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Monday, December 7, 2015


Yes, it’s that time of year again. We’re buried in snow as we head into the holiday season, and the Palace was once again the home to a Dickensian classic. Well, maybe not so much on the snow (see what happens when I have the snowblower all ready to go?). And maybe not quite a classic in the Dickensian sense of the word, but "Scrooge: The Musical" made its annual appearance on our local stage.

"Scrooge: The Musical" featured a large cast, many of whom had performed
the Lockport Christmas classic before. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER / 
ENP STAFF)
Sure, it’s a hokey holiday musical, but it enchanted its Lockport audience for the 12th consecutive year. This year was my second time seeing the performance, and it was just as good as last year. Well, maybe just a little better this year in my eyes. Last year, two of my daughters, Patience and Corliss, were in it. This year we had three Bacon Bits gracing the stage as our youngest, Josephine, joined two of her sisters.

Scrooge is a light-hearted adaptation of "Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol" written by Corning native David Smith. Under direction of Palace Executive Director, Christopher Parada; choreographer, Emily Prucha; vocal director, Bethany Rarick; music director, Jeanette Sheliga; and stage manager, Meghan Curr, a large cast was pulled together in a few short weeks to deliver a rousing musical.

Dennis Donovon returned once again for the role of Scrooge. Having played the part for all of the performances of the musical over the years at the Palace, Donovon has perfected his portrayal of the infamous miser. One of my favorite parts of his performance was during his introduction to the Ghost of Christmas Present (Jessica Stroupe). While singing to a Caribbean beat, Scrooge busts a move to match those by Stroupe. Additionally, his fear of her sexuality was hilarious.

Jack Landrigan and Kathleen Dewey, playing the parts of Mr. and Mrs. Cratchett, joined Donovon as actors who have been on stage for all 12 performances of Scrooge. They were joined by Ethan Koplas as their son, Tiny Tim, and Evelyn Zimmerman as their daughter. Sixth-grader Koplas wowed the audience with his heart-wrenching musical numbers as Tim tried to look on the bright side of a dreary life.

This interpretation of a holiday classic brings some new laughs. In all honesty, it was just as fun the second time around as it was the first. There are some people who have seen it all 12 times. "Scrooge: The Musical" has truly become a Lockport institution and tradition. Next year if you get the time, it is well worth the time to come down to the Palace to see this performance. I’m sure it will be a part of the Palace holiday season for as long as people continue to sit in the seats.

I’m also sure that at least three out of four daughters will once again be a part of "Scrooge: The Musical." Josephine was ecstatic that Scrooge chose her twice to be the child he asked what day it was after the visits by the three ghosts. She didn’t miss a beat as she rattled off, “Why, Mr. Scrooge, it’s Christmas Day!”

The 2015 edition of this musical was a lot of fun to watch. And yes, Jeanette, you DO need more cowbell in the pit.

+Craig Bacon reviews theater performances for East Niagara Post. 



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