MORRISTOWN, NJ - With new director Michael Maguire at the helm, Morristown High School is putting the magic back into student theatre in their fall production of A Christmas Carol.
When faced with the challenge of selecting a fall show for the group, Maguire, a tech ed teacher at the high school, attempted to find a production that would challenge the large and diverse cast and crew while simultaneously appealing to students and families in the Morristown area. A Christmas Carol certainly fits the bill; a perennial favorite of the holiday season, its bright cast of characters and protean set serve to push the students, captivate the audience, and make magic in the MHS auditorium.
Maguire is no stranger to this magic; an alumnus of Morristown's theatre program, he understands the power of performance for those onstage, backstage, an in the audience. As stage managers Maham Aslam and Sydney Scheer, both members of the Class of 2016, bring Charles Dickens' London to life with the assistance of Ralph Losanno and MHS parent Mike Hession, other students take on the challenge of portraying the novella's iconic characters with the assistance of Stage Director Katie Adams. At the center of the play is senior Nik Slackman's Ebeneezer Scrooge, an old miser who learns to embrace the Christmas spirit with the aid of several "spirits," played by Alexandra Fielding '16, Alexandra Monfalcone '17, Anna Skelton '17, and Liam Mejia '16. Scrooge's long-suffering clerk, Bob Cratchit, is played by junior Raphael Pelczmann, and his perennially-cheerful crippled son, Tiny Tim, is played by freshman Christopher "Topher" Bashant in his MHS Theatre debut. Presiding over the scene are narrators Kirsten Traudt '16 and Emma Mustion '16, who deliver Dickens' ingenious wit at key points in the story.
The cast certainly does not suffer from lack of inspiration; A Christmas Carol has been adapted over twenty times for film alone, not to mention countless television and theatrical adaptations. The story is a simple one: Ebeneezer Scrooge, an old miser full of contempt for anything but material gain (particularly the "useless" holiday of Christmas) is visited by the ghost of his late business partner Jacob Marley, who warns him of the perils of greed and selfishness. As the night before Christmas Day grows long, Scrooge is visited by three other spirits (played by four actors in Morristown's production), who show him the error of his ways as he explores his past, present, and future. Many cast members take on more than one of the play's fifty speaking roles, stealing their scenes as they play carolers, party guests, unscrupulous washerwomen, and the various other colorful figures of Victorian London.
The production is among the largest in recent memory at Morristown High School, and promises to be among the most ambitious; audience members can look forward to an energetic production complete with music, dancing, multiple types of fog, and even two snow machines, acquired from The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison. As opening night draws nearer, it is increasingly clear that A Christmas Carol will be a triumph for MHS Theatre, and the perfect Christmas confection with which to kick off the holiday season.
Performances of A Christmas Carol will be held in the Morristown High School Auditorium at 50 Early Street on Friday, Dec. 4 and Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office or online at mhstix.com.
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