Tommy Kerwick of Mt. Laurel shares the role with David Aberant of Moorestown. Performances run Dec. 9, 10, 11, 17 and 18.
BY LINDSEY NOLEN
For the second time in Moorestown Theater Company history, Mark Morgan will direct a performance of “A Christmas Carol, The Musical.” In doing so, two different casts will take part in eight performances of the Christmas classic.
The two casts are known as the Black Cast and the Gold Cast, and all performances will take place at William Allen Middle School located at 801 N. Stanwick Road. The Black Cast will perform on Friday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. The Gold Cast will perform on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.
“When you combine one of the greatest stories ever written by Charles Dickens with a gorgeous score by Allen Menken, who also scored ‘Beauty And The Beast,’ ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘Aladdin,’ ‘Little Shop Of Horrors,’ plus a 55-member, all-ages cast ranging from 7 to 79, there is not a better local way for families to celebrate the holidays and get into the holiday spirit than to come see ‘A Christmas Carol, The Musical’ by the Moorestown Theater Company,” Morgan said.
The production will also feature a live 13-piece orchestra conducted by Steve Schaffner. The crew has worked hard since auditions began on Sept. 13, with rehearsals beginning on Oct. 2.
During the audition process, actors were asked to sing a song the character they were interested in playing sings in the show. For example, anyone interested in playing Scrooge was to sing a song the character famously sings.
All potential cast members also learned an audition dance combination, but if someone wanted to be in the chorus, they did not have to audition and sing by themselves. Standing apart from other theaters, no one is ever “cut” during an MTC audition process.
After auditions ended and parts were secured, it was determined two Tiny Tims would be played by David Aberant of Moorestown and Tommy Kerwick of Mt. Laurel.
Additionally, the renowned character of Ebenezer Scrooge was to be played by Moorestown’s own Steve Gionta. This performance will be especially special to Gionta because his wife will be in the chorus and will also be helping with hair and makeup, and his stepdaughter will be playing the Ghost of Christmas Future Yet to Be in the Black Cast. He said getting to perform alongside his family is rewarding, especially around the holidays, a time to celebrate family.
“I’m also excited to play Scrooge because the character really captures the essence of conversion and the power of the holiday season in bringing out the best in people,” Gionta said. “I think everyone can identify with Scrooge a little bit because we all have a bit in us that could be tweaked or touched in some way to bring out the goodness in us.”
This will be the Moorestown Theatre Company’s 123rd production, and while it tries not to do repeat shows too often, 90 shows have passed since the last performance of “A Christmas Carol, The Musical.” Although the last time this musical was performed under the direction of Morgan was in December 2009 with an all-children’s cast, there are a few performers from the previous cast who will also get to be in the upcoming performance. For example, Connell Devery, who played Scrooge in the 2009 performance, will be playing the Ghost of Jacob Marley in this year’s production.
“Since I performed in the last show when I was 16 years old, I really fell in love with the show, story and characters,” the 24-year-old Devery said. “Being able to perform it again with the adult cast is really nice because it’s now a bigger show, and it’s fun to be reunited with previous cast members.”
While a few of the same cast members will be in this production, a key difference between this performance and the last is the musical is now being performed at William Allen Middle School on the stage, rather than at the Upper Elementary School in its “cafetorium.” Morgan said this will make a huge difference, seeing as this is a better designed theater with more comfortable seating. Additionally, organizing an all-ages performance during the holiday season is not something the company usually does, seeing as schedules are often extremely busy during this time of the year.
“It’s always a little more challenging when we do an all-ages show, as we have to coordinate rehearsal times for children along with adults,” Morgan said. “It’s not so bad when we do this in the summer with our Main Stage all-ages show because the kids are not in school and can stay up later at night. But the audience will get to enjoy all of the fruits of our labor this holiday season as we bring this great musical to life on-stage!”
For more information or to purchase tickets for “A Christmas Carol, The Musical,” visit www.MoorestownTheaterCompany.org. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, beginning one hour before curtain time.