Publisher: Elizabeth Hurd / Managing Director: Adrienne Proctor / Editor: Jillian Pritchard Ball

Lyric Theatre Presents “A Christmas Carol” with a New Twist

W. Jerome Stevenson as Ebenezer Scrooge bonding with Tiny Tim. Photo courtesy of K Talley Photography

Lyric Theatre presents Dickens beloved classic, “A Christmas Carol’ for the tenth anniversary presentation with a twist.  Not the Oliver kind, but a Dickensian twist of venue! The play is at Harn Homestead in Oklahoma City: a location that enables the audience to view the play outdoors.  The scenes take place in the various locations found at the Harn Homestead which makes the audience move from locale to locale as the scenes change.  The show is surprisingly adaptable to all the scenes being presented with the story’s complete integrity and alignment in the outdoor locations.  There is song as well as magic in the production.  Usually Lyric double casts the children in the production for a Holly cast as well as an Ivy cast. However, this year the entire cast is doubled, allowing for greater control over any potential contamination by reducing the actors’ exposure to Covid-19.  Further, as the actors are presenting outdoors, there is no necessity for them to be masked.  Social distancing is always maintained between audience and performer and is greater than 6 feet.  However, the audience is required to wear masks and to be responsible for their social distancing, which is easy to do in the outdoor location.  It is also very easy to see the action in this performance at all times.

The complete Holly cast opening November 5, 2020 alternates with the Ivy cast.  This review will concentrate on the Holly cast and will be updated with more complete review after the Ivy cast is seen later.  Both casts are co-directed by the talented Artistic Director, Michael Baron and his equally talented sidekick Associate Director Ashley Wells.

Mat Govich as Ghost of Christmas Present. Photo courtesy of K. Talley Photography

Leading the performers is the incomparable W. Jerome Stevenson as Ebenezer Scrooge.  His interpretation translates beautifully to the outdoor setting and is delightful in all respects.  Stevenson has had a great deal of experience in a variety of roles and his versatility creates a Scrooge that is very off-putting, the sort of man disliked by all, the sort of man who dislikes all because he is has lost himself.  The transition that Scrooge makes as he visits with each spirit is most heartwarming and real.  He does this without changing his personality, just his outlook that becomes as bright as it once was—as his happiness becomes apparent to all.

 

From left to right, Chris Shepard (Topper), Lexi Windsor (Mrs. Fred’s Aunt), Kristin Küns (Fred’s Wife) and Andi Dema (Fred). Photo courtesy of K. Talley Photography

Andi Dema is Fred, the happy-go-lucky nephew who sees the real Scrooge hidden away and is determined to send his good wishes to Scrooge unrelentingly every Christmas season.  His joy is infectious and his delight at his uncle’s transition is superb.

Charlie Monnot is always a superb Bob Cratchit and Mateja Govich is wonderful in a number of roles, but most evident as the Ghost of Christmas Present.  Lexi Windsor, and Susan Riley are again irrepressible in their roles and their charm is evident throughout the production.  Stephen Hilton and Chris Shepard are  excellent as usual.  Kristen Küns as the Ghost of Christmas Past is always expressive.  Kinley Sharp, Samantha Rother and Saxon Neal round out the slightly smaller cast. 

Lantern bearers or Audience Hosts are Carter Haney, Crayton Haney, Maurice Quintel Simmons and Hanna Dedmon.  They do an excellent job of shepherding their flock (the audience) from place to place, watching out for our welfare and assisting us in social distancing. 

Kristin Küns as Ghost of Christmas Past
Photo courtesy of K. Talley Photography

The cast performs beautifully although Tiny Tim tends to be a trifle wooden.  “A Christmas Carol” has always been an excellent show for kids, genuinely entertaining family fun although some children are a little too rambunctious to sit still for the show.  This is their moment.  This is a show for those energetic children to enjoy the magic of live theatre with no parental worries.  They can move!  The show runs about 75 minutes, and the time whizzes by, the audience never stands long enough to get tired or walks far enough to get achy feet. Dressing warmly is an excellent idea with a warm wrap for everyone in case of a breezy chill.  Frankly, there is a little worry for one in the senior season of life, arthritis and what not, because physical discomfort is not a factor.  The path is well-lighted, and the scenes are short. This is the time for Grandma to take that spirited grandchild child out for an evening’s entertainment and come home delighted with herself, her grandchild and life in general.  Do it.  Follow up with a hot cocoa at home for the little one as well, and possibly a hot toddy for Grandma!

Call Lyric Theatre Box Office at 405-524-9312 or visit on line at www.lyrictheatreokc.com The Harn Homestead is located just south of the capital 1721 N. Lincoln in Oklahoma City.  This is one Christmas Carol you don’t want to miss.  “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens staged by Lyric Theatre and directed by the Baron/Wells team and starring some of the finest performers in the region is playing with the Holly or Ivy Cast through December 27, 2020.  Bringing hope to our patrons for 2021.

Stephen Hilton as Mr. Fezziwig. Photo courtesy of K. Talley Photography