By Mary Ann Bourbeau
UNION, N.J. – The Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol will be presented by the Nebraska Theatre Caravan at Kean University’s Wilkins Theatre on Saturday, December 3.
The show features a cast of 23 performers, live musicians and Broadway-style scenery and costumes. The Nebraska Theatre Caravan, the professional touring wing of the Omaha Community Playhouse, has been touring with A Christmas Carol for 38 years, visiting 49 states and four Canadian provinces during that time.
“We are the longest running national touring company of A Christmas Carol,” said Landon Shaw, the show’s road manager.
Woven throughout the tale are beautiful new arrangements of holiday songs, including God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Wassail Wassail, Good Christian Men Rejoice and Greensleeves. The language and text of the show are faithful to Dickens, although the time period has been moved from 1843 to 1886, when secular English Christmas customs were more established and the costumes were more attractive, with what we now think of as a “Dickens Christmas look.”
“I am well versed in A Christmas Carol and our show is very true to the original novella by Dickens,” said Andy Harvey, who portrays Ebenezer Scrooge. “The language is just gorgeous.” The Broadway-style scenery is beautiful having been compared to that of a postcard. “It looks like a Currier and Ives painting on the stage,” he said.
Harvey, who works full-time as a contract actor, has been performing with
the Nebraska Theatre Caravan for several years. He played Scrooge’s partner, Jacob Marley, three times and is now taking on the lead role. “Every actor wants to take a crack at playing the old sinner,” he said. “It’s a perfect story arc – he starts as a curmudgeon and ends as a redeemed man. It’s a fun challenge.”
Harvey lives the gypsy life, traveling around the country performing in various shows, but he enjoys coming back to work with the Nebraska Theatre Caravan because of its stellar reputation. “It’s a very close-knit company,” he said. “It’s kind of like coming back to family every year. It’s a nice way to spend the holidays.”
A Christmas Carol will be performed at Kean Stage’s Wilkins Theatre, 1000 Morris Ave., Union, N.J. at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3. Tickets are $25-$45 and are available at the Kean Stage Box Office in Wilkins Theatre, by phone at 908-737-SHOW (7469) or online at www.keanstage.com.