‘Christmas Carol’ musical to wow Civic Center

LIMA — A classic holiday season tale will come to life Saturday with a musical version of “A Christmas Carol” coming to Veterans Memorial Civic Center.

Cast members Dan Kamin, Sarah Harkness and Benjamin Tedcastle said that they get a thrill out of being on tour for a show that challenges them to prepare in 12 days and bringing a different version of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story to unique venues around the country.

“I think what’s nice about our production is that it is the classic beloved tale, but we have our own signature musical numbers, originally written material and big dance routines,” Harkness, who plays multiple roles including Sally Cratchit and also serves as associate director and choreographer, said. “We have a lot of fun putting our own unique spin on what the message of this classic tale is and expressing it through song and dance.”

The story is the same as the original version of “A Christmas Carol,” but this production features different genres of music and dance to express the different moments of the show.

“During one of our meet and greets, a mother came up to tell me while I was still in my Scrooge outfit that the show made her cry, but that it also made her laugh at the appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Present,” Kamin, who plays Scrooge and is a co-lyricist, said. “Dickens tells us that he was something of a prankster and we went to town with that. So everything he does is to needle Scrooge into getting out of his doldrums with a lot of practical jokes so that’s what the show is like.”

The production will have 14 performances under its belt by the time it gets to Lima, but Harkness said that the cast looks forward to seeing the passion out of audiences in the local venues where they perform.

“They’re so passionate about bringing art to their community that the size of the venue doesn’t matter,” she said. “We feel so honored to be a part of that and to see their communities come and experience this so we can’t wait to see Lima and the Civic Center.”

“Being the only returning member of the tour, it’s really great to go back to different areas that I’ve been to,” Tedcastle, who plays Tiny Tim, said. “It’s just great coming out and having all the cast members of the show putting full force into giving people what they paid for.”

But it was not easy completely redoing the show for a new cast and style.

Harkness said that the rehearsal process lasted 12 days, including scene work, tech and costumes.

“That is a very fast process,” she said. “If you learn the theatrical process through college, you spend a semester in the process. So here, we had to cram all of that into one rehearsal block per number.”

It is all worth it, though, to bring the story to life in such a creative way.

“It’s the best of both worlds because we get to perform a timeless story and a classic that people love so we know people are coming for that story and we get the chance to share it and learn the characters,” Harkness said. “But then we also get to tell it our way with our unique vision and original material. We get to put our own spin on it, but also have that thrilling and very special honor of carrying on a traditional story that people love and enjoy and we get to be part of that story with our own vision.”

“Scrooge is often looking at things he’s being shown, but he is also reliving them at the same time so I am able to react in character to lyrics that I may have written,” Kamin said. “So it’s a very dimensional experience because I’m essentially reacting like the audience, but they’ll also glance at me. It has been one of the high points of my life and it’s a very deep and affecting experience.”

“Whenever I deliver the ‘God bless us’ line, I make it powerful because it’s really the symbol of the story,” Tedcastle said. “It shows everyone that throughout every hard time, there is a person or feeling that will always be there to help you during your time of need.”

To learn more about this production of “A Christmas Carol”, visit the Perseverance Productions website.

For more information about Sunday’s 3 p.m. show or to purchase tickets, visit the Civic Center website.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.