The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey concludes its 49th season with Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, adapted for the stage by Neil Bartlett. This unique and ingenious production features a cast of nine actors playing more than 50 roles, including some of literature's most beloved characters. Shakespeare Theatre's Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs. "When I came across this wonderful new adaption, it made my director's pulse quicken. It's a director's dream with its infinite opportunities for inventiveness," said Ms. Monte. Performances begin on December 1 and continue through January 1. Performances are Tuesday through Sundays at The Shakespeare Theatre's Main Stage - the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison. For tickets or more information, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.
Bartlett's unusual adaptation finds the mean-spirited miser Ebenezer Scrooge (Shakespeare Theatre veteran Philip Goodwin) alone and unloved in his cold house on Christmas Eve. Mired in his irascible and rigid ways, his very name synonymous with greed and misanthropy, Scrooge's last chance for redemption lies in the spectral hands of his dead business partner and three holiday spirits. Originally created for the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in England, Bartlett's A Christmas Carol contains only Dickens' own words. "I wanted to do it using Dickens' words, and nothing but," wrote Bartlett. "Dickens himself prompted this decision; after all, he wrote the story not just to be read, but to be read out loud for an audience. His words don't describe; they enact." In addition, Bartlett has included spoken and sung Victorian carols delivered a cappella throughout the play.
Adaptor Neil Bartlett is a famed British playwright, award-winning novelist, Olivier Award-nominated director and the former artistic director of the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in London. He is the author of the novel The House on Brooke Street and has published adaptations of The Misanthrope, The School for Wives, and Oliver Twist, which received rave reviews in its American premiere in Boston, New York and San Francisco. About his production of A Christmas Carol at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, The Guardian wrote, "This is one of those rare and festive offerings for which no adult will need the excuse of a child in tow to book a ticket."
Philip Goodwin returns to the Shakespeare Theatre stage for his second season to play Ebenezer Scrooge. Mr. Goodwin appeared earlier this season as Inspector Bertozzo in Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and previously performed in The Little Foxes. He has appeared on Broadway in Tartuffe, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The School for Scandal, and Off-Broadway in King Lear, Pericles, Macbeth, and Hamlet (The Public); Grace (MCC); The Room/Celebration (Atlantic Theatre Company); Drowning (Signature Theatre); The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek (New York Theatre Workshop) and numerous productions at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC.
John Ahlin (Mr. Fezziwig) is in his fourth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, having previously appeared in All's Well That Ends Well, The Comedy of Errors, and King John. Ahlin has appeared on Broadway in Waiting for Godot, Journey's End, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Voices in the Dark, One Mo' Time, Whoopee!, and Macbeth. Mr. Ahlin has also performed at TheatreWorks, Pittsburgh Public, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Old Globe Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Center Stage, and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.
In his thirteenth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, Greg Jackson (Bob Cratchit) has performed in Timon of Athens, The School for Wives, The Winter's Tale, Amadeus, The Comedy of Errors, The Bald Soprano, The Play's the Thing, Triumph of Love, Love's Labour's Lost, Othello, and many more. He most recently performed the role of Alan in Opus at Portland Center Stage, and the roles of Richard Hannay, Man 1, and Man 2 as the sole male understudy in the Broadway transfer of The 39 Steps.