Even if you’ve seen Theatre Baton Rouge’s production of “Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol,” you’ve never seen it like this.
When the show opens Friday, Dec. 12, Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past will be following in the flight path of “Mary Poppins,” who soared through the theater in September. So why not incorporate that same magic into 19th-century London?
That’s when “A Christmas Carol” takes place. Dickens’ novella was published on Dec. 19, 1843, and is credited with reviving traditional Christmas festivities and celebrations in Great Britain and the United States, when both countries were experiencing a period of somberness.
The miserly Scrooge is the focus of “A Christmas Carol.” He’s proof that money doesn’t necessarily guarantee happiness as he spews bitterness at everyone who crosses his path.
Then, on Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who says Scrooge will be visited by three spirits during the night. Their combined visits will transform Scrooge from miser to benefactor.
The first visit is from the Ghost of Christmas Past, who will time travel through the air.
“They’ll definitely be flying, but we haven’t rehearsed that yet,” says Jack Lampert, who is co-directing the production with Kurt Hauschild.
“We have to have a training session with the company that came in and set up the equipment,” Hauschild says. “We’ll have to dedicate an entire rehearsal to that training session.”
If nothing else, it will give repeat audience members a chance to see a different show.
But it’s not just the flying that will make the show different from years past.
“Scrooge has changed in the years that I’ve been playing him,” says Mike Katchmer, who is entering his fourth year playing Scrooge. “This year the atmosphere is lighter, and I feel freer to explore Scrooge and his emotions.”
The atmosphere is intentional. Hauschild has reshaped the show to reflect Christmas’ festive joy.
“Kurt has a lot of good ideas, and I’ve just followed his lead,” Lampert says. “We’ve redone the opening of the show to make it lighter. Everyone knows who Scrooge is, and everyone knows Marley is dead.”
“We’ve explored Scrooge in different ways in the last three productions,” Hauschild says. “We’ve even delved deep into the darkness of the story. This year, we wanted to do something joyous.”
Katchmer is ready for the challenge.
“If they didn’t change it, it would become the same old thing for the cast members,” he says. “This is the fourth year for a lot of our cast, and repeating the same show would be boring. This makes it interesting not only for us, but for the audience.”
At 12 years old, Caroline Feduccia is one of those returning for a fourth time, having graduated from a member of the ensemble to this year’s role as the Ghost of Christmas Past.
It’s a role that can be interpreted in so many ways. Feduccia’s is from a kid’s point of view. She worked hard to win the role, memorizing a passage for the audition, which impressed co-directors.
“I’ve wanted this role for a long time,” she says. “I love it, and I’m ready.”
- CAST: Mike Katchmer, Scrooge; Davis Hotard, Bob Cratchet; Travis Williams, Fred; Michael Sager, Gentleman; Jeremy Downey, Gentleman; Ashley Stevens, Boy Caroler; Natalie Sibille, Caroline; Ben Caldwell, Caroline’s husband, Businessman; Ronnie Stutes, Marley; Caroline Feduccia, Ghost of Christmas Past; Anthony Bailey, Boy Scrooge; Tyler Robbins, Orson; Brady Ferachi, Valentine; Gabrielle Eaves, Fan; Lee Allen, Mr. Fezziwig, Man in the Park, Businessman; Kelly Ryan, Mrs. Fezziwig; Curran Latas, Young Scrooge; Melissa Seidule, Belle; Pat Pitre, Woman in the Park; Kurt Hauschild, Ghost of Christmas Present; Susannah Craig, Mrs. Cratchit; John Thomas Hernandez, Peter; Brooke Bell, Gillian; Emma Grace Lambert, Miranda; Sadie Fontenot, Belinda; Claudia Suire, Martha; Addie Prochaska, Tiny Tim; Courtney Murphy, Julia; Paige Skidmore, Lucy; Jacob Patterson, Mr. Topper; Hannah Bourgeois, Ignorance; Mary Stuckey, Want; Jess Bryan, Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come; Mike Sager, Old Joe; Ona Robbins, Charwoman; Nancy Litton, Undertaker’s Woman; Crystal Brown, Laundress. Ensemble — Hannah Tanib, Brady Ferachi, Sydney Prochaska, Emily West, Tyler Robbins, Abigail Robbins, Issac Landry, Darla Shaler, Jeremy Downey, Lee Allen, Anne Woods, Travis Williams, Natalie Sibille, Melissa Seidule, Mike Sager, Pat Pitrie, Kelly Ryan, Gabrielle Eaves, Susannah Craig, Crystal Brown, Natalie Feduccia, Brenna Bell, Gibson Guay, Hannah Wilkerson, Meg Grey, Ona Robbins, Tara Sager, Ben Caldwell, Varland Owens, John Ross Rumfola, Cami Russell-Clark, Saydee Heil.
- CO-DIRECTORS: Jack Lampert and Kurt Hauschild.