Mrs. Scrooge the Musical Reviews
review - Mrs. Scrooge The Musical
Mrs. Scrooge The Musical
book by & directed by Diane Namm
music by Robert Agis; lyrics by Namm & Ed Cha (with 2 additional songs by Terence Davis)
Santa Monica Playhouse December 8-11; Highways, SM December 16-18, 22-24
At Christmas I do my best to avoid seeing Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol
. Bah, humbug! I've seen so many theatre and film productions of it and even played parts in it as an actor, and as timeless and wonderful as it is, people forget that there are other rarely done Christmas plays and musicals just begging to be mounted. I made an exception this year, went to Mrs. Scrooge The Musical
in Santa Monica, and am so glad I did. There is something about Diane Namm's script and the imaginative execution of it that creates a thoroughly captivating experience - its tunes, the actors, twists in the story... and the overall contemporary upbeat ambiance. It's a joyful, tuneful ride.
I don't want to give too much away, but Scrooge (D. Kevin Kelly) takes a backseat to his wife Mrs. Scrooge (Kelly Derouin), a corporate executive who believes herself "perfectly entitled", thereby mistreating her assistant Miss Cratchit (Heather Cadarette) and putting a damper on everything Christmas. A Christmas Carol
in reverse, it is she, therefore, who does the hating, as he attempts to lead a somewhat normal life. Namm has ingeniously interwoven into the plot, borrowing from It's a Wonderful Life
, a Teen Angel (David Burrus) who longs to earn his wings, and must do so by converting Mrs. Scrooge. There are also evil ghosts headed by the Ghost of Christmas Future (Jake Hamilton Lewis, also playing Mrs. Scrooge's father) who plot all things ominous in the story.
There's some snappy choreography (Evie Hutton), many delightful tunes composed by Namm and Ed Cha, and even great audience interaction with the characters. Chris Stone has designed an ultra modern set which serves interior/exterior venues efficiently, including two rear projection screens for various colorful holiday pictures, and Rosalie Alvarez has designed some lovely costumes. Namm's direction is fast paced and bright throughout, never letting us forget that though this is a fable, it's one to be ultimately savored.
The cast is sublime. Derouin is appropriately stern and obnoxious as Mrs. Scrooge. She also has a winningly beautiful singing voice. Cadarette as the loyal servant Cratchit is an equally adept actress and singer. Jake Hamilton Lewis is delightfully dextrous as the Lead Ghost and David Burrus' in.your.face
attitude as Teen Angel is a winner. Amber Morse is terribly fetching as Head Angel and deserves a number all by herself, as does Kelly as the downtrodden Mr. Scrooge/Charles Dickens. Bravo as well to Asher Bank as Tiny Tim, and to ensemble members: Lee Pitts, Katy Tabb, Claiborne Thomas Jr., Jesse Turtz, Sarah Ann Vail and Frank Weidner. This is a super talented ensemble!
Go see Mrs. Scrooge The Musical presented by West of Broadway! It's a 60-minute original crowd pleaser like no other. You will have a ball!
5 out of 5 stars
PHOTO BY ROGER MORANTE
Kelly Derouin (in blue sweater) who plays Mrs. Scrooge shows her revitalized Christmas spirit.
“Mrs. Scrooge” Adds Twists, Lifts Christmas Spirit At West of Broadway Theater Company
POSTED DEC. 13, 2011, 8:15:00 AM
ROGER MORANTE / MIRROR CONTRIBUTOR
The Christmas season has arrived in Santa Monica with “Mrs. Scrooge,” a musical stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” which is being presented by the West of Broadway Theater Company through Dec. 24.
The musical is written and directed by Santa Monica-based children’s book author and filmmaker Diane Namm who tweaked the timeless tale into a 21st century comical masterpiece.
In doing so, she has accomplished a highly original musical similar in the methodology undertaken by Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” who rewrote Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in the 1960s.
