LIVINGSTON, NJ — From the moment the curtains rose, the audience was captured, frozen in their seats. “This is really impressive,” a father whispered to his daughter as the opening scene of the ghostly apparitions dancing across the near-professionally designed set. The audience was laughing five minutes into the performance and nearly crying by the end of the first act.

This is, of course, the fall drama at Livingston High School. A performance described as “far from amateur” by one audience member, the fall production was Michael Wilson’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol, one of Charles Dickens’ best-known novels.

The story centers on an old and bitter Ebenezer Scrooge, a man whose past Christmases have been all but merry. From his fiancée leaving him to his best friend and business partner’s death, he finds very little reason to celebrate the otherwise festive season and has grown into a greedy, mean-spirited banker.

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“They captured the spirit of Dickens and the spirit of Christmas,” Nelson Scott, another attendee, praised. “[Scrooge] was amazing. He has some natural, God-given talent, and a bright future.”

A visit from Scrooge’s business partner’s ghost warning him of the punishment he will suffer if he fails to change his ways, however, thrusts him into an adventure in which he rediscovers the true spirit of the holiday. One playgoer, Elizabeth Flynn, said she was close to speechless by the end.

“I was quite impressed with the strength of the performance and the extent that the cast put into their characters,” she said.

Not only was the play enjoyable for its viewers, but it was also reportedly quite fun to partake in. Jackson Rynar, who played Dick Wilkins and Mr. Topper, raved about the experience.

“I had so much fun being in the show, and I’m so happy with how it came out. I was so lucky to work with such a great cast and director, and so happy I could do a great show with all of my friends,” he said.

Besides proud parents and family members, many students sat in the audience to support their friends and spend a fun evening out, whichever of the three nights they chose to attend. They, too, were quite impressed with the quality of the show at the performances given by their peers.

“I had heard great things about our theatre department at the high school,” one student commented. “But I had never gone to see a show,” she admitted, her smile widening as she continued, “I was stunned.”

Livingston High School theatre will be staging Little Shop of Horrors as their upcoming spring musical in 2016.

All photos by Lors Photography.