by Karen Lewis
This week’s Local Live isn’t quite local, but it does have a local connection and is within driving distance.
I attended a play called Scrooge, based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens on Sunday December 26, showing at Cabrillo Stage Theatre in Aptos, near Santa Cruz from December 17-30, 2010. The play is directed by Andrew Ceglio who was born in San Jose and now lives in Capitola. He has worked as an independent artist in the Bay Area for the past fifteen years.
As a special interest to readers of this magazine, the cast and orchestra included two natives of the San Joaquin Valley. Drew Lewis, originally from Reedley, was one of the keyboardists. He worked with music programs in local schools until he moved to the Santa Cruz area where he is currently teaching music. Max Bennett-Parker from Fresno played the part of young Scrooge. Max was previously known in the Fresno theatre world through his work with such companies as Good Company Players, Children’s Musical Theaterworks, and Roosevelt School of the Arts (his alma mater).
What makes this play different from other presentations of A Christmas Carol is that it is presented as a musical. For those unfamiliar with A Christmas Carol, the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge begins on Christmas Eve seven years after the death of his business partner Jacob Marley. Scrooge’s character is portrayed as a mean, stingy and greedy businessman who shows no compassion, kindness or generosity towards others. Scrooge experiences a visitation from the ghost of his old business partner warning him to change his ways for the better, followed by three other ghosts showing him several scenes from his past, present, and future in the hope of transforming him to see the error of his ways. In this version, the story is given an extra sparkle by the addition of the music and lyrics written by Leslie Bricusse.
The overall performance was very well done. I thought the children in the show were certainly a great asset by their ability to shine with confidence in the parts they were playing. The adults playing the main roles also performed well. The main character of Scrooge was played by Tony Panighetti, who after graduating from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts-West, received a Backstage West Garland Award for his performance as Mozart in a production of Amadeus. He has also performed up and down California as well as the high seas of Alaska, Canada, Europe, and the Bahamas with Crystal Cruise Line’s Repertory Theater at Sea. Another performance which particularly stood out to me, was that of Jarrod Washington who played the part of Tom Jenkins. Though his was a smaller role, he showed charisma and humor in the part he played.
As a person who comes from Britain, I noticed most of the English accents the actors were trying to portray did not sound completely genuine, although it certainly was not a distraction from their overall performance. The actors gave a very strong vocal performance and the play was well worth the price of the ticket. If you have a chance to travel across to the Coast in time for tomorrow night’s final performance, then why not treat yourself and the family to a special night out at the theatre.
For ticket information for tomorrow night’s performance of Scrooge, and to keep an eye out for the next season at Cabrillo Stage, you can visit their website.
Watch for another Local Live here next Wednesday night at 7.