Namm’s adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” injects a children’s twist by inventing Mrs. Scrooge as the lead character, a grumpy lady who hates Christmas.
The musical is filled with singing, dancing, and compelling Christmas cheer that will soften even the grumpiest of spirits.
The musical is simple and smashes any outdated expectations by introducing another new character – Teen Angel.
“As a children’s book author, I adapt classic tales for a young audience, and respectfully stay true to the style and story of the original author. In my stage plays, I’m far more irreverent,” said Namm. “I take a lot of liberties to create stage magic, infusing the story with elements that aren’t found within the original tale, because I want the kids to be engaged on an interactive level.”
Teen Angel, played by the loveable David Burrus, allows the musical to relate to current events affecting society.
One example is “I Want My Wings,” an “Occupy Heaven” protest song performed by Burrus as he attempts to secure his angel wings from Head Angel, instead of completing his mission to convince a selfish and grumpy Mrs. Scrooge to like the spirit of gift giving.
Mrs. Scrooge, played by Kelly Derouin, does her best to rebuke the angel and the ghosts, but is eventually convinced to be charitable on Christmas.
“In my adaptations I like to pay homage to classics in all media,” said Namm. “In “Mrs. Scrooge,” there’s a tribute to “It’s A Wonderful Life” in the form of Teen Angel. When I adapted Beatrix Potter’s classic “Peter Rabbit,” calling it “Bunny Tales Episode IV: The Bunny Wars,” I was paying tribute to “Star Wars.”
Namm’s other stage adaptations are “Huck,” based on Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “Red Chief” based on O.Henry’s short story “The Ransom of Red Chief.”
Namm has been writing screenplays since 1998 and stage plays since 2005. She also writes adaptations of classic novels for young readers for Sterling Books, a division of Barnes and Noble Booksellers.
The tale of “Mrs. Scrooge” whisks the audience through the peak events of “A Christmas Carol,” adds Teen Angel’s introduction in heaven, and follows Mrs. Scrooge’s Christmas shopping bonanza (she buys all the gifts for herself). The musical follows her back to her house where she fires her upbeat and gift-giving employee Miss Cratchit, played by the carefree Heather Cadarette.
Mr. Scrooge (D. Kevin Kelly) plays a perfectly slavish husband who follows Mrs. Scrooge’s every command without question, which adds to the comic relief of the musical.
Modern day adaptations of the three ghosts set to visit Mrs. Scrooge set the stage for some eerie rib-tickling delights.
The Ghost of Christmas Present adds more laughter and song and is played by bushy blonde-haired and fun loving Frank Weidner.
The Ghost of Christmas’ Future – that in this play speaks and interacts with the main characters – is only interested in character’s expiration dates and is played by the talented Jake Hamilton Lewis.
At the end of the play, audience members are given the chance to interact with cast members by tossing rubber snowballs at the goading Ghost of Christmas Future.
The music in “Mrs. Scrooge” is original. Composed and arranged by Robert Agis and Michael “Mac” Cooney with lyrics written by Diane Namm with Ed Cha; with two additional songs by Terence Davis.
“Mrs. Scrooge” is performing additional shows through Dec. 11 as a guest production at the Other Space, Santa Monica Playhouse on 1211 Fourth Street in Santa Monica and at the Highways Performance Space at 1651 18th Street from Dec. 16-18 and Dec. 22-24. Show times vary from afternoon performances at 3 p.m. to evening performances at 7:30 p.m.
For tickets and further information, visit http://www.westofbroadway.org or call 424.234.9962.
