A Christmas Carol: The Musical, pure gold at Toby’s (review)

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” – Charles DickensA Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol: The Musical is to the Dickensian tale what Spamalot was to Arthurian legend. Perhaps it is smidge or two less slapstick, but it is still a fun, self-aware, frequently delightfully hammy musical romp through a dusty old classic. And it is a near-perfect fit for a dinner theater show at Toby’s.

From the very first scene, the show smacks you in the face with its vibrancy. Lawrence B. Munsey’s costumes are a flurry of color. David Hopkin’s set brings the world to life. And Alan Menken’s luscious harmonies sung by the large cast envelop you in Christmas from the very first moment.

Members of the cast of A Christmas Carol: The Musical (Photo: Jeri Tidwell Photography)

Members of the cast of A Christmas Carol: The Musical (Photo: Jeri Tidwell Photography)

The entire show was stolen every single moment that Lucas Bromberg, the second grade superstar who played Tiny Tim when I attended, was on the stage. I’m not sure I knew what notes were at that age, but Bromberg certainly does, and he doesn’t miss a single one. He harmonizes, and has a huge stage presence for one so small.

But Bromberg isn’t the only one with incredible pipes. Having such a large cast with so much talent left me wanting more. I found myself craving more moments with Crystal Freeman’s Mrs. Fezziwig, Darren McDonnell’s hilariously sprightly Christmas Present, and many members of the ensemble, whose small parts gave but brief glimpses into the depths of their talent.

David Bosley-Reynolds as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol: The Musical with Noah as Tiny Time (far right). (Photo: Jeri Tidwell Photography)

David Bosley-Reynolds as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol: The Musical  (Photo: Jeri Tidwell Photography)

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Want to go?
A Christmas Carol
5stars
closes January 8, 2016
Details and tickets
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In fact, that is my only complaint. The pacing of the show seems rushed. At times, it works well, keeping the energy up and rolling forward, but there were times where it felt a bit too chaotic and hectic, even to the point of disorientation. For example, the Follies-style tap number seen in “Abundance and Charity,” was visually stunning–but the sudden change in costume and style from Dickensian England to 1920’s America was a bit jarring, if still quite enjoyable.

If you’re looking for a show that will warm even the most “Bah Humbug” of hearts, A Christmas Carol: The Musical is pure gold. Plus, If you want to get a double dose of Christmas cheer, come early and drive through the Symphony of Lights, right next door.

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A Christmas Carol: The Musical. Music by: Alan Menken. Lyrics by: Lynn Ahrens. Book by: Mike Ockrent and Lynn Ahrens. Based on the story by: Charles Dickens. Original choreography by: Susan Stroman. Originally directed by: Mike Ockrent. Originally presented by: Radio City Entertainment at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Directed by: David James. Musical Direction by: Pamela Wilt. Featuring: Scean Aaron, Marykate Brouillet, Heather Marie Beck, Melynda Burdette, Jermy Scott Blaustein, Justin Calhoun, David Bosley-Reynolds, Coby Callahan, Lucas Bromberg, Tina Marie Desimone, Joseph Ellinghaus, David James, Crystal Freeman, Rachel Kemp, Bobby Cook Gallagher, Jen Kohlhafer, Noah Graham, Darren McDonnell, Andrew Horn, Lawrence B. Munsey, Mackenzie Newbury, Jeffrey Shankle, Chris Rudy, Katie Tyler, Sophie Schulman, AJ Whittenberger. Artistic Director: Toby Orenstein. Associate producer: Mark Minnick. Choreographer: Laurie Newton. Lighting desiger: Coleen M. Foley. Scenic and Light Designer/Associate Artisitc director: David A. Hopkins. Costume designer/Associate artistic director: Lawrence B. Munsey. Sound designer: Mark Smedley. Production manager/Casting: Vickie S. Johnson. Production stage manager: Kate Wackerle. Properties and Set dressing: Amy Kaplan. Set construction: David A. HOpkins, Jimmy Englekemier, Russel Sunday, John Pantazis. Light board operatrs: Coleen M. Foley, Heather WIlliams. Sound board operator: Johnny Pantazis. Running crew: Mikayla Kraft, Erin MacDonald, Amber Masters, Brian Wensus. Dance Cptain: Rachel Kemp. Produced by: Toby’s The Dinner Theatre Of Columbia . Reviewed by RK Pendergrass.

RK Pendergrass About RK Pendergrass

Rachel Pendergrass is a writer, performer, and the host of the Solve for X Science Variety Show, an internationally touring show that teams up science, comedy, and the arts. She has written for numerous publications as a science writer, journalist, and humorist, including McSweeneys, HowStuffWorks, TEDx, Eater DC, and more. She has performed on numerous stages around her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, as well as on the traveling storytelling shows RISK! and StoryCollider. Find her on twitter as @sharkespearean, or at www.rkpendergrass.com.

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