Philadelphia's Favorite Holiday Tradition is at the Walnut, Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL!

September 4, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA: Families across the Delaware Valley have made Walnut Street Theatre for Kids’ production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol a Philadelphia tradition. This delightful musical adaptation of Dickens’ classic novel is a wonderful and fun way for kids in grades K through 9th and their adult friends to celebrate the joys and warmth of the holiday season. A Christmas Carol runs from December 1 – December 22 on the Walnut Street Theatre’s Mainstage.

A Christmas Carol transports audiences back to 1840s London, where they meet bitter, greedy, old Ebenezer Scrooge. Ebenezer despises Christmas and “Bah-Humbugs” every glimmer of holiday cheer, but that all changes when he receives some ghostly visitors one fateful Christmas Eve. As Scrooge travels through his past, present and future, the magic and merriment of the season inspires him to change his miserly ways.

Each year, families take a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season to watch this heartwarming story come to life right before their eyes. This charming adaptation of the classic tale is filled with laughter, whimsical spirits, original songs and the happiness of the holidays. Director Bill Van Horn shares his vision for A Christmas Carol, “This year’s production will evoke the spirit of Dickens with the use of traditional instruments and a dynamic ensemble who will enhance the story by creating authentic and live sound effects. Audiences will be caught up in the spirit of the season and be amazed as snow falls in the theatre!”

Students across the greater Philadelphia area also enjoy A Christmas Carol when teachers bring their classes annually. They read the book in school and take a trip to the Walnut to see the story live on stage. Sharing A Christmas Carol with students is important to Van Horn who states, “Using Dickens’ writing to expose children to theatre is a wonderful thing. Creating a production from a piece of familiar literature encourages discussions of imagination in the classroom before they even enter the theatre. Dickens was a lover of theatre himself and his language transfers to the stage beautifully.”

Van Horn, who was previously commissioned to adapt the story for the Walnut, also directed A Christmas Carol in 2009 and 2010. He collaborated with Michael Borton to write the book and music. He has appeared onstage in several WST productions, including: Curtains and Fiddler on the Roof (among others). Backstage, he has directed productions for all three Walnut series, including The Dishwashers, Forrest: A Riot of Dreams and 2008’s hit production of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. He also wrote and starred in our acclaimed Studio 3 productions of O Captain, My Captain: Whitman’s Lincoln in 2009 and the world premiere of The Prince in 2010 (co-written with Armen Pandola).

Walnut Street Theatre welcomes back Music and Vocal Director Mark Yurkanin. Most recently, Yurkanin provided music and vocal direction for WST for Kids hit productions Miss Nelson is Missing! and The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley. Additional members of the creative team include returning artists: Samuel Reyes (Choreographer), Glen Sears (Set Design), Mark Grady (Lighting Design) and Ryan Peavey (Sound Design). Jennifer Lanyon and Anya Loverdi, this season’s costume apprentices, will design period costumes for the production.

Benjamin Lovell fulfills the tradition, returning to the Walnut stage as Ebenezer Scrooge. Audiences may remember Lovell, who played Cogsworth in the National Tour of Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast. He has performed locally at the Media Theatre, the Ritz and the Shawnee Playhouse, and is also known for the locally renowned high-end retail shoe stores that bear his name.

The cast includes local talents Johnny Smith, Will Harrell, Matthew Mastronardi, Joseph Mancini and Ramir Davis of Philadelphia, PA; Gabriela Barrett of Wynnewood, PA; Gregory Bradbury of Ardmore, PA; Gianna Ernst of Hainesport, PA; Lauren Grajewski of Newtown Square, PA; Janet McWilliams of Havertown, PA; Justin Accardi and Jordi Wallen of Cherry Hill, NJ. Also joining the cast will be WST Acting Apprentices Mike Dorsey of Galax, VA; Marissa Barnathan of Havertown, PA; Jessica Johnson of Richmond, VA; and Jesse Kirkland of Upper Marlboro, MD.

A Christmas Carol has matinee performances on December 1, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19 and 22. The Wednesday, December 12th performance will be ASL interpreted and Audio Described. Tickets are only $10 - $16. For tickets and information, please call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets can also be purchased online at Ticketmaster or by visiting the Walnut’s website at www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org.