Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is well known to everyone and touches every person in a privately unique way. Stephen P. Scott’s adaptation “A Territorial Christmas Carol” reaches out specifically to residents of Central Oklahoma and has become a tradition for the Pollard Theatre. The show sets the story in Oklahoma Territory just after the land run over a century ago. In this past century, Oklahomans have seen many privations from the hardships of settling an area overnight to the cycles of drought and flood, and wind. It is especially heartwarming to see how our forefathers overcome the sufferings of the prairie with faith and generosity.
W. Jerome Stevenson’s direction makes “A Territorial Christmas Carol” a new and exciting show every year. This year the production adds some new faces and expands on favorite characters with a little more humor than previous years. Perhaps that humor is exactly what is needed to face the future, as the settlers required humor in their day.
James Ong is Ebenezer Scrooge once again, and this year he presents an even more delightful Scrooge—first ridiculous in his miserliness and second, joyous in his transformation. James Hughes is also back as Bob Cratchit, Ben Moody and Mr. Fezziwig, although the Mrs. is now Megan Montgomery. They have an excellent rapport as if Montgomery has been playing the role for as many years as Hughes. Timothy Stewart is Dickens and Topper and once again excites us as a storyteller. In addition to directing, W. Jerome Stevenson is the frightening Jacob Marley as well as a Civil War Veteran and the settler, John Kettle. Trinity Goodwin is the beautiful Ghost of Christmas Past as well as Caroline and others and exhibits a great component to the cast. Emily Frances Brown is the lovely niece as well as Belle, the lost love, and she stands up well in her performances in her second year with the show. Gwendolyn Evans is also in her second year, and this year her Widow Brown nearly steals the show!
New faces include Joshua McGowan as Scrooge’s nephew, the youthful apprentice Scrooge and the undertaker. Also new is Jared Blount as Hamilton Moore, the Ghost of Christmas Present and other cameos including the pawnbroker. These two are hilarious in the scene at the Pawnbrokers with Widow Brown and others almost to the point of caricature. The humor is a nice offset to the tragedy that may unfold if Scrooge doesn’t wake up and ‘come to the party’ of life.
The children come in two casts so as not to overload young school children with excessive rehearsals. This also gives a great opportunity for more young actors to gain experience. The cast A Tiny Tim Cratchit is Callen Stewart and he is a very refreshing Tiny Tim. Cast B is graced with Gracie Lugo in the role. William Moody and Peter Cratchit is Matt Maloy from Cast A and, Kaleb Brussett carries the role from Cast B. Both children show a great deal of promise. The remaining cast members from Cast A and B are far too numerous to list, however they all demonstrate a great deal of talent and dedication under Stevenson’s guidance. The casts alternate so patrons who wish to see a particular young person should inquire at the box office to make sure they are reserving the right night.
“A Territorial Christmas Carol: An Oklahoma Tradition” plays at the Pollard through December 23, 2012 with Sunday 2:00pm matinee performances as well as Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00pm. Visit www.thepollard.org or call 405-282-2800 and reserve tickets early to ensure not missing this great tradition! The Pollard Theatre is located in downtown Guthrie at 120 West Harrison Avenue.