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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 7, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 49
A Christmas Carol for musical theater fans
Arts & Entertainment
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A Christmas Carol for musical theater fans

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

SCROOGE: THE MUSICAL
SEATTLE MUSICAL THEATRE
Through December 9


Scrooge: The Musical, now playing at Seattle Musical Theatre, is a sweet and completely unchallenging musical version of A Christmas Carol. Leslie Bricusse wrote the entire thing - book, music, and lyrics - and he hews to the story, to the letter. Still, this sort of fare seems exactly what people want to see this time of year, if we are to judge by the packed theaters offering A Christmas Carol. (ACT's version is in its 37th year!)

The production at SMT is a creditable one, with a strong performance by J. Stegar Thompson as Scrooge, though it's a bit on the kitschy side. The style that director Steven Fogell seems to prefer is a bit stagey - a 'let's all run to the front of the stage, set ourselves, and then start a song' style. But there are some strong singers in the cast, particularly Kate Sumpter and Rebecca Maiten as the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, respectively, and adorable little trouper Kitana Turnbull as Tiny Tim.

And though you likely know the story all too well, by the end even this most predictable of musicals might cause a moist eye or two. The songs render the subject nicely, including 'Happiness' and 'The Milk of Human Kindness,' reminding us that we can and should treat each other better.

SCROOGE LIVES
A scene where Scrooge forgives every debt owed him led to 'what if' ruminations: What if U.S. banks, holding hundreds of thousands of underwater mortgages, practiced debt forgiveness for Christmas this year? Wouldn't that instantly change millions of lives for the better? What if practicing debt forgiveness re-levels the economic inequities of our current society? It was an unexpected mental detour.

The set, also designed by Fogell, is a nicely bleak grey, black, and white town square, which allows the cast to stand out in lovely costumes by DodiRose Zooropa. The choreography by Joanna Hardie is suitably sweet. Spooky lighting by Richard Schaefer and spooky sound by Kevin Heard rounded out the technical support.

An important, and sometimes missing of late, ingredient to the atmosphere - a strongly performing small orchestra - is led by music director Josh Anderson. The wind section was note-perfect and the sounds melded very professionally.

The production is totally family-friendly, allowing for the youngest tykes able to sit still for a longish first act (roughly 75 minutes). There's no swearing and a couple of chaste stage kisses are as adult as it gets.

If you like your Christmas Carol musicalized, this is the version for you. And you'll know exactly what you're getting. For more information, go to www.seattlemusicaltheatre.org or call (206) 363-2809.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters.

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