Monday, November 14, 2016

A Holiday Tradition Gets a New Look, Chatham Players to Present 'A Christmas Carol'

The Chatham Community Players keeps their longstanding holiday tradition alive with its production of Philip Wm. McKinley & Suzanne Buhrer’s musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL opening Friday, December 9 and running until December 22. Returning to the Chatham Playhouse, Jeffrey Fiorello of Montclair directs the show, Jack Bender of Jersey City is the musical director and Dawn Afanador of Roseland is the Choreographer. This year’s production will have a “brand new look” to it, courtesy of Jim Bazewicz‘s fresh new set design.

In this version, produced exclusively at the Chatham Playhouse since 1988, Dickens serves not only as narrator, but also as a character that befriends Scrooge and walks beside him during his life-changing journey through memories and premonitions. While the script remains true to the original story, the playwright also pulled from letters that Dickens wrote to family and friends. The story of Ebenezer Scrooge has become one of the most beloved of all holiday tales, and this unique production also reminds us that Dickens’ inspiration for penning the story goes much deeper. “As a child, every year, around the Holidays my father would read "A Christmas Carol" to my brothers and me. I guess in his own way he was trying to do what the character of Dickens in McKinley’s version of "...Carol" is doing... that is, to educate us about the true meaning of Christmas and the care and concern for our fellow man,” explains Jeffrey Fiorello.

The large and talented cast includes actors from all around New Jersey: Chip Prestera of Stirling (photo left), Alan Semok of Somerset, Erin Dambrie of MadisonSky Monroe, Ella Autumn Meakem and Christina Kirk from Morristown, Gus Ibranyi from BloomfieldJoelle Bochner, Sarah Bauman and Eila Francis of SpringfieldCynthia Van Wert from Florham Park, Michael Smith-Gallo of Montclair, Jody Ebert and Parker Ebert from Westfield, Jacqueline Pothier from Summit, Marie Laine from Maplewood, Ivan Grandov from New Providence, Caila Yarwood of Bridgewater,Charley Baird-Hasselland Logan Guvenel from ChathamElla and Victor Afanador from RoselandRachel Gesner and Richie Carchia from Short HillsRobert Hollis Lincoln of Morris PlainsSusan Ramirez of Belleville and Tony Murphy of Jersey City.

A Popular Holiday Tradition

This marks the 18th time that the Chatham Players has produced this show.  From 1988-1995, the group produced the show every December, and it now produces the show on a biennial basis. This unique production has become a popular family tradition for many in the area – entertaining more than 32,000 audience members since 1988.

After presenting the show essentially the same way since 1988, Chatham Players re-staged the show in 2005 and in 2008 gave it a new look and feel. This production will feature a fresh look in 2016 courtesy of Jim Bazewicz’s set design. Our current production focuses on the joyous uplifting message that Dickens intended, with all the music that our audiences have found so enchanting over the years. This year’s production marks the 21st anniversary of Alan Semok’s first appearance as Ebenezer Scrooge. The show will have audience members leaving the theatre with the "true Christmas spirit," and will remind each and every one of them to embrace the joy and happiness associated with the holiday season.

Fiorello shared, “I hope that audiences will come see this production, and make "A Christmas Carol" a part of their holiday tradition. A story like this, with its themes of: a second chance, re-birth, humanitarianism, forgiveness, compassion, love, family values, and hope, are timeless, as timeless as Christmas itself.”

Box Office Information – Online Ticketing

Performance dates are December 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 21 & 22 at 8 PM and December 10, 11, 17 & 18 at 3 PM. All performances are at the Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Avenue, in Chatham. Tickets are $25 for adults and $23 for youth/senior. Tickets for the December 21 & 22 performances, which will benefit the Chatham Playhouse’s Building Fund, are $30 for adults and $28 for youth/senior. The theater expects this show to sell out and encourages people to reserve their tickets early.

Tickets can be purchased online. 
To access the theater’s new online ticketing service, where you can now reserve your particular seat, simply go to The service is available 24 hours a day. Purchasing tickets in person at Chatham Playhouse’s box office will begin on November 29. For information regarding box office hours, please call the box office number at (973) 635-7363. Patrons with special needs requiring seating accommodations should contact the Playhouse at least 24 hours prior to the performance. Without prior notice, accommodations cannot be guaranteed. 

About the Chatham Playhouse

The Chatham Community Players has been entertaining residents of Morris County and the surrounding area since 1922. The organization’s mission is to produce high-quality theater for a diverse audience, while elevating its standard of excellence and providing a creative outlet with educational opportunities and outreach programs. For more information, including details of CCP’s 2016-2017 season, visit Funding has been made possible in part by Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

TOP PHOTO: Alan Semok of Somerset stars as Ebenezer Scrooge.  
Photos by Howard Fischer

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