A BEAUTIFUL NEW PRODUCTION OF ‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’ BRINGS BACK THE HOLIDAY CHEER WE NEED.
THIS NATIONAL TOUR CAST INCLUDES MANY LOCAL FAVORITES INCLDUING;
Monica Ho, Samuel Faustine, Rodney Jackson Jr., Annie Sherman, Ash Malloy, Colin Thompson and Ben Beckley.
Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL is the holiday season's most famous ghost story. It has been adapted many times. It's a staple show of many Bay Area stages, but this season we are treated to perhaps the best version of Ebenezer I have seen (and I am a fanboy for ACT’s James Carpenters’ Scrooge). This Broadway/SF production stars OBIE winner Francois Battiste as Scrooge, and a cast of 15 that includes many Bay Area locals including the accomplished Monica Ho and Colin Thomson. Ambassador Theatre Group, producers of the five-time Tony Award®-winning production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, is now on stage at the Golden Gate Theatre only through December 26, 2021.
“I will not feel guilty. I will not question myself. I am a great man,” Ebenezer Scrooge
Jack Thorne’s adaptation brings a new life into the old classic, creating an enchanting spectacle that is truly breathtaking. Produced with a balance of old tale and story telling by original director Matthew Warchus. His new production is infused with rich atmosphere and spirited music, and cheer that brings tears to any heart.
Featuring the honored Battiste in phenomenal form as Scrooge, this Broadway tour is delightful to watch. As you find your seat - the cast is already on stage dressed in top hats and vested Dickens best. Tossing fruit, candy and music to the audience. All the cast plays instruments as a quartet of strings and accordion plays on the stage. Arrive early so you don’t miss the pre show.
Thorne, who won a Tony for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, brings subtle changes to the iconic tale more diverse with color blind casting. The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future are all women, dressed in rich pastel gowns and bonnets, designed by Rob Howell. The subtext is his sister, aunt or even mother. Ghost of Christmas past played by Broadway vet Nancy Opel is seen pushing an empty cart with his childhood toys. Immediately as Scrooge regresses to a child, we see a troubled abused child. Thorne moving in and out of Scrooge reveals a more human abused side.
Scrooge’s abused boyhood is explored in this new take as his father, played by the powerful Ben Beckley, is the boy's original bully. A drunken tyrant, never satisfied with the money, Ebenezer is sent home from his apprenticeship with the jolly undertaker, Fezziwig, played by local favorite Colin Thomson. This is a comeback role for Thomson that he has done in the past for both ACT and Center Rep, he is marvelous in this performance.
The honors for Warchus' production team that swept the 2021 Tonys - is legit. When the dead Marley enters, dragging chains from the spirit world to alert Scrooge about the three visitors, the effects are bewitching. Warchus and his team include creative collaborators Rob Howell set, Hugh Vanstone lighting and Simon Baker breath taking sound design. The wicked sound cues are non-stop as doors slam, and lanterns fly by your head.
Dozens of lanterns are strung all over the theater while others are piled high on either side of the set. Scrooge will finally see the light as Tiny Tim, played by New York youth actors Charlie Berghoffer IV and Gabe Kong, brings tears to his eyes.
Howell’s eye popping set features wooden strongboxes stamped with the company name Scrooge & Marley that can be stacked to form a desk or a chair. The doors that rise like cofins from the floor keep the world confined from Scrooge. The bullied clerk, Bob Cratchit, played by Ramzi Khalaf and his chipper nephew, Fred, played by the terrific Sam Faustine, another favorite of the Bay stages.
We have all seen this story so many times, it's hard to imagine the tale of Scrooge giving us anything new. Yet Thorne’s version brings to light a complex bully and a haunting darker side. Warchus and Thorne use English story traditions, using the strong ensemble to narrate plot in song choral voices and bells that included dance. Including a wet snowfall that rains down over the audience. Sure I was expecting the snow - but its richness was impressive.
Directed by Jamie Manton based on the original direction by Matthew Warchus this stunning production is filled with tears, laughs and cheers. The cast is glorious and the final bow and standing ovation is not really for Scrooge's transformation, but to the superb young actors who play Tiny Tim. The youngster even gets to chime the final note on a caroling bell in the elegant instrumental encore of “Silent Night”. You will leave the snow filled theatre in tears and be set to have a comeback family Holiday. This production is a must see, tickets are easy to get and 45.00 RUSH seats will take you to the best seats at the Cratchit family's holiday meal.
AN OLD VIC PRODUCTION AND BROADWAYSF PRESENT
‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’
By Jack Thorne,
Originally conceived by Matthew Warchus
Directed by Jamie Manton
FRANCOIS BATTISTE as Ebenezer Scrooge
Must close-Dec. 26
Where: Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., San Francisco
Tickets: $56-$256 (subject to change); www.broadwaysf.com
PHOTO CREDIT: JOAN MARCUS
IN-PERSON RUSH TICKETS
A limited number of $45 Rush tickets will be available for every performance beginning 2 hours prior to curtain at the Golden Gate Theatre Box Office. Tickets are subject to availability. Cash or credit. 2 per person. Rush tickets are void if resold.
MOBILE RUSH TICKETS
Download the TodayTix app in the iOS App Store or Google Play Store to unlock the Rush ticketing feature by sharing on Facebook or Twitter through the app. Check back in the app at 9am for access to exclusive day-of $45 Rush tickets for every performance.
Producer Credits: A CHRISTMAS CAROL is produced by Tom Smedes, Heather Shields, Nathan Gehan, Jamison Scott, Catherine Schreiber, Peter Stern, Xin Wen, Cornice Productions, Jack Lane, Instone Productions, Nancy Gibbs/Joseph Longthorne, Mark Lonow & JoAnne Astrow, J. Scott & Sylvia G. Bechtel, Walport Productions, Alexandra Weinstein & Tobi Pilavin Weinstein, Propaganda Productions/42nd.Club, Beth Lenke/Wolfstone Productions, Tanninger Entertainment, CHK Productions/Louise H. Beard & Seriff Productions, Mark Lippman, Fiona Howe Rudin/Sammy Lopez, David Lambert/Shawn Arani, Brian Mutert & Derek Perrigo/Gary & Reenie Heath, and Terry Schnuck/Joel t Newman, with Associate Producer Chase Thomas.
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The cast includes Ben Beckley as Father/Marley, Charlie Berghoffer IV and Gabriel Kong alternating as Tiny Tim, Samuel Faustine as Ferdy/Nicholas, LeRoy S. Graham III as Fred, Monica Ho as Little Fan, Ramzi Khalaf as Bob Cratchit, Stephanie Lambourn as Mrs. Cratchit, Ash Malloy as Belle, Kris Saint-Louis as Young Ebenezer, Annie Sherman as Jess, Wiley Naman Strasser as George, and Colin Thomson as Fezziwig. Rodney Earl Jackson Jr. and Helen Siveter are standbys. Seven of these actors call the Bay Area home. They are Samuel Faustine, Rodney