In Play Reviews

Okay, call me a sucker. I’m a sucker for Christmas stories. Not the ones we see on the Hallmark channel, but real Christmas stories–like that poor couple who travel to Bethlehem to pay their taxes and end up crashing in a stable, and Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol in its many iterations.

Charles Leggett as Scrooge and Cycerli Ash as the Ghost of Christmas Past in Portland Playhouse’s A Christmas Carol. Photo by Reina Solunaya.

Portland Playhouse has presented A Christmas Carol for six years, and its staging of this classic story of a miser, ghosts, and spiritual awakening has taken on its own personality. Every production is different and special, overflowing with great characters, original music, and the theatre’s wonderful energy.

Charles Leggett takes the stage this year as Ebenezer Scrooge. Also new to the production is Cycerli Ash, who plays Jacob Marley and all the ghosts. Other members of the cast–Ben Tissell, Laila Murphy, Rachel Lewis, Dan Tracy, Delphon Curtis Jr., Paul Harestad, Alex Nowak, Netty McKenzie, Abagail St. John, and Alanna Fagan–play multiple roles as well.

And then there are the children–hordes of them–all where they are supposed to be, and delivering their performances with gusto. Of special note, two young actors play Tiny Tim–Margot Weaver, whom I saw in the role last year (excellent), and Victor Wells. There is something particularly poignant about a young man with a disability playing a young man with a disability. Victor rocked it!

Clockwise from bottom left: Abigail St. John, Netty McKenzie, Delphon Curtis Jr., Cycerli Ash, Alex Nowak, and Rachel Lewis in A Christmas Carol. Photo by Reina Solunaya.

Victor Wells as Tiny Tim, with the cast of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Reina Solunaya.

In addition to the story line,  all kinds of things will keep young minds busy–wonderful costumes (Jessica Bobillot) and scenic design (John Ellingson), excellent lighting (Soloman Weishard), and a plethora of interesting musical instruments creating live sound effects. Song adaptations and original lyrics are by Rick Lombardo, original music by Anna Lackaff and Rick Lombardo, and music arrangements by Anna Lackaff, with music direction by Matthew Capurro. Director Brian Weaver directs the show to wonderful effect!

Performances of A Christmas Carol run through December 29 at Portland Playhouse, 602 NE Prescott, Portland. It’s a grand event for playgoers of all ages!



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