‘Christmas Carol’ offers story of redemption

Musical retelling of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic opens next week

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

‘Christmas Carol’ offers story of redemptionI have seen a future

Full of darkness,

All the darkness of my heart!

At my door

A world in need of kindness.

From man’s kindness, I departed!

All the hours of my days

And years I’ve wasted!

All the joy and love

I never tasted!

All the errors of the past

Replaced with

Something strange…

Give me time to change!

I can see a future full of beauty,

And my spirit starts to fly!

I can change the world,

Yes, it’s my duty!

God forgive me!

Let me try!

I’ll spend my fortune

On the ones who need me,

Go where kindness

And my conscience lead me,

Give my heart and soul to all!

God speed me on my way,

And to God I pray,

Let the Christmas spirit

Live within me,

Yesterday, tomorrow, and today!

— “A Christmas Carol: The Musical,” lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Nearly 100 members in the cast, crew and orchestra of “A Christmas Carol” will present opening night of the musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale on Thursday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. on the Parker Performing Arts Center stage at Burroughs High School.

The familiar story of Ebenezer Scrooge will be told with the help of colorful characters who dance and sing their way through ensemble numbers that run a gamut of emotions — from ghoulish to celebratory to heartbreaking.

And as with all Ridgecrest Musical Enrichment Society productions, 100 percent of the profit will be donated back to local education programs that promote performing arts. Director Kevin Anderson said that RMES’ fund-raising goal for the show is $20,000 — which would put the organization above $150,000 for its cumulative contributions.

However, Anderson said that although supporting exposure to creative outlets for our children is always at the heart of the RMES mission, everyone involved is committed to presenting a high-quality performance for the community.

“There is literally no break in the action — which I hope will keep the audience enthralled,” said Anderson.

“I knew when I read the lyrics for this musical, it resonated very powerfully with me as a message that is still very relevant in our modern times.

“A lot of people know by now that we had initially hoped to stage the play during the Christmas season. But as I watch this story unfold each night at rehearsal and think about the troubling times we are living through, I realize the theme of redemption is critical for people in search of hope.”

“Most of us know the story of Scrooge,” said Bill Farris, who will perform the lead role.

“It is a timely and excellent reminder that hate, cruelty and evil — no matter the origin — are overcome only by the personal act of choosing love, kindness and good.”

Anderson said that he believes the story is a reminder not only that it’s never too late to find redemption, but also that even in the face of evil, goodness can be found.

“There is a scene early on in our story, where the ‘Charity Wives’ approach Scrooge and ask him what he can contribute to the needy. Of course we know what his initial response is — he doesn’t think he should be bothered with the troubles of those less fortunate than him.

“What I see in our community is exactly the opposite, and I see examples of that every day almost anywhere I look,” said Anderson.

“The people involved in this production are even an example. Whenever we have knocked on a door — whether we are looking for sponsors or musicians or an audience — people have opened their doors to us and offered whatever they have to give because they know it will help their neighbors.”

Performances are Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 12-14 and Friday-Sunday, Oct. 20-22. Doors open at 6:30 and performances begin at 7 p.m.

The Sunday performance is at 6 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for members, $12 reduced and $15 for general admission and are available at Red Rock Books and at the door.

Pictured: A chorus of restless spirits, led by Phillip Randolph as Jacob Marley (in pinstripes) taunt Ebenezer Scrooge (portrayed by Bill Farris, front and center) during “Link by Link.” -- Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2017-10-06