‘A Christmas Carol’ at The Ritz this weekend only

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Contributed by Theatre of Gadsden

The Theatre of Gadsden (TOG) will bring to life Charles Dickens’ tale of holiday redemption, A Christmas Carol, Dec. 1-3 at the historic Ritz Theatre in Alabama City. The play, by John Mortimer, retells the timeless story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his fateful encounter with a group of Yuletide spirits.

Scrooge will be played by a TOG veteran, David Jones, who previously performed in 13 different productions, including Gypsy, Jesus Christ Superstar, Big River and Anne of Green Gables.

When he’s not torturing Bob Cratchit on the stage, Jones is a hospice chaplain. He says everybody has a little bit of Scrooge in them.

“There are things that we are a Scrooge about,” Jones said. “It’s just a question of getting to let out that emotion that you don’t ordinarily. To be a little angry — it’s kind of fun.”

Juli Christensen plays the Ghost of Christmas Past, who begins Scrooge on the journey through his memories, showing him how his heart began to harden. A longtime admirer of Dickens and all things Victorian, Christensen said she reread the classic to better understand her character.

“No matter what variation of this story I experience, I never grow tired of it,” Christensen said. “Its message of hope and redemption that has withstood the test of time, and there has never been a greater time than now to share it.”

A Christmas Carol also represents the directorial debut of Nica Hodge, who has worked on several TOG productions since 2015, as stage manager and assistant director. For her first time running the show, Hodge is steering a 54-person cast through a well-known story.

“It can be very intimidating,” she said. “For a first show, it’s huge. I think it would be easier if it was a little show that nobody knew. We’ve got a great cast, people doing community theatre for years and people who have never acted before.”

Hodge said she began preparing for the show by listening to the book several times and reading it, until she could see a picture in her mind of the action on the page.

A Christmas Carol showtimes are 7 p.m. Dec. 1; and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for students, military members and seniors, $15 for groups of 10 or more, and $13 for groups of 20 or more.

You can order tickets at www.theatreofgadsden.org or call 256-547-7469.

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