol for veterans, service men and women, and their families on Saturday, December 27. Donations from audience members and the community help to make this possible, along with support from the Veterans Outreach Center, the Canandaigua Veterans Administration, Jewish Senior Life, Leo's Bakery and Deli, Wegmans Food Markets and the season long initiative of Blue Star Theatres.
9. The cast gives up much time in their own holiday season to bring joy to audiences—don’t take that for granted. Support the arts (and the artists) this holiday season.
During peak performances, child ages 5-12 are 50 percent off; during off-peak performances, adults are 15 percent off, and children are just $15 each. For more, click here.
Leah Stacy is the editor-in-chief of (585) magazine and a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.