‘A Christmas Carol — The Musical’ at the Arvada Center

Harriet Hunter Ford, Around Town
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The story is the same but the presentation is quite different. The musical version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” has very little spoken dialogue. Instead the presentation is reminiscent of “Les Miz,” as my grandson pointed out to me when we saw the show at the Arvada Center recently.

The presentation is lively with glorious costumes and inventive sets that change with the various scenes. The many special effects enhance the telling of the story of the greedy, selfish, mean Ebenezer Scrooge who finds redemption with the help of four ghosts.

Director Gavin Mayer leads the talented cast in bringing this wonderful holiday classic to life. As usual, the voices are outstanding, the acting inspirational, the dancing impeccable, and the technical aspects of the production superior. It was an altogether delightful theater excursion.

Arvada has much to be proud of with the success of the theater division at the center. What started as not much more than a professional version of community theater has morphed into a nationally known and respected venture. As a personal editorial comment, I’m a little concerned about the proposed changes in the structure of the center. Being chauvinistic, I don’t want to see this wonderful institution slip away from Arvada.

“A Christmas Carol — The Musical” plays through Sunday, Dec. 22, at the Arvada Center. For tickets and info, call 720-898-7200 or go online to www.arvadacenter.org.

“A Christmas Carol” at the DCPA

Just a bit downstream, the Denver Center Theater Company is presenting a more traditional staging of the Dickens’ classic, which runs through Sunday, Dec. 29. Although there is music, it augments rather than replaces spoken dialogue. The Stage Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Denver is a lovely venue for this expansive production. The many trap doors in the stage provide great opportunities for creative blocking.

The large cast is excellent, and my only disconnect with the production was the casting of Mrs. Cratchit. Unfortunately, she looked significantly older than her husband, Bob Cratchit, and at first I thought she might be his mother. On a kinder note, I was delighted to see my friend Leonard E. Barrett Jr. play multiple roles, including Ghost of Christmas Present. I only wish we could have heard more of his glorious voice. He did a splendid job.

For tickets and information, call 303-893-4100 or go online to www.denvercenter.org.

Mannheim Steamroller

I had the distinct pleasure of going to a Mannheim Steamroller concert at the Buell Theatre with a new friend of a friend who treated us to the performance of one of my favorite musical groups. I’ve been a fan since founder Chip Davis plugged in his first Moog Synthesizer many, many years ago. I was not disappointed.

And, I would be remiss if I didn’t wish each of you a Merry ChristmaHannauKwanza — I think that covers it — and the very best New Year’s. Peace out!

Columnist Harriet Hunter Ford may be reached at hhunterford@msn.com.

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