Arts & Theater

‘A Christmas Carol’ gives Sacramento theater a tradition unlike any other

Matt K. Miller plays Ebeneezer Scrooge in Sacramento Theatre Company’s “A Christmas Carol.”
Matt K. Miller plays Ebeneezer Scrooge in Sacramento Theatre Company’s “A Christmas Carol.” Charr Crail Photography

There are quaint little holiday traditions, and then there are the rock-solid kind: presents, songs and Charles’ Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. For many, the season wouldn’t be complete without seeing the classic on stage, and the Sacramento Theater Company is happy to provide the opportunity.

“We pride ourselves in being a part of families’ holiday traditions,” said Bridget Styles, a spokesperson STC. “While this version of the show has been adapted, it’s the tried-and-true classic story. It holds a message of kindness, inclusion, and sharing, which are lessons that everybody can relate to – not just those who celebrate Christmas. Ultimately, patrons can expect to have the nostalgic experience of enjoying this classic with their whole family.”

The show stars Matt K. Miller and Michael Jenkinson in the roles of Ebenezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchit, respectively. They are joined by fellow Equity actor Melinda Parrett in her first time playing the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past.

“This is my favorite literary story,” Parrett said. “I grew up performing A Christmas Carol. I first did it in sixth grade and have even done this specific adaptation at a couple of other theaters. The Ghost of Christmas Past has always been a role that I’ve wanted to play. It’s such beautiful language and such a great responsibility to help show Ebenezer Scrooge the error of his ways.”

The cast includes 34 actors including 12 professional performers as well as 22 student performers from STC’s School of the Arts program, who come from grades 4 through 12. It is co-directed by Jenkinson and Michael Laun.

While the look and feel may be familiar in a charming way, there are new costumes for all of the ghosts, as reimagined by costume designer Jessica Minnihan.

This is the 175th anniversary of Dickens’ publication of A Christmas Carol. Something that makes this adaptation, which was first published in 1987, a bit more special is that the playwright Richard Hellesen and late composer David de Berry, who passed away in 1995, are locals. De Berry was the resident composer and musical director of the Sacramento Theatre Company and his photo still adorns the lobby. Hellesen still attends productions.

The music is directed by Samuel Clein. The festive scenic designs and lighting are made possible by Jarrod Bodensteiner, Renee Degarmo and Jordan Burkholder.

More than 5,000 people are expected to see the show this season, with matinees and shows closer to Christmas being most likely to sell out.

What that makes this year’s performance of A Christmas Carol stand out is that it is sponsored in part by Women’s Empowerment, a nonprofit whose goal is to educate and empower women who are homeless with the skills and confidence necessary to get a job, maintain a healthy lifestyle and regain a home for themselves and their children.

“If the theme of a play resonates with a nonprofit we bring them into the fold,” Styles said. “We offer free advertising in our playbills, free tickets to plays they can offer to whomever they wish, a special nonprofit partner ticket price just for their members and access to our event space at no charge to do a fundraiser, hold a class or a meeting,” said Styles. “Throughout the run of A Christmas Carol, we will be collecting diapers and socks for Women’s Empowerment.”

The theater will be collecting diapers and socks for Women’s Empowerment before every show.

A Christmas Carol has something for the whole family including children four-years-of-age or older. In fact, the whole audience often joins in by joyfully reciting the iconic last line from Tiny Tim.

If You Go

A Christmas Carol

Where: Sacramento Theatre Company, Main Stage is located at 1419 H Street

When: Now through Dec. 23

Runtime: Two hours and five minutes, with a 15-minute intermission

Cost: $20 to 40. Discounts available for students, seniors and military. No children under 4.

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