Through Dec. 31, fans of "A Christmas Carol" can jump in the sleigh and head down to Plays and Players Theatre in Rittenhouse Square. There, they will be treated to “The Carols,” 1812 Productions’ unique take on Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale.
“Set in the 1940s during World War II, all of the men are away at war and the ladies have to put on the annual production of 'A Christmas Carol' themselves,” production director and 1812 Productions co-founder Jennifer Childs says.
Childs goes on to explain that the only person who shows up to the auditions is an out-of-work Catskills comic who is passing through the small town en route to Florida.
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“This is about making something right with all the wrong people,” Childs explained. “It expands what the ideas of ‘community’ are.”
"The Carols" features superb local talent such as Mary Martello, the “grande dame of Philadelphia theatre” in the lead role of Betty the Landlady, who is “shut in by memories she cannot leave behind.” Rounding out the cast are the “singing sisters” Rachel Camp, Emily Kleimo and Caroline Dooner, as well as Anthony Lawton and T.J. Harris.
Not only do audiences get to enjoy a humorous yet heartfelt take on the original "Christmas Carol" story, but they will also be treated to music throughout the performance that, in the words of Childs, “combines songs with a 1940s-esque feel to them with contemporary musical theater songs.” Childs provides the lyrics for the musical numbers, with Monica Stephenson responsible for the music itself. It is Childs’ third successful musical, following "Cherry Bomb" in 2008 and the one-woman comedy "I Will Not Go Gently" earlier in 2016.
With its dazzling set design by Lance Kniskern, Christopher Colucci and Drew Billiau, costumes by Janus Stefanowicz and choreography by Karen Getz, Childs is proud of the work of her cast and crew and believes the show fulfills 1812 Productions’ tendency to “laugh with abandon.”
Tickets for 1812 Productions’ performance of The Carols range from $28 to $45 and can be purchased at the box office or through their website at 1812productions.org.