Richard Doyle, a founding member of South Coast Repertory, shines as you know who in the gazillionth rendition of Charles Diskens' "A Christmas Carol."
Having met Richard in the seventies through a dear friend at Long Beach State, Ken Rugg, imagine The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail.. and Pinter's The Lover, diverse roles.. That was Rick. I have to mention Rugg because he directed a verision of A Christmas Carol that will ever live in memory, even though Mr. Doyle was not in it.
The staging in Rugg's version featured twenty foot tall flats that presented 'pages' of Dickens' story that were turned by the cast as the play moved along. At one performance, one of the huge flats fell over, creating an opportunity for the student actors to improvise as the flats were restored to their upright and locked positions.
South Coast Rep has staged A Christmas Carol for years and as a perennial favorite, seeing an old friend rock Mr. Scrooge in Hisa Takakua's visionary staging is a Holiday Delight. Doyle has moved up over the years from his role as Spirit of Christmas Past (now played beautifully by his wife, Jennifer Parsons) stepping into the lead from another founding member of SCR, Hal Landon, Jr.
The opening street scene with the full cast in gorgeous Victorian costumes, calls the tune. Amazing technical achievements by Thomas Buderwitz bring the story that Dickens himself used to perform by reading and bringing all the parts to life. During the dampanic, Doyle produced and recorded his own version of the story playing, as Dickens had done.. all the parts himself.
Alistair Sim, eat your heart out.. Certainly, you have the advantage of a dusty old black and white British film to float your Ebenezer, but the lavish sets and broad action makes this tradition at SCR a must see for Christmas Keepers who love the story.
|Richard Doyle and Company Photo: Jenny Graham/SCR |
One thing to be said for virtually every production that I've had the pleasure of attending at SCR over the years is that this company attends to detail and chooses material that appeals to and sometimes challenges their local community audience. The beautiful complex and professional presentations are a gift to Orange County.. especially appropriate for the Christmas season.
Dwight Richard Odle's costumes steal the show. Among impressive standouts, Richard Soto as the Spirit of Christmas Present squeezes on stage from a tiny chest at the foot of Ebenezer''s bed and blows the roof off the proceedings. Jennifer Parsons as the Spirit of Christmas Past sparkles: literally as she emerges from the wardrobe.
Christmas Keepers must make the trek to share this age old story and have some fun. The children in the show shine because they have all participated in the Conservatory that SCR offers to kids who really want to be a part of the glorious tradition of The Theatre.
The cast of thousands include:
UNDERTAKER -Tommy Beck*
JOE, a cider salesman and a receiver of stolen goods - Eduardo Enrikez*
CONSTABLE- Larry Bates*
TOY LADY - Erika Schindele*
PUPPET SHOW - Michael Reese Shald
THOMAS SHELLEY - Nick Slimmer
ELIZABETH SHELLEY - Kelsey Bray
OLIVER SHELLEY - Isaac Person, Max Zazik†
RICH WOMAN - Elyse Mirto*
RICH BOY - Matthew Chan, Maximilian Lalli†
RICH GIRL - Yunah Choi, Julia Ner†
YOUNG GIRL ABOUT TOWN - Ashley Hong, Tessany Azizi†
TEEN GIRL ABOUT TOWN - Piper Huntley, ChloeLux Phan†
FLOWER SELLER - Alicia Coca*
LAUNDRESS - Erika Schindele*
CHIMNEY SWEEP - Vincent Logan, Ben Hacker†
EBENEZER SCROOGE, a grasping, covetous old man - Richard Doyle*
BOB CRATCHIT, clerk to Ebenezer - Preston Maybank*
FRED, nephew to Ebenezer - Larry Bates*
SOLICITORS - William Francis McGuire*, Melody Butiu*
JACOB MARLEY’S GHOST, a spectre of Ebenezer’s former partner in business - Michael Manuel*
THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS PAST, a phantom showing things past - Jennifer Parsons*
EBENEZER AS A BOY - Isaac Person, Max Zazik†
FAN, the sister of Ebenezer - Kelsey Bray
MRS. FEZZIWIG - Melody Butiu*
MR. FEZZIWIG, a kind-hearted, jovial old merchant - William Francis McGuire*
JACOB MARLEY AS A YOUNG MAN - Eduardo Enrikez*
EBENEZER AS A YOUNG MAN - Tommy Beck*
BELLE, sweetheart of Ebenezer - Alicia Coca*
THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT, a spirit of a kind, earthy and generous nature - Richard Soto*
“TINY” TIM CRATCHIT - Yunah Choi, Julia Ner†
MRS. CRATCHIT - Elyse Mirto*
BELINDA CRATCHIT - Anabelle Green, Maddie Chung†
PETER CRATCHIT - Matthew Chan, Maximilian Lalli†
MARTHA CRATCHIT - Natalie Bright, Justine Roussel†
MR. TOPPER, a bachelor - Michael Reese Shald
PURSUED MAIDEN - Kelsey Bray
SALLY, the wife of Fred - Erika Schindele*
THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS YET-TO-COME, an apparition showing the shadows of things which may yet happen - Nick Slimmer*
WANT - Ashley Hong, Tessany Azizi†
IGNORANCE - Isaac Person, Max Zazik†
GENTLEMEN ON THE STREET - Larry Bates*, Michael Manuel*, William Francis McGuire*
THE SCAVENGERS - Melody Butiu*, Jennifer Parsons*, Erika Schindele*
TURKEY BOY - Vincent Logan, Ben Hacker† POULTERER - Tommy Beckr*
THOMAS BUDERWITZ. Scenic Design
DWIGHT RICHARD ODLE, Costume Design
DONNA & TOM RUZIKA, Lighting Design
DREW DALZELL, Sound Design
DENNIS CASTELLANO, Musical Director
KELLY TODD, Choreographer
(based on the original staging of Sylvia Turner)
DAVID NEVELL, Dialect Coach
JOANNE DENAUT, CSA. Casting
TALIA KRISPEL* Stage Manager
Directed by HISA TAKAKUWA
(based on the original staging of John-David Keller)
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Adapted for the stage by Jerry Patch
Updated 2018 (Talia Krispel)
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Emmes/Benson Theatre Center
655 Town Center Drive,
Costa Mesa, CA 92628-2197