A Tubular Christmas Story
By Joe Lapin
Every Christmas, you watch the same old movies — A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street, and A Christmas Carol. Don't you think it's about time for some modernized Christmas performances? Instead of Ralphie begging his parents for a BB gun, let's change the scenario by making him ask his parents for a Barbie Doll. And what about Miracle on 34th Street? Instead of Kris Kringle actually being Santa Claus, why not just make him into a loveable schizophrenic? And, I don't know, how about we change Scrooge from A Christmas Carol into a woman and reverse old British gender roles? Well, you're in luck, because this Sunday, West of Broadway performs Mrs. Scrooge the Musical, a hip adaptation where Scrooge's wife is a powerful CEO. This amazing new musical written by Diane Namm takes aim at the holiday season and Dickens' portrayal of women. Mrs. Scrooge is meaner than Mr. Scrooge and treats her assistant like dirt. Mrs. Scrooge doesn't even believe in ghosts, until the ghost of Christmas Future tries to teach her the true meaning of Christmas. And relax, there's still Tiny Tim. Don't miss this family and feminist friendly adaption of Dickens' classic. Highways Performance Center, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sun., 7:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 3 p.m.; closes Sat., Dec. 24 $20. (424) 234-9962 or westofbroadway.org.
Tucked away on the side streets of Santa Monica, The Highways performance space, (1651 18th St, Santa Monica) is presenting a holiday treat. It's Mrs. Scrooge: The Musical, a modernized adapted version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol ready for family audiences and geared to entertain children and adults alike.
Charles Dickens/Scrooge (D Kevin Kelly)
In this musical tale, Scrooge (D. Kevin Kelly), while himself is reformed, is married to the Mrs. (Kelly Derouin.) A self centered, mean spirited Mrs. Scooge, she doesn't believe in Christmas because of her own past and certainly doesn't believe in the ghosts that her husband claims to have seen. She's even nasty to her poor assistant Miss Cratchit (Heather Cadarette) who is trying to support her orphaned brother Tim (Asher Bank.)
Head Angel (Amber Morse) and Teen Angel (David Burrus)
Meanwhile, up in heaven, a poor Teen Angel (David Burrus) is busy trying to win his wings from the head angel (Amber Morse). He must return to earth and change the life of someone mean. At loss of what to do, he and Charles Dickens (D Kevin Kelly) team up with a devilish figure, the Ghost of Christmas Future (Jake Hamilton Lewis.)
Ghost of Christmas Future (Jake Hamilton Lewis)
I think my favorite song of the evening was the finale, "Angels Are Watching Over Me."
Mrs. Scrooge (Kelly Derouin) and Cratchit (Heather Cadarette)
The dancing, choreographed by Evie Hutton, was perfect as were those in the ensemble - Sarah Ann Vail, Jesse Turtz, Claiborne Thomas Jr., Katy Tabb, and Lee Pitts. Costumes, done by Rosalie Alverez, were wonderful . She was assisted by production assistant, Jenafer Grant and associate producer, Renee Schrader. The minimalistic set, done by Chris Stone, worked wonders for the play. Lights were done by R. Christopher Stokes and sound by Michael Shear, and the stage was managed by Ashly Jo Navarro.
Not only did Diane Namm write it, but she directed it, too, and with the help of Ed Cha wrote all the songs. Original music and arrangements were done by Robert Agis and Michael "Mac" Crowley.
Miss Cratchit and Tiny Tim (Asher Bank)
Former Disney publishing veep and author of 65 books, Diane Namm (www.DianeNamm.com) has turned her many talents into a charming modernized adaptation of A Christmas Carol. "West of Broadway was the perfect company for my script because their motto is literacy through state." She hopes that seeing this interactive play will encourage children to read the book in its original form. Other things by Ms. Namm including film and teleplays as The Sacrifice, The Great American Pigeon Race, Finding Hope, Telemafia, SASA, and We'll Always Have Dingle.
The only unfortunate part is that the play must move around and can only perform and weekends. Be that as it may, they have a 3:00 pm as well as a 7:30 pm performance daily. From Dec 2-4, 16-18, and 22-24 they are at Highways. While December 8-11, the play can be seen at the guest production stage of the Santa Monica Playhouse (1211 4th St., Santa Monica.) Box office for Highways is 424-234-9962.
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