Friday, November 29, 2019

The Season of the Carol

Thanksgiving is over, which means we now begin... the season of A Christmas Carol.

I wrote my own two-person adaptation of the Charles Dickens novella which was done by the Epiphany Theater Company in Saratoga Springs in 2007, but it is far from the only adaptation of the piece, and quite a few Carols will be in the New York area this season.

The first one I'll be seeing is A Christmas Carol in Harlem, which Classical Theatre of Harlem is doing December 4th through 21st in Aaron Davis Hall on the campus of City College, located of course in Harlem. This updated version of the story has been adapted by Shawn René Graham to include original and classic holiday carols tinged with gospel, hip-hop, pop, and R&B influences.

On Saturday, December 7th, the Friends of Dickens New York will be welcoming U.K.-based actor Dominic Gerrard as he gives his one-man rendition of A Christmas Carol at the Epiphany Branch of the New York Public Library. The performance is free and open to the public. It begins at 1:00 pm, and will be followed by a meeting of the Friends of Dickens (which I will be facilitating) discussing Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop. If you haven't read that novel, you're welcome just to stop by and watch the performance, though!

But wait... there's more! Actor Jeffries Thaiss and musician Eric Scott Anthony will be performing a two-person adaptation of the Carol at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Upper Manhattan from December 12th to 14th. They will then bring their show to Historic Richmond Town on Staten Island on Sunday the 15th, and then they have a one-night-only performance at the Church of Sweden on 48th Street on Wednesday the 18th. If you miss all of those performances, you can then catch them at the Al Hirschfeld Gallery located in the Mansion/Museum of Greenwich Village from December 20th through 22nd.

A number of Carols have been annual traditions in New York, and for the seventh year, John Kevin Jones will perform his one-man version of the story at the Merchant House Museum on East 4th Street. Jones uses Dickens's own reading version for his performance, and his show will be running from November 29th until January 5th. I don't think I'll be getting to that one this year, but one of these days I really need to get down to see the Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre Company as they perform Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol at the historic Conference House. This year, they'll be performing from December 12th to the 22nd.

If bigger productions are what you seek, the Carol is also running until January 5th on Broadway, where an adaptation by Jack Thorne is playing at the Lyceum Theatre, starring Campbell Scott, Andrea Martin, and LaChanze. Whichever version you see, give the old Alastair Sim movie a rest this year, and take advantage of the opportunity to see A Christmas Carol live!