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Contributed | BDN
Contributed | BDN


Staged community reading of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at the Opera House

STONINGTON – The magical spirit of the Christmas season comes alive December 18-20, 2009 in Opera House Arts at the Stonington Opera House’s (OHA) original community production of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale, “A Christmas Carol.” This unique readers’ theater production, adapted and directed by Robert Burke, will feature live violin/fiddle music by Deer Isle-Stonington High School student Esther Adams; as well as island middle school student Ivan Zembrusky as Tiny Tim. The rest of the local cast includes Larry Estey; Karen Galella; Judith Jerome; Cherie Mason; with Burke as Scrooge.

“Difficult times make Dickens’ tale of the true spirit of Christmas more relevant and moving than ever,” said Judith Jerome, OHA’s Artistic Director. “And so much of the magic of live theater is in bringing people together to celebrate family and community.”

Six actors share narration and play multiple characters in this readers’ theater adaptation of the well known story. The drama’s inherent spookiness is enhanced by an original sound design, and old English melodies played on the violin highlight Dickens’ Victorian narrative. A giant evergreen dominates the stage and fills the hall with its wintry scent, and special concessions—mulled wine, rice pudding—help to create a festive holiday atmosphere.

Director Robert Burke, who also stars as Scrooge, was born and raised in Portland and operates a cabinet/finish carpentry shop in Sedgwick. He has been involved in a number of Opera House Arts’ community playreadings. Mr. Burke first directed readings of “A Christmas Carol” for The Catholic Center at New York University. Among his many acting credits are Hamlet in HAMLET, Troilus in TROILUS & CRESSIDA, and Billy Bishop in BILLY BISHOP GOES TO WAR. He has been a narrator for PBS’s American Masters: Robert Capa: In Love & War; Discovery Channel’s Christmas in America; and for Frontline’s The Hugo Chavez Story.

“A Christmas Carol” is at the Stonington Opera House Friday, December 18 and Saturday, December 19 at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, December 20 at 2 p.m. only. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for those under 17 years of age. Advance reservations can be made by calling 207-367-2788, and tickets can be purchased at the door or online at www.operahousearts.org.

The 1912 Stonington Opera House, on the National Register of Historic Places, is open year round. Opera House Arts (OHA), a 501 C 3 community nonprofit organization, produces original, live performance events and films that celebrate and extend Maine’s cultural legacy; and that integrate professional performers with community members. OHA also screens first run and independent movies; hosts special community events and dances; and runs performance and community leadership-building programs for teens and adults. For further information please call 367-2788 or go to www.operahousearts.org.