A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
November 27 - December 24, 2009
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.
Poster and center slide show images by Darren Setlow
Actors shown: Bodhi Ouelette and Paul Barry* *Member, Actors Equity
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
MAUREEN BUTLER (Mrs. Crachit) is an affiliate artist with Portland Stage where she recently played the role of Nancy in Third. She appeared as Miss Framer in Portland Stage’s Lettice and Lovage and this is her 5th season in A Christmas Carol. At the Theater at Monmouth, she recently played Abby in Arsenic and Old Lace. Maureen is also a member of The Fenix Theatre, having appeared in Taming of the Shrew this past summer and a member of AIRE where she played the role of Moira in Riders to the Sea. Next summer, Maureen will play Maria in Twelfth Night with the Fenix Theatre Company. Maureen is originally from the Boston area having worked at the Huntington Theater Company, the Lyric Stage, and Mount Holyoke Summer Theatre among others. She is thrilled to be part of the theatre community here in Maine .
DAN DOMINGUES (Nephew Fred) is returning to Portland Stage after making his Portland Stage debut as Brutus in Julius Caesar. New York: Cymbeline (New York Classical Theatre); The Coffee Trees (world premiere; Resonance Ensemble at the Beckett Theatre); King Lear w/ Alvin Epstein (Actors Shakespeare Project at LaMaMa); The Cherry Orchard w/ Brooke Adams, Scott Foley, Alvin Epstein (Atlantic Theater Company); Dog in the Manger (Repertorio Español); Shore Points (world premiere, Irish Arts Center); The Life and Death of Pier Paolo Pasolini (American premiere, June Havoc Theatre); Masquerade (Cherry Lane Theatre Studio, IT Award nominee for best supporting actor); Who Popped Papi Chulo? (2003 NY Fringe Festival; also writer/producer). Regional: Flying Crows, Sunrise at Monticello (Playwrights Theatre of NJ); The Best Man, Love and Murder, Theatre Brut 2006 & 2007 (NJ Rep); Human Events, Wit, Ancestral Voices (George Street Playhouse); Wait Until Dark (Stoneham Theatre); A Girl’s War (New Repertory Theatre); Macbeth (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); La Dispute, Island of Anyplace, Othello (ART); Pirandello’s Henry IV (Rep Theatre of St. Louis); Amadeus, Othello (Pioneer Theatre Company); Waiting for Godot (Fleetwood Stage). International: Rhinoceros, Phaedra’s Love (MXAT, Moscow); Raining on the Flood (Santarcangelo Theatre Festival, Italy). Readings/Workshops: Urban Stages, Premiere Stages, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Primary Stages, BardAvon Operahouse, Bridge Theatre Company. TV/ Film: “Hope and Faith”, “Third Watch”, “As The World Turns” and the independent shorts “Blindfold” and “Gypsy Girl”. Dan has an MFA from the ART/IATT program at Harvard, a BA in film from Penn State, and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NY. Company member: Only Make Believe, New Jersey Repertory. AEA member.
MARK HONAN (Bob Crachit) Mark Honan trained at the Webber Douglas drama school in London. He is an affiliate artist with Portland Stage Co. and appeared most recently as the Troll King in Peer Gynt. Other local roles include Harpagon in The Miser and Lady Bracknell in The Importance Of Being Earnest for The Stage at Spring Point and Carlton Fitzgerald in Light Up The Sky for Good Theater. He is an audio book narrator and has numerous commercial voice over credits.
ABBIE KILLEN (Ghosts) Portland Stage: Mainstage debut! Portland Stage Studio Theater: Little Festival, 2009. Other Maine: The Importance of Being Earnest (Good Theatre); QED (Theatre Project). New York: New York Theatre Workshop, Naked Angels, The Lamb's, Cherry Lane, NY Fringe, Vortex, Threads Theater Company (founding member). Regional credits include 6 seasons with Connecticut Free Shakespeare, Hudson Stage, Boston Playwright's Theatre, the Arden in Philadelphia, and the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. Tours: Four seasons with National Theatre for the Performing Arts. Film and TV: “Deception” (feature), “Showers of Happiness” (independent), “Law and Order SVU”, “Law and Order Criminal Intent”. Abbie teaches acting in the Department of Theater and Dance at Bowdoin College.
