A CHRISTMAS CAROL
By Charles Dickens
December 3 - December 24, 2010
Travel back in time to Victorian England where ghosts, time travel, and memories help a cold and lonely old miser regain his heart. Our adaptation remains remarkably true to Dickens' original book. Dickens' story seems best told in his words, allowing audiences to hear the richness of his language, and to experience the story of Scrooge's encounters with the spirits of past, present, and yet-to-come in the way that the author intended.
Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CHARLES DICKENS (1812 - 1870) was the most popular author of his day. Many of his novels have become staples of English literature, and continue to be adapted for the stage, film, and television. Some of these include Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. A Christmas Carol has become a perennial favorite.
Though his father’s work as a clerk in the Navy pay office afforded the family middle-class status, his father’s extravagance and ineptitude with money led the family to debtors’ prison. During that period Dickens was pulled out of boarding school and worked in a shoe blacking factory, and though the phase was brief (the family was allowed to leave after a few months), it had a profound effect on him. He returned to school, and by his mid-teens was working as a clerk in a law office, which led to shorthand reporting in the law courts, and finally, to reporting Parliamentary debates for the newspaper Morning Chronicle.
Dickens’ experience as a child in the blacking factory left him with a strong sense of the injustices forced upon the poor. Over time, Dickens’ political and social views began to solidify in his writing, much of which offered a biting commentary on Victorian England. Whereas most novelists prior to Dickens were from the upper class, Dickens’ lower, middle class background gave him a different perspective on the world. His novels, stories, and essays continually returned to the themes of poverty, homelessness, and the plight of the poor.
In time, Dickens began to associate society’s evils with the concentration of power in the financially stable middle class. He felt they controlled the institutions that supposedly aided the poor, but instead turned them into profit-making devices to service their own needs. He felt the workhouses were badly run, the poor were given insufficient access to education, and that the lack of child labor laws was deplorable. In his novels, Dickens called for reforms to remedy these situations and others.
ABOUT THE CAST
TOM BUTLER (Ebenezer Scrooge) is excited to be back in Portland for A Christmas Carol. In previous PSC seasons he appeared in Bach At Leipzig, Two Rooms, and Magnetic North. In addition to acting both regionally (Bershire Theatre Festival, Philadelphia Theatre Co.) and Off-Broadway (Ohio Theater, Epic Theatre Ensemble) Tom directs and teaches at universities around the country, including Long Island, Willamette, and New York University. Education: BFA Brown University, MFA NYU Graduate Acting, NYU directing fellowship.
TORSTEN HILLHOUSE (Nephew Fred) Returning to Portland Stage, Torsten is excited to be tackling this great play. Previous Portland Stage credits include The 39 Steps and Out of Sterno. NYC credits include Henry Wishcamper's The Polish Play produced by Katharsis Theater, Tender with Thirteenth Night Theatre, Touchstone in As You Like It and Plume in The Recruiting Officer, both with the NY Classical Theatre, the Anchorman in the Public's reading of The Grand Inquisitor, Reverend Hale in Columbia Stages' The Crucible, and the Handcart Ensemble's production of The Odyssey. Regional and international productions include Doubt at Capitol Repertory Theatre, Chen Shi-Zheng's Snow in June and Martha Clarke's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the A.R.T., Life is a Dream at Creede Repertory Theatre, The Lion In Winter at the Commonweal Theatre, Pericles at The Theater at Monmouth, Three Sisters at the Moscow Art Theatre School, and Cinzano at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Torsten's television credits include As the World Turns and multiple appearances on Law and Order and Law and Order SVU. He can be seen in the films Adam and Where God Left His Shoes. He received his MFA in acting from the A.R.T./MXAT Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. He lives and works in NYC as an actor and teacher.
MARK HONAN (Bob Crachit) trained at the Webber Douglas drama school in London. He is an affiliate artist with Portland Stage and has appeared as the Troll King in Peer Gynt, Charlie in The Foreigner, Dvornichek in Rough Crossing and Lloyd in Noises Off . Other local roles include Harpagon in The Miser and Lady Bracknell in The Importance Of Being Earnest for The Stage at Spring Point and Ivan in The Seafarer for AIRE. In Britain he played Romeo, Hatch in The Sea and adaptations of Dickens and Thomas Hardy. He is an audio book narrator - most recently a solo recording of A Christmas Carol, and frequently performs poetry at retirement homes. He has numerous commercial voice over credits, an Oakhurst Dairy tv commercial and has a role in the new short film The Fun House. You can see Mark next in Willy Holtzman's The Real McGonagall, coming to the Portland Stage Studio Theater in February.
