Cherry Hill West Theater gets into the holiday spirit with its December musical, “A Christmas Carol.”
The show will take the stage at Cherry Hill West’s new auditorium from Dec. 15 through Dec. 17.
Cherry Hill High School West Theater is getting into the holiday spirit with this year’s December musical.
“A Christmas Carol” will take the stage at Cherry Hill West’s new auditorium a little more than a week prior to Christmas on Dec. 15, 16 and 17.
The cast is looking forward to performing a holiday-themed show. Most of the actors were very familiar with the story prior to rehearsals starting.
“It is probably my mom’s favorite Christmas story,” said junior Sonia Kangaju, playing the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past. “We’ve seen every iteration.”
“I knew the story, so this is not new,” said senior Karla Rios, playing the role of the Ghost of Christmas Present. “But I was kind of amazed by the music, because it adds a whole different aspect.”
“A Christmas Carol” centers on the character of Ebenezer Scrooge, a grumpy moneylender who despises Christmas and its theme of giving to others. On Christmas Eve, the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, visits Scrooge. Heavy chains weigh down Marley after he was greedy for most of his life. He informs Scrooge he will be visited by three ghosts, whom Scrooge must listen to if he wants to avoid the same fate as Marley.
In Cherry Hill West’s show, freshman Christian Santiago will perform as Scrooge. Santiago said playing Scrooge presents a number of challenges.
“Playing someone who is so mean is difficult sometimes staying in character and remembering not to be happy and to be annoyed with everyone being so jolly,” Santiago said.
A challenge all of the cast members face with the show is the music. Some of the cast believes “A Christmas Carol” is the most challenging show vocally they’ve ever performed.
“This is one of the hardest pieces of music I’ve ever done in all my years,” Rios said. “I started off so horrible, so bad, because this wasn’t written out for my voice.”
“There’s more music than dialogue,” added senior Destiny Velez, playing the role of the Ghost of Christmas Future. “That’s why the music switches up so much.”
“I consider myself to be more of an alto,” Kangaju said about the music. “But the way the Ghost of Christmas Past is written in this score, she’s a soprano. So I’m finding that spot in my voice where I can keep a note and do justice to the music.”
There will be a number of special effects in this year’s show. The ghosts in the show as well as Scrooge will fly in certain scenes, an effect Cherry Hill West Theater has used in other recent musicals. The show will also include a snow effect in certain scenes.
There is a lot of variety in the show’s cast, as younger students from the middle and elementary schools also have roles, including third-graders Ethan Cole of Kingston Elementary School and Nicky Tripolitis of Johnson Elementary School. The pair is sharing the role of Tiny Tim.
Both of them agree the toughest part of being Tiny Tim is walking around with a crutch in all of the scenes.
“It’s just trying to hold it right, the crutch,” Nicky said. “I’m not used to going very slow.”
While waiting for rehearsal to begin last Wednesday, Ethan spent some time walking around the Cherry Hill West new auditorium with the crutch, practicing his balance.
“I’ve never had a crutch before at all,” Ethan said. “It’s a new experience for me.”
The cast believes performing “A Christmas Carol” will get the audience to realize the true meaning of the holiday season.
“This is a reminder of what the holidays are actually about,” Kangaju said. “It’s not about the getting, which is what Scrooge is obsessed with, but it’s about the sharing and the receiving.”
“A Christmas Carol” will be performed Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., Dec. 16 at 2 and 7 p.m., and Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. On Dec. 16 at 11 a.m., there will be a Santa Character Breakfast. Tickets to the breakfast are $20 and include a ticket to the 2 p.m. performance. To purchase tickets, visit showtix4u.com or call (856) 663–8006 ext. 1224.