Hindi Greenberg: LeGacy’s “Scrooge” is a holiday treat
December 1, 2016
As the song says, "Everyone needs a little Christmas now" — for the uplift and cheer it can bring, even in the dreariest of times. LeGacy Productions understands this need and, each year for the past eight, has given to our community the gift of a joyous and fun holiday show. This year is no different, with their delightful production of "Scrooge."
Based on Charles Dickens' classic, "A Christmas Carol," Rodger Hoopman adapted "Scrooge" into a musical, composing original music and lyrics and changing some of the scenes and dialog. And for the past 37 years, Hoopman has presented this musical at the Chautauqua Playhouse in Carmichael, with himself starring as the eponymous title character. This year, we have the good fortune to have the production, including Hoopman and the set, moved to the Nevada Theatre for its 38th year.
Most of what everyone loves about the traditional play is included: the "bah humbug," Scrooge's oppressed accounting clerk, chained and clanking Marley, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, Tiny Tim, and more, but there are a few added scenes that really appealed to the kids in the audience. A slapstick routine by two undertakers attempting to take Scrooge's casket out of his bedroom elicited hoots of laughter from the youngsters.
Hoopman IS Scrooge. He incorporates everything in his appearance and presentation that Scrooge should be and that the audience expects–mordant and bitter at first, then marveling at what he is shown by the ghosts, and eventually exhibiting the glee and incorporating the lessons in humanity to which he is exposed. The balance of the acting troupe contributes greatly to the totality, exhibiting fluid ensemble dynamics, good singing and dancing and believable characterizations. I particularly liked Sara Noah as the Ghost of Christmas Past and loved her light-infused costume. Although the singing was to a recorded music track, the liveliness of the singers, along with their energetic hoofing (choreographed by Dinah Smith), created a tuneful, feel-good atmosphere.
Working with Hoopman, Director Sue LeGate Halford wonderfully uses the entire set and theater for entrances, movement upon the stage and exits, as well as having the ghosts pop out of surprising places. The set, originally designed and built 38 years ago, is a marvel — lovely to look at, with a very Victorian atmosphere and extremely functional. Sound design by Warren Harrison and Ron Knable and light design by Les Solomon contributed greatly to the ambiance. And Sharon Sciabica's superb costumes immediately set the time period of the play.
This is a family-friendly, fun, enjoyable play. Grab your kids, grandkids or some neighborhood children and go see this delightful Christmas musical that will entertain and inspire young ones who haven't before seen it, but will also please you jaded playgoers. You'll all walk out of the theater with smiles on your faces–and maybe even be a bit nicer to everyone, as well. "Scrooge" continues at the Nevada Theatre through Dec. 24 (see http://www.legacy-presents.com/upcoming-shows.html for details and showtimes.)
Hindi Greenberg wishes that everyone could learn the ghosts' lessons and exhibit a similar, loving change of attitude towards their national and worldwide counterparts; generosity, love for every living thing, charity, open-mindedness. To quote another song, "What a Wonderful World This Would Be."