‘Are there no poor laws?’

Published 9:54 am Thursday, December 1, 2011

Belle Christopher, on the right played by Mariah Howe, surprise the orphans they care for with the arrival of Gerry Christopher, played by Tyler Vandenhouvel. Orphans left to right are Carine Rofshus, Katherine Sime, Carson McGivern, Logan Howe, Abigail Chalmers, Jayna Finseth, Khira Hacker and Grace Van Brocklin. -- Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune


See a photo gallery.

A show that opens tonight, full of traditional carols and actors of all ages, has all the right stuff to get people into the Christmas spirit.

Albert Lea Community Theatre presents “The Dickens Christmas Carol Show” starting at 7 p.m. tonight at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center. The show is an adaptation of the Charles Dickens Christmas classic and is co-directed by Glen Parsons and Gordy Handeland. Parsons plays Ebenezer Scrooge, who’s on stage in most scenes, so it helped to have another director.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s really a family show,” Parsons said. “We’re just really proud of the whole cast — we have a fun time together.”

Not only is the show appropriate for all ages, there are actors ranging from young to old in the show. Also, a few of the actors are related to others, which can be interesting.

One example is Ann Van Brocklin, who plays the second charitable woman, a caroler and a party guest. Her daughter, Grace, who plays Ignorance and an orphan, originally tried out for the play back in October. Ann came along, and decided to try out on a whim with friend, Jill Nelson. Both were cast in the play.

“I feel ready, but it’s live so you never know,” Ann said. “The directors are great — for not being a seasoned actress they make you feel like you do have something to offer.”

The directors both said they enjoyed having all ages cast in the show. They do have to teach some of the simpler things about theater to newcomers, but it’s all part of the fun.

“They learn from the people around them, too,” Handeland said.

Ann said her favorite part of the show is the party at the home of the Fezziwigs, where all the characters are singing and dancing. The directors agreed that the scene is a lively one the crowd will enjoy.

The show follows Ebenezer Scrooge on his journey with three Christmas spirits as he transforms from a cold, mean-spirited man to a generous man filled with holiday cheer. Parsons said the emotional journey he goes through is one of his favorite parts of playing Scrooge.

It isn’t a musical, but it is a play filled with music, Parsons said.

In addition to carolers signing between scenes, the children who play the orphans plan to sing in the lobby before each show. The show opens Friday and Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee showing Sunday. Other showings will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 7-10, all at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center. “The Dickens Christmas Carol Show” lasts about two hours, with a 15-minute intermission.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. They may be purchased by logging on to www.actonbroadway.com or at the box office which opened Monday.

Tickets, please

What: ACT’s production of “A Dickens Christmas Carol Show”
Where: Marion Ross Performing Arts Center
When: 7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; 7 p.m. Dec. 7-10
How much: $15 for adults and $10 for students

Who plays what?

Ebenezer Scrooge     Glen Parsons
Bob Cratchit     Ben Deines
Mrs. Cratchit    Sophie Ehrhardt
Fred Bennison/caroler/party guest    Matt Stoneking
Mary Bennison     Aimee Chalmers
Peter Greenlaw    Tim Engstrom
Caroline Greenlaw    Samantha Klukow
Jacob Marley    Brian Mattson
Boy on Christmas morning    Ethan Lunning
Young Ebenezer/caroler/party guest    Travis Nemec
Dick/caroler/party guest    Sam Ehrhardt
Mr. Fezziwig/caroler/party guest    Jay Paul
Emma Fezziwig/caroler/party guest    Emily Miller
Tom Keddle    Les Anderson
Belle Christopher/caroler/party guest    Mariah Howe
Gerry Christopher    Tyler Vandenhouvel
Ghost of Christmas Present/caroler/party guest    Jason Howland
Ghost of Christmas Past    Rebekah Sousa
Ghost of Christmas Future    Sheri Nemec
Martha Cratchit    Maddie Willey
Belinda Cratchit    Grace Chalmers
Peter Cratchit    Preston Smith
Robert Cratchit    Ryan Nelson
Tim Cratchit    Dane Brownlow
Emily Cratchit/caroler/party guest    Charley Fleek
First Charitable Lady/caroler/party guest    Jill Nelson
Second Charitable Lady/caroler/party guest    Ann Van Brocklin
Joe Snatchly     Al Jorgensen
Mrs. Dilber    Nancy Lahs
Mrs. Gooley    Kristan Dye
First Merchant/caroler/party guest    Jody Ellertson
Second Merchant/caroler/party guest    Kris Bartley
Ben Scrooge/orphan    Logan Howe
Fanny Scrooge/orphan    Jayna Finseth
Ignorance/orphan    Grace Van Brocklin
Want    Evy Christensen
Caroler/party guest    Natalie Runden
Caroler/party guest    Pam Schmidt
Caroler/party guest    Karen Szymanowski
Caroler/party guest    McKinzey Christian
Caroler/party guest    Rhiannon Farr
Caroler/party guest    Cassidy Daniel
Orphan    Abigail Chalmers
Orphan    Carson McGivern
Orphan    Carine Rofshus
Orphan    Aidan Beckmann
Orphan    Katherine Sime
Orphan    Khira Hacker