A Christmas Carol Experience At The Sierra Madre Playhouse

 Charles Dickens would have appreciated the artful rendition of his beloved play ‘A Christmas Carol’ that was crafted by the Sierra Madre playhouse.  The playhouse itself is set in a small town atmosphere where you still find the local families watching outdoor movies on Main Street with local outdoor vendors and at this time of year, Santa sits in the town square patiently makes time with any child that takes an interest.  

The town itself is worth coming for but the playhouse is an added bonus.  No need to brave the Los Angeles crowds to go to a big theatre with expensive parking when you can get top of the line entertainment in this quaint setting.  

The show topped off with director, Christina Harris introducing the play of the night as well as up-coming plays in a theatrical, over-the top kinda way but it set the mood for the start of the play. The   sets were done by John Vertrees with all the glitz of a Hollywood movie set. Lighting director, Jeremy Pivnick created the subtle nuances that was reflective of the fine artistry of a master stage craftsman. The extraordinary costumes were authentically designed in the British Victorian Christmas tradition by Elizabeth Mackey Peterson.

 I usually do NOT like theatrical actors because they tend to over-act but I was pleasantly surprised by this particular cast. Scrooge as portrayed by Scott Harris, was the embodiment of a wintery cold soul. This particular adaptation paints a vivid portrait of Scrooge’s unfortunate childhood. Unfortunately, the mentally afflicted Scrooge in this Victorian era setting, only had unworldly guests dropping in one-by-one warning of the “things to come” and no meds to calm himself down.  In any case, the ghosts help the psychiatric state of the old miser, his loneliness as well as other issues. 

What impressed me the most however, was the way these actors handled the children during scenes when they could not remember their lines or were so young that they could not follow the complicated steps of the dance scenes. The parenting skills of this cast was evident as they swept the children off their feet, hugged, played and danced with them. It created atmosphere of the love of family, close friends and the warm spirit that the holiday season represents.

 For those of you that live outside the area should make the trip just to remind yourself of how beautiful small town life can be with neighbors that actually know and care about one another.  You will not find this type of spirit on the Westside or on Rodeo in Los Angeles.  Bring the whole family from grandparents to babies.  The Sierra Madre playhouse is located at 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024. The play runs through December 20. To check times and dates visit the Sierra Madre Playhouse website.

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