Palace Theatre’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ delivers every morsel of merriment holiday audiences come craving

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“A Christmas Carol” at the Palace Theatre: The holiday tradition endures. Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH – There is nothing that signals the official start of the holiday season in earnest like the Palace Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” The Dickens’ classic is a study in greed, generosity and forgiveness, and the Palace’s treatment of this festive classic exudes all the warmth of Christmastime with a sentimental side order of human redemption and kindness.

Opening night featured Mark Nichols in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, a role he shares during the play’s four-week run with Marc Willis. Nichols’ portrayal of Scrooge provides a strong presence around which the rest of the cast shines. Stuart Harmon as both the ghost of Jacob Marley and the larger-than-life Ghost of Christmas Present evokes in equal parts the darker side of Scrooge’s misery as well as the boisterous spirit of the holiday season.

Between the storylines, delivered artfully by Tim Lawrence as narrator – whose true character reveal in the closing scene of the play evoked gasps from the audience – are nearly a dozen lively musical numbers that serve up every morsel of holiday merriment the audience comes craving, thanks to the collaborative efforts of music director John Tegowski, and artistic director and choreographer Carl Rajotte, who developed this signature version of “A Christmas Carol” exclusively for Palace Theatre audiences.

Ebenezer Scrooge (Mark Nichols) faces his fate in the graveyard scene presented by the Spirit of Christmas Future. Photo/Carol Robidoux

And although familiar, each year there are technical additions to the stunning set design as well as casting shifts that keep the production reliably fresh without veering too far from the comfortable story arc that allows Scrooge’s transformation, from lonely angry miser who has let himself become a shadow of his own humanity, to a new creature bubbling with benevolence, his righteous soul, restored.

This production also features a huge ensemble cast that includes dozens of Palace Youth Ensemble members, all vocally and musically top-shelf. Notable performances by Christian Fary and Annabell Woodard who team up as Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig as well as the comic-relief duo of the solicitors; Emilee Clapp as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Lars Hafell as Scrooge’s ever-optimistic nephew Fred; Dierdre Dunkin as young Belle; and Andrew Burton Kelley and Rachel Pantazi as Bob and Mrs. Cratchit.

“A Christmas Carol” runs through Dec. 23. Reserve the best available seats in the house by calling the Palace Theatre box office at 603-668-5588 or ordering online directly from PalaceTheatre.org. Tickets range from $25-$49.


 

About this Author

carol-robidoux

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!