JOHN D. MCNALLY (Ebenezer Scrooge) Portland Stage audiences have seen Mr. McNally portray Richard Nixon in Nixon’s Nixon and Robert in Proof, both directed by Michael Rafkin. A veteran of over 250 professional productions, Mr. McNally has also appeared on stages in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Stratford, San Diego, and Denver, as well as New York City, working with such directors as Douglas Turner Ward, Joseph Papp, John Houseman, and Joseph Anthony, assaying a wide variety of roles including classic parts such as Cassius, Othello, and Vershinin. The extensive range of characters he has played in his career encompasses the tragic Inca King Atahaullpa in The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Shannon in Night of the Iguana, the title roles in Romeo And Juliet, Hamlet, Volpone and The Night Thoreau Spent In Jail, Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Thomas Becket in Murder in the Cathedral. Dinner Theatre audiences have seen him co-starring opposite Pat Carroll, Eddie Bracken, and Marjorie Lord. The twenty-odd films in which Mr. McNally has appeared include Steven Speilberg's 1941, Jerry Schatzberg's Scarecrow, and Mario Van Peebles' Identity Crisis as well as Summer School and Mayfair Mob for which he also provided the screenplays. Most recently he was seen as Willie in Sunshine Boys, Greg in Sylvia at the Pennsylvania Center Stage, John in Oleanna at the Denver Civic, Barrymore in I Hate Hamlet at the Langworthy, Edward (the Irishman) in Someone Who'll Watch Over Me and Lloyd (the director) in Noises Off at The New Theatre; Bill in War In Paramus at The HB Playwrights Foundation, and as the fastidious Felix Unger in The Odd Couple.
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. At Portland Stage, Dan has been seen in The Drawer Boy, Arcadia, Terminal Exit, The Foreigner, Rough Crossing, A Christmas Carol, and From Away and Little Festivals since1998/1999. Regional theater and opera work includes The Brooklyn Academy of Music- Next Wave Festival, Lincoln Center, New Playwrights, The Santa Monica Playhouse, The Theatre at Monmouth, Boston’s New Opera and Musical Theater Initiative, The Portland Symphony, North Shore Music Theater, P.S. 122 and the Seattle Repertory Theater where his short play Transformations & his musical review Brush Up You Shakespeare (co-created w/J.K. Simmons & included on the Rep. Tour) were part of the Seattle Rep’s Sunday at Sunday’s Series. His play, Longfellow: A Life in Words, was done this year as part of the Portland Stage Studio Series where he played the title role. TV includes political commentary for “Liberty News TV”, Steve Lutrell’s “The Poet’s Café” and ABC’s “Loving”. Look for him in Will Fraser’s “The Artifact” on the Sci-Fi Channel and upcoming films: “As We Were” and Thomas Higgans’ “The Fun House”. Dan also records audio books.
SALLY WOOD (Belle) 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 the Studio Series in Daniel Noel’s world premier of Longfellow: A Life In Words. Other favorite roles include Rosalind in As You Like It, the Landlady in Two and Eurydice in Metamorphosis. Sally is delighted to return to the cast of A Christmas Carol.
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 fourth season as the Costume Shop Manager at Portland Stage Company. Some of Susan’s design credits at Portland Stage Company are A Christmas Carol and The SantaLand Diaries, both of which are running this Season, Fully Committed, and Longfellow: A Life in Words in previous seasons. Susan would like to thank the Theatre Department at USM for the wonderful opportunity to design Tea & Sympathy for their Fall Season. Shows Susan has designed at various theaters include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Indoor/ Outdoor, Almost Maine, As You Like It, The Tempest, Henry V, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Richard III, and One for the Road. Susan has worked in the costume shops of a variety of regional theatres including: Maine State Music Theater, Geva Theater Center, Shakespeare & Company, The Theater at Monmouth, Fenix Theatre Company, The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor, and Port Opera. Enjoy the show!
BRYON WINN (Lighting Designer) is delighted to be returning to Portland Stage for his twelfth season. He has designed 28 productions for Portland Stage, plus 12 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.
HANS INDIGO SPENCER (Musical Director), Called a “master composer” by the Boston Globe for his jazz orchestra’s debut jazz CD, First Storybook, Hans Indigo Spencer’s career stretches over twenty years of supporting stories for theater directors, filmmakers, animators, and choreographers. Composing credits include plays at Portland Stage – Iron Kisses (2007), Magnetic North (2008), Passion of the Hausfrau (2009) – as well as music for shows airing on National Geographic Channel, History Channel, PBS, Cartoon Network. He has also underscored hundreds of improv comedy shows at Improv Boston Theater, played saxophone with bands such as the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra and his own Indigo Invention Group, and written jazz compositions for those groups as well. The Chameleon Arts Ensemble, one of Boston’s premier classical chamber groups, regularly features his music in their family concerts which he helps design and present. He was educated in classical composition at Oberlin Conservatory and earned a Master's Degree in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory. He taught general and choral music in the Cambridge Public Schools while teaching graduate courses at Lesley University on integrating music with other curriculum areas.
MYLES C. HATCH (Stage Manager) is currently enjoying his 10th season stage-managing with Portland Stage. During the past eighteen years, Myles has worked in stage management with such diversified theatres as 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.
Denver Rey Whisman