Imagine being back in England in the 1800s: That’s what it felt like for spectators at the Glendale Center Theatre for Sunday’s performance of “A Christmas Carol.”
The entire theater was decorated like an old English town, and in the lobby hot cider and baked goods were available.
The inside of the theater was no different, but instead of a small town it was decorated like the larger city of London, complete with actors dressed in full costumes welcoming eager spectators to London and wishing everyone a merry Christmas.
This show is a bit different; it takes Charles Dickens’s classic story and turns into a semi-musical play.
The play is split up into five staves (Chapters), the first four representing each one of the spirits that visits Ebenezer Scrooge throughout the night.
As the lights dim, a voice comes on giving an intro to the story. He identifies himself as Dickens.
After the intro the show begins, with the full cast breaking into a medley of Christmas carols, complete with singing and spectacular dance moves.
However, the celebration is cut short as Scrooge makes his way down the street to his counting house.
As the stave progresses, Scrooge is in his room, as an ocean of fog drifts onto the stage and from it appears the Ghost of Jacob Marley.
The scene is complete with ominous background music and effects, designed to amplify and distort Marley’s voice to make him sound more menacing.
As the second stave begins Scrooge is visited by the first spirit Christmas past. She shows two Christmases past, one where Scrooge is still a young child at a boarding school wishing to be home, and a second when he was older working at Fezziwig’s warehouse, where he meets Belle at a Christmas party and asks for her hand in marriage.
As Christmas Past’s time ends, she tells him he cannot change the past but can only strive to change the present and the future, before fading away.
As the clock strikes midnight, the second spirit appears in an explosion of light. Christmas Present shows Scrooge Christmas celebrations that will happen only a day later.
One is the Crachit family Christmas dinner, which reveals to scrooge something he did not know, which is how poor this family truly is, and how they can still be happy even with so little.
The second celebration is his nephew Fred’s, where he and his guests play party games, making fun of Scrooge, which in turn makes Scrooge see how people really perceive him as a grumpy, hateful old tyrant.
As Christmas Present fades away, Scrooge is visited by the final ghost: Christmas Future, an ominous grim reaper figure who does not speak, but rather points with his long, skeletal fingers.
The spirit shows Scrooge a dark alley in London where three poor beggars are trading articles of furniture and clothing for money because the owner has passed away.
It’s not until later when the spirit shows Scrooge that he is the person who has died that he realizes he has to change.
The show ends and the cast members take their final bows, but it is really not over. As an added treat, the cast makes its way to the lobby and sings Christmas carols to the departing audience.
“A Christmas Carol,” at the Glendale Center Theatre is fun for the whole family, a spectacular combination of singing, dancing and acting.
For more information on ticket prices and upcoming performances, the theater can be contacted at (818) 244-8481.
“A Christmas Carol” will run until Dec 23.