A Christmas Carol

If you think your kids won’t enjoy live theatre, here’s how to test your theory.

By Andrew Andrews

Jody Satriani, Ellie DeMann, Rik Lopes, Duane Joseph Olson and Joe Felece harmonize A Christmas Carol at The CENTER for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, an annual holiday tradition. Original photos by Olivia Michaels Bogert.

Who doesn’t know the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge, the uber-crumpity old miser who has a full-blown change of heart after three visiting ghosts show him the past, present and future one Christmas eve?

And let’s be honest: it’s hard not to sing along with a carol or two during this holiday season, despite how much even the best of us might like to complain about how quickly they start to grow tiring.

Perhaps that’s why the CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck conjures up their musical rendition of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol during this time of year, providing an opportunity for young and old to come together in the warmth of their beautiful theatre and rejoice in the traditions that have made December “the most wonderful time of the year” for ages (and all-ages).

In this production, a cast of eight community members delivers a light-hearted, often comedic version of the tale, with each performer getting their turn to break out into a solo rendition of a carol you’ll instantly recognize. And feel free to sing along—especially when it comes to The Twelve Days of Christmas, where the audience is encouraged to join in on the fun.

Harriet Luongo, Andy Crispell and Jovan Bradley complete the cast.

One of my favorite childhood memories of Christmas is of visiting my cousins: before dinner, my sister, cousins and I would develop and rehearse a performance of lip-syncing to songs that were popular at the time, and after we ate, we’d put on the show for the grown-ups.

If we had decided to perform A Christmas Carol instead—and somehow convinced our parents to play along—I think it would have turned out a lot like this.

Get my drift? Even a critic doesn’t want to be caught saying “Bah! Humbug!” at Christmastime!

Although it wouldn’t be fair to review this as a typical production at the CENTER (or any other serious venue), it’s a wonderful opportunity to introduce your children to the world of live theatre, as evidenced by the audience comprised largely of families. Even at its scariest (when the Ghost of Christmas Future appears) there isn’t much to fear, and considering its focus on the music rather than the moral, perhaps the title should be changed to All the Christmas Carols instead of the singular “A!”

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Andrew Andrews attended A Christmas Carol at The Center for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck on Friday, December 10, 2021 @ 7:00pm to write this review.