One of the most beloved stories of the Christmas season, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly and cold-hearted old man who spends his days with a sneer on his face and a bah humbug on his lips. That is until one Christmas Eve when he is visited by multiple spirits—most famously the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come—who take him on a journey through time and toward forgiveness. This one-hour stage version at the Little Theatre of Alexandria, adapted by Donna Ferragut and directed by Jonathan Mulberg, is an energetic dose of Christmas cheer just right for the young to the young at heart.
The grouch himself, Ebenezer Scrooge, was played by Bob Chaves reprising his 2019 performance in the role. With a wry delivery and delightfully snarky turns of phrase, Chaves was everything you’d hope for in a hometown Scrooge. Often opposite the snark and with just as much character were the four spirits that haunt Scrooge over the course of the tale: Marley, played by Steven Malone; the Ghost of Christmas Past, played by Elena Ruiz; the Ghost of Christmas Present, played by Justin Beland; and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, played by Christian Huggard. All brought a different countenance, from the haunted and distressed (Marley) to the statuesque (Past) to the grim (Yet to Come).
Opening the evening and peppering throughout with increasingly amusing cameos was Charles Dickens (Justin Beland), also stepping into the shoes of Fezziwig and the Ghost of Christmas Present. A well-defined bit from the very start, each appearance added to the playful Christmas spirit leaving the audience wondering where he would appear next. Also layering in the light moments were Mrs. Pipchin/Mrs. Fezziwig played by Aimée Meher-Homji and Mrs. Cratchit/Mrs. Dilber played by Melissa “Missy” Ledesma-Leese, both with presence, spunk, and some of the evening’s best-placed comedic lines. I looked forward to each time they took the stage.
The rest of the ensemble threaded the well-known tale with additional earnest moments of heart. Garrett Walsh and Christian Huggard tripped over themselves preparing to meet the pretty girls at Fezziwig’s party, Belle (Cristine Casais) fell in and out of love with an ambitious Young Scrooge (Walsh), Bob Cratchit’s (James Senavitis) heart broke and then healed again with the wisdom of Tiny Tim (Nina Hall), and David McCarthy as a haughty businessman chuckled at the thought of Scrooge’s funeral.
No more enthusiastically though than the production’s eager youngest actors, made up of two rotating casts. Opening night’s cast of Miranda Lacy, William Carden, Nina Hall, Graham Arnold, Malcolm Lamond, Katie Ellis, Alexandra Closs, and Maia Sandoval-Moshenberg—be they Young Scrooge, carolers, members of the Belle or Cratchit families, party guests, or Tiny Tim—brought their all the performance.
Supporting the actors on stage was a small army led by the creative team. Direction by Jonathan Mulberg, music direction by Abbie Mulberg, set design by Julie Fischer, lighting design by Arie McSherry, sound design by Gary Zacuto, costume design by Juliana Cofrancesco and Carl Pappas, and hair and makeup design by Natalie Turkevich all added layers to this well-loved story of rediscovery and reflection.
Steeped with important lessons of the season, A Christmas Carol reminds us all to rediscover the joy of generosity, compassion, and goodwill toward others. With only a few humbugs to be found and plenty of community theater merriment, this dependable favorite yuletide tradition is playing at the Little Theatre of Alexandria through December 16.
Running Time: Approximately one hour, without intermission.
A Christmas Carol plays through December 16, 2023, at The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA. Tickets start at $20. To purchase, go online or contact the Box Office via phone (703-683-0496) or email ([email protected]).
The program for A Christmas Carol is online here.
COVID Safety: LTA is mask optional in all its public spaces, including its auditorium. Though masking is now optional, LTA supports and encourages those who feel the need to continue to mask in public spaces.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Donna Ferragut
Produced by Mary Beth Smith-Toomey
Directed by Jonathan Mulberg