JENNY MAGUIRE (Ghosts) New York Theatre: Blue Before Morning (Terra Nova Arts, DR2); Lucy Thurber's Stay (Rattlestick Theater); Anon & New Works: Chance (Atlantic Theater Company), Live Girls (Urban Stages); Jessica Goldberg's Stuck, Michael's Garces' Acts of Mercy & Lucy Thurber's Stay (Rattlestick Theater); Steve Earle's Karla (Culture Project); Rose's Dilemma, Wonder of the World (Stand by for Sarah Jessica Parker/Amy Sedaris) (Manhattan Theatre Club), Cavedweller (New York Theatre Workshop), dir. Michael Grief; Elvis People (New World Stages), dir. Henry Wishcamper; Museum (Keen Company); David Auburn's The Latecomer (Players Club). Regional: Four By Four (Lake George Theatre Festival); Kenny Finkle's Indoor/Outdoor (World Premiere, Hangar Theatre); Amadeus (Actors Theatre of Louisville), dir. Kate Whoriskey; Lee Blessing's Whores (World Premiere, CATF), Keith Reddin's Synergy (World Premiere) & Frame 312 (Alley Theatre), Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Studio Arena Theatre), The Hunger Education (Eugene O'Neill Center), The Ruler of My Destiny (Long Wharf Theatre), and The Tie That Binds The (Barter Theatre). Film: Fair Game (Dir. Doug Liman, in theatres now), The Girl In The Park (dir. David Auburn), The Baxter, The Regular, Reveille, The Stella Shorts. Television: Stella, Law & Order: SVU, That 70's Show, Wainy Days, One Life to Live, As the World Turns. Jenny is also a filmmaker and producer.
DANIEL NOEL (Marley) is an Affiliate Artist at Portland Stage where he co-created the Longfellow’s Shorts series and is on the Artistic Advisory Committee. As an actor, he has appeared in The Human Comedy on Broadway and for Joe Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival where, among other things, he was featured in Liz Swados The Beautiful Lady on WNYC’s Live From The Public. He recently was Burt Dow in the opera Burt Dow: Deep Water Manat Stonington Opera House. At Portland Stage, Dan has been seen in Bach at Leipzig, Drawer Boy, Arcadia, Terminal Exit, The Foreigner, Rough Crossing, A Christmas Carol, From Away and Little Festivals since 1998/1999. Regional theater and opera work includes The Brooklyn Academy of Music- Next Wave Festival, Lincoln Center, New Playwrights, Santa Monica Playhouse, Theater at Monmouth, Boston’s New Opera and Musical Theater Initiative, Portland Symphony, North Shore Music Theater, P.S. 122 and Seattle Repertory Theater where his short playTransformations and his musical review Brush Up Your Shakespeare (co-created w/ J.K. Simmons and included the Rep. Tour) were part of the Seattle Rep’s Sunday at Sunday’s Series. His play, Longfellow: A Life in Words, was done in 2007 as part of the Portland Stage Studio Series where he played the title role. TV includes ABC’s Loving, Liberty News TV, The Poet Caféand numerous PBS programs. Film: Look for him in Thomas Higgans’ The Fun House (2011). Other films include: As We Were, Inn Season (Best Actor, ME 48 Hr. Film Festival), Pine-Sol Detox, Pennyweight, Alias: The Lost Episode, and Belle (In Production). Dan also records audio books.
BESS WELDEN (Mrs. Crachit) is an actor, writer, teacher and proud member of Portland Stage's Affiliate Artists. She has recently been on the road with her solo comedy, The Passion of the Hausfrau, which premiered at Portland Stage in 2009, and will perform the show again in February 2011 at the White Plains Performing Arts Center (www.thehausfrauplay.com). After earning an MFA from the National Theater Conservatory, Bess went on to perform at the Denver Center Theater Company, Williamstown Theater Festival, Mabou Mines, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Hangar Theater, and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. In her adopted home state of Maine she has appeared at Portland Stage(Mainfest, A Comedy of Errors, Little Festival), the Opera House at Boothbay, Mad Horse Theatre, and with the Portland Symphony Orchestra at Merrill Auditorium. She is the librettist of A Little Miracle, an original work for mezzo soprano and orchestra, composed by David Stock, commissioned by the New York Chamber Symphony and premiered at Lincoln Center. She is currently collaborating on a new project with Stock calledEagle Girl, a story and music piece for children, set to premiere in 2011. During her NYC days, Bess performed frequently as a storyteller, in venues such as the 92nd Street Y, and has taught voice and speech for actors at Vassar College, The School for Film and Television, and the University of Southern Maine. She is currently a Teaching Artist in the Theater and Dance Department at Colby College and participates regularly in Portland Stage's new Theater for Kids programming.
