Review by George Frangoulis
Christmas came early to Judson College with the theatrical production of the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. A total of four performances were given in Judson’s Alumnae Auditorium on November 13–15.
The three evening performances were at 7 p.m.; however, on opening day, Thursday, November 13, the show was also performed at a 10:30 a.m. matinee for an audience of 250 local school children, who were bused to the Judson campus from Marion’s Albert Turner Elementary School.
A Christmas Carol is considered by many the jewel in the crown of holiday classics. Audiences saw Dickens’ timeless tale of hope and redemption come to life in Judson’s enchanting production, which was filled with the exciting arrival of ghosts, jubilant, Christmas musical numbers, and Scrooge’s joyful discovery of love.
The show included an all-female cast of 24 student actors and choristers, as well as a live band of student and faculty musicians.
Leading the play’s ensemble in the role of the omniscient narrator was Rachel Ray. She used her strong stage presence and clear voice to confidently introduce dramatic scenes and set the stage for Scrooge’s scary encounters with his ghosts.
The show’s entire cast was very well-rehearsed. Judson players with major roles included the following students: Sarah Stringfellow as Ebenezer Scrooge; Erin Brown as Bob Cratchit; Katie Gehr as Spirit of Christmas Past; Margie Gunter as Spirit of Christmas Present; Kimberly Coleman as Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come; Brittany Johnson as Fred Hallowell, Ebenezer’s nephew; Cheyann McDaniel as Mrs. Cratchit; Taylor Clark as Belinda Cratchit; Cayce Defee as Martha Cratchit; Micaylee Clayton as Peter Cratchit; Sandy Lockridge as Tiny Tim; Cynthia Mosborg as Belle, Ebenezer’s young romance; Jacqueline Gerhold as young Ebenezer.
A most versatile player was Laura Lee, Judson’s Director of Campus Ministries, who adeptly played a variety of roles. Her characters included Jacob Marley, Mr. Fezziwig, and the Poulterer.
The show’s major characters shone brightly on stage because of a strong supporting cast of student actors and singers including: Brittaney Channell, Amber Sutton, Candice Page, Candise Denney, Allison Crumbley, Noaf Beader, Sarah Green, Karina Griniage, Rachael Fitts and Katelyn Chastang.
An impressive element of the production was the elaborate stage set. Mr. Jamie Adams, Assistant Professor of Art, Chair of the Fine Arts Division and Head of the Art Department, designed and had built a replica, two-story, Victorian building. Its street level housed two business offices – both Ebenezer Scrooge’s and Jacob Marley’s offices. The upper level served as Scrooge’s bedroom and the Cratchit’s home.
Following the performance on Saturday, November 15, a Dickensian dinner was served. The dinner was organized by students in the Judson English Club under the direction of Dr. Chris Hokanson, Assistant Professor of English, Chair of the Humanities Division and Head of the English Department.
The play was directed by Dr. Billie Jean Young, Associate Professor of Fine and Performing Arts and Artist in Residence at Judson College. Dr. Betty Campbell, Professor of Music, was the show’s music director and Dr. Camilla Horne, Assistant Professor of Music, was instrumental director; the costumer was Ms. Vassie Wellbeck-Browne, who has designed costumes for many of Judson’s shows.
A Christmas Carol and the Dickensian dinner were big hits, and a very merry time was had by all. Congratulations to students, faculty and staff who contributed to the events’ successes!