This weekend, Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas come back to life in three different adaptations of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol,” teaching audiences what really matters in the holiday season.
Local directors have produced theatrical performances that incorporate New Orleans culture, Broadway and a play within a play — maintaining a fresh approach to a timeless tale that has become Christmas folklore worldwide since its original release in 1843.
At Anthony Bean,
a New Orleans carol
“I don’t want to tamper with a classic so much that people won’t recognize it,” said Anthony Bean, owner of Anthony Bean Community Theater and Acting School and director of “A Christmas Carol” at that theater.
From the setting to the dialogue, Bean found that the story tied in with New Orleans culture seamlessly. Casting from his own acting school, a vast majority of his cast are between 7 and 19 years old. Bean has adjusted some of the dialogue, creating a New Orleans backdrop and played with who the ghosts of the past, present and future are — making this adaptation accessible and fun.
“The dialect will be New Orleans, the citizens will be all children, and we will have some reference to Mardi Gras Indians,” Bean said. “We are not changing or rearranging the story line. The message will stay the same; we just want to make it more fun for the audience.”
Morphing into the guise of Ebenezer Scrooge is Harold X. Evans, a veteran actor who will be tackling this infamous character for the first time.
“I always want to play the villain, even though Scrooge is not really much of a villain as it turns out in the end,” Evans said. “I like the idea of playing a hard-lined individual as opposed to the more passive characters that I have played in a number of other plays.”
at Southern Rep
Meanwhile, Southern Rep Theatre presents a fun and humorous rendition with Doris Baizley’s “A Christmas Carol.”
The audience watches a play within a play unfold onstage in a story that draws on imagination and visual effects. Taking part are a choir, clowns, jugglers and mimes.
Playing multiple roles both on and off stage, director John “Spud” McConnell has taken on the dual role of Scrooge and the surly stage manager.
“The stage manager and Scrooge both discover the spirit of Christmas and they are both changed by the end of the play,” McConnell said. “I like this production because you are playing dual roles and it gives you the chance to stand apart from everyone else.”
On the other hand, Rivertown Theater for the Performing Arts brings a Broadway element to this timeless tale.
“It is a very traditional adaptation of the story but it has a very modern Broadway sound,” said Scott Sauber, director of “A Christmas Carol: The Musical.”
With Joel Rainey, theater teacher at Benjamin Franklin High School, taking on the persona of Scrooge and children making up the greater proportion of the cast, this adaptation pulls in people of all ages.
“The music is stunningly beautiful. Some of our cast members have an operatic background, so we get to feature them vocally, and they add a beautiful texture,” Sauber said. “Then we have the kids’ numbers that really bring in a Broadway element.”
However the story is told, the message that the snarly Scrooge and the penitent Jacob Marley have been teaching for generations remains the same.
“We should all appreciate each other and we should take the time to look at the human condition as opposed to material things and what we think money represents. It crosses gender, race and even age. It transcends time,” Bean said.
Anthony Bean Community Theater and Acting School
‘A Christmas Carol’
Where: 1333 S. Carrollton Ave.
When: Dec 5 to Dec. 21: Opening weekend all three shows at 8 p.m. Following two weekends, Friday and Saturday 8 p.m. Sunday 3 p.m.
Info: (504) 862-7529 or http://anthonybeantheater.com/Index.cfm
Southern Rep Theatre
Doris Bailzley’s ‘A Christmas Carol’
Where: Marquette Theatre, Loyola University, 6363 St. Charles Ave.
When: Dec. 3 to Dec 21, on Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Tickets: Adult $25, Children under 12 $12.50
Info: (504) 522-6545 or www.southernrep.com/plays/a-christmas-carol
Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts
‘A Christmas Carol, the Musical’
Where: 325 Minor St. Kenner
When: Dec. 5 to Dec. 21, on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets: Adult $37, Children $32 Info: (504) 461-9475 or www.rivertowntheaters.com