SALLY WOOD (Belle) is delighted to return to the cast of A Christmas Carol. Sally is an actor, fight choreographer, teaching artist and director. Sally has worked regionally and abroad. At Portland Stage Sally has been seen as Portia in Julius Caesar, Claire in Augusta, Solveig in Peer Gynt and in Daniel Noel's world premiere of Longfellow: A Life In Words. Other favorite roles include Rosalind in As You Like It, the Landlady in Two and Eurydice in Metamorphosis. As well as PSC, Sally's work has been locally with the felix theater in Deering Oaks Park, UNE, The Theater at Monmouth and Sally has very recently directed the world premiere of John Cariani's Last Gas.
Green Ensemble Red Ensemble
Jane Ackermann Megan Acker
Emmy Avery Witham Cecelia Botting
Helen Bellafiore Isabelle Bynion
Hannah Calkin Dora Chaison-Lapine
Emma Dadmun Hannah Daly
Maggie Dadmun Nora Daly
Hannah Duston Josie DiPhilippo
David Glendinning Tommy DiPhilippo
Lena Graves Needelman Jenny DiPhilippo
Lynnea Harding Matt Estabrook
Elinor Hilton Cody Foley
Leo Hilton Owen Freeman
Louisa Mahoney David Glendenning
Ruby Peterman Erin McKeown
Henry Spritz Kat Moraros
Hannah Weston Mabel Pence
Denver Rey Whisman Bridget Ruff
Sue Yandell Mary Doherty Savidge
ABOUT THE DESIGN TEAM
ANITA STEWART (Director & Set Designer) Anita Stewart’s work as a director and adapter is seen every fall during PSC’s production of A Christmas Carol, which she adapted with Chris Akerlind and Dawn McAndrews in 1996. Anita has continued to edit the script for the thirteen seasons it has played at Portland Stage, making changes to the script based on the specific cast assembled to create the production in any given year. She also directed and helped to assemble Women and the Sea. Additionally, Anita has worked as a set and costume designer at leading theatres across the country, including: the Guthrie, Seattle Rep, Canadian Opera Company, A.R.T in Boston, Steppenwolf and New York Theater Workshop.
SUSAN THOMAS (Costume Designer) is now on her fifth season as the Costume Shop Manager at Portland Stage Company. Some of Susan’s design credits at Portland Stage are A Christmas Carol, The Santaland Diaries, and The Real McGonagall, all of which are running this season, Mary’s Wedding, Fully Committed, and Longfellow: A Life In Words in previous seasons. Susan has worked in the costume shops of a variety of regional theatres including: Theatre Department at USM, Maine State Music Theater Costume Rentals, Geva Theater Center, Shakespeare & Company, The Theater at Monmouth, Fenix Theatre Company, The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor, and Port Opera.
SHANE VAN VLIET (Musical Director) Shane is thrilled to be musical directing this years production of Christmas Carol. She has been playing the piano for almost 30 years and has played everything from Weber to Wagner. When she is not behind the piano, Shane is working on her 3rd season as AEA Stage Manager here at Portland Stage. Before coming to Portland, Shane stage managed national and international tours with Jean Ann Ryan Productions, Two Beans Productions, Theaterworks and The Radio City Rockettes. She worked on numerous productions in New York with Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Turtleshell Productions, T.Shcreiber Studios and The New York Fringe Festival as well as The Washington D.C. Fringe Festival and she spent some time in Buffalo, NY working with The Kavinoky Theater and Sheas Performing Arts Center.
BRYON WINN (Lighting Designer) is delighted to be returning to PSC for his thirteenth season. He has designed 30 productions for Portland Stage Company, plus 13 seasons of A Christmas Carol. His design work has also been seen at Trinity Rep, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Axis Theatre, Intersection for the Arts, Miranda Theatre Company, Utah Musical Theatre, Middlebury College, Cornell College, Riverside Theatre and Iowa Summer Rep. Bryon serves as the Director of Theatre at the University of Iowa and is a member of United Scenic Artist 829.
MYLES C. HATCH (Stage Manager) is currently enjoying his 11th season stage-managing with Portland Stage. During the past nineteen years, Myles has worked in stage management with such diversified theatres as The Freeport Shakespeare Festival (ME), Maine State Music Theatre (ME), The Theater at Monmouth (ME), Arden Theatre Company (PA), Baltimore Shakespeare Festival (MD), Everyman Theatre (MD), Rep Stage (MD), Horse Cave Theatre (KY), New Stage Theatre (MS), Round House Theatre (MD), Source Theatre Company (D.C.), Washington Stage Guild (D.C.), Washington Jewish Theatre (D.C.), Asolo Theatre Company (FL), Westport Country Playhouse (CT), and the YALE Summer Cabaret (CT). Myles is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association.