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This season, there can simply be too many holiday shows for one reviewer to cover. With a show to attend in the morning, and two different shows to see at night, I turned once again to my favorite guest reviewer, Adam Crowe. Adam covered the IRT show while I saw another. (You can see Adam onstage this holiday season in IRT’s wonderful “The Velveteen Rabbit”.) Here is his take on IRT’s “A Christmas Carol”:

I’m going to let you in on a little secret . . . a little bit of insider information. Actors sometimes find that being in a “Holiday” show is a little demoralizing. They still love what they do, they still appreciate that they are being paid for what they love, and they can even muster some genuine Holiday spirit on occasion. But, cranking up all that snow-glittered joy and gingerbread enthusiasm 8 or more times a week – while still trying to deal with the Holidays in their own lives – can be a tough row to hoe. I tell you this not to garner your sympathy for those onstage. After all, you are the ones buying the tickets. Instead, I tell you this so that you’ll have even more appreciation (and awe) for shows where none of that lowered morale or exertion appears onstage – not even for a second. Such is the case over at Indiana Repertory Theatre, where some very talented people are ringing in the Holiday with a rousing rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

The cast of "A Christmas Carol" - presented by IRT.

The cast of “A Christmas Carol” – presented by IRT.


IRT works their Christmas Carol cast & crew like Santa works those elves. To meet the demand for student matinees and public performances, the theater packs a LOT of shows into every week. This year’s cast had already performed many student matinees and preview performances before Saturday’s Opening Night. But once the lights came up on that beautiful snow-covered stage, every actor and every person behind the scenes seemed to be telling this classic story for the very first time.
Ryan Artzberger is Ebenezer Scrooge in IRT's "A Christmas Carol".

Ryan Artzberger is Ebenezer Scrooge in IRT’s “A Christmas Carol”.


Ryan Artzberger returns this year as the man in need of a lesson or two, and IRT regulars and newcomers fill the stage delightfully. As adapted by former Artistic Director Tom Haas, IRT’s 90 minute version of this tale requires everyone onstage to pitch in and tell the story, and they do so with verve, humor and more than a bit of menace (it IS a ghost story, after all). Appearing this year are Matthew Brumlow, Liz Kimball, Chuck Goad, Scot Greenwell, Will Mobley, David Alan Anderson, Milicent Wright, Leah Brenner DeWalt, Emily Ristine, and Robert Neal. Two casts of young actors alternate performances and can be found at the IRT website: http://www.irtlive.com/files/image/2014-15%20Season%20/Carol_2014_YoungActors2.pdf Opening Night featured the Green Team, and they were all Terrific!
The Cratchit family in "A Christmas Carol" at IRT.

The Cratchit family in “A Christmas Carol” at IRT.


The wonderful thing about Indianapolis theater is its diversity. Whether your Holiday tastes run light or dark, whether you want musical extravaganza or simple story telling, there is a local theater that is offering something that is just right for you. In my case, some classic Dickens is my preferred holiday fare, and IRT has once again hit the bull’s-eye!

A Christmas Carol runs through December 26th. You can find out more about the schedule and reserve tickets by calling the Box Office at (317) 635-5252, or by going to the website at http://www.irtlive.com.

* – All photos by Zach Rosing
* – Banner artwork by Kyle Ragsdale

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