It was a magical evening. As the moon hung over Harn Homestead, the anticipation of the audience was palpable. All were prepared for a special evening. And the cast of Lyric Theater’s “A Christmas Carol” did not disappoint them. “A Christmas Carol” is a ghost story, and story of redemption. A man, Scrooge, (Jonathan Beck Reed) had been living a life of greed and selfishness, when on Christmas Eve he is visited by three ghost: Ghost of Christmas Past, (Emily J. Pace), Ghost of Christmas Present (Caleb Barnett) and Ghost of Christmas Future, a very scary puppet. The result of these visitations transforms Scrooge from a selfish man into a man of philanthropy, generosity and joy. The pace of the production was very brisk, in spite of the logistics of moving about 100 people out of doors from scene to scene. The lights flashed and the ghosts hovered. And the sound was incredible, given the limitations of outdoor production. This being a Lyric production, one should expect exceptional singing. And this production did not disappoint. The performance of the carols was beautiful, a wonderful start to the holiday season.
“A Christmas Carol” has two casts: Holly and Ivy. Some performers are in both casts others are in only one. Jonathan Beck Reed reprised his masterful Scrooge with vim and vigor. Reed’s dastardly Scrooge, the one who hates everyone, was subtle, yet very effective. And the transformation of his character as the ghost stories continued was superb. While the character of Scrooge carries the show, Reed is most generous on stage, allowing the lesser roles to shine as well. Emily J. Pace (Holly and Ivy cast), as Ghost of Christmas Past, was delightfully snarky as she revealed Scrooge’s past. Pace in her glittery costume flited from space to space, as Scrooge’s regret grew and grew. Caleb Barnett (Holly cast), as Ghost of Christmas Present, was full of joy. His large belly laugh made one feel all was right with the world. Matthew Alvin Brown as Fred (Holly and Ivy cast), Scrooge’s irrepressible nephew, was a joy to watch.
This production will be the last one staged out of doors. Next season’s production will include all new costumes, sets and staging. “A Christmas Carol” will run at Harn Homestead, 1721 N. Lincoln Boulevard, through December 23. All performances are outside. This production is a real Christmas treat!