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‘Scrooge! The Musical’ simply sings at WICA

By JIM LARSEN
South Whidbey Record Editor
November 28, 2012 · Updated 9:20 AM
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Liam Henny plays Tiny Tim in “Scrooge, the Musical.” / Photo by Jim Carroll, jshuimages.com

A Christmas story dear to the hearts of millions will enliven the stage at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley beginning this Friday.

“Scrooge, the Musical,” brings the beloved book, “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, to life with a fresh approach that is sure to entertain.

With book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, “Scrooge, the Musical” is based on the 1970 film starring Albert Finney. Bricusse was nominated for an Academy Award for the song score he wrote for the film, and most of those songs were carried over to the musical.

Everyone’s favorite holiday “Grinch” tells the story about dramatic life changes as a result of witnessing scenes from the past, present and future; a story well known by so many, but made fresh and captivating all over again. Most know the story of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly evening of self-reflection, but this adaptation is full of surprises.

Putting a fresh twist on a classic

It’s no easy task taking a familiar story and making it fresh and fun for the audience, said Tristan A.B. Steel, director of the WICA production.

He told the cast how to prepare.

“It’s about storytelling,” he said. “It’s so well known the audience knows how it is going to end, so what is our job? To tell the story in dance and music.”

This is Steel’s second stint as director of a WICA play, the first being Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” He’s been involved in three other productions.

Steel said he wanted to give more depth to the miserly Scrooge of literature.

“Bah, humbug!” where does that come from?” asks Steel. “We explore what happened before that.”

He’s found an ideal lead for “Scrooge, the Musical,” in Rich Doyle, a Freeland resident new to WICA.

“He’s committed and he has an incredibly strong voice,” Steel said of his musical Scrooge. He doesn’t play Scrooge as “the stereotypical angry old man.”

Doyle is joined on stage by a cast of 30, half adults and half students, some of whom has been involved in WICA youth programs, while others come from local schools and arts programs.

The youngest is a 6-year-old girl.

Steel thoroughly enjoys working with the youth and believes their energy will infect the audience. “For me their enthusiasm and joy — their boundless energy — is why I do it,” he said. “To watch that spark grow in their eyes.”

The stars of the musical

“Scrooge! The Musical” has enjoyed a hugely successful tour of England, is still in performance at the London Palladium, and has been produced around the world.

Included are six new songs not performed in the film.

WICA’s production of “Scrooge! The Musical” also features on stage Tony Caldwell, Jim Carroll, Tom Churchill, Clara Larson-Clifford, Ben Germano, Cameron Gray, Liam Henny, Rose Hughes, Jill Johnson, Gwen Jones, Kent Junge, Antonia Knox, Melanie Lowey, Susan “Sage” Maloch, Paul Matthews, Michelle McGowan, Kaylie McRea, Nicholas Muller, Margaret Rose Nattress, Molly Nattress, Carson-Keeley Orr, Margeaux Scholz, Rob Scott, Aleah Stacey, Ken Stephens, Sarah Swanberg, Andy Walker, Juliana Larson-Wickman, Sophia Wickman, and Dwight Zehm.

The curtain rises Friday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m. and falls Saturday, Dec. 15.

Tickets range from $15 to $24 and are available by contacting the WICA Ticket Office at 221-8268 or 800-638-7631.

Additional information is available at www.WICAonline.com.

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