That much anticipated holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, is being brought to life again this year at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater by the Temecula Valley Players. Originally penned by Charles Dickens in 1843 London, the book has not been out of print in the intervening 184 years as a measure of its timely message of hope and transformation. The story has been reproduced numerous times on stage and screen with the current musical version first appearing at New York City’s Paramount Theater in Madison Square Garden in 1994 where it played annually until 2003. The play was also one of the first productions to be produced by TVP at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater following its completion in 2005 and has returned to the stage by popular request almost every year since.
The story itself is a reflection of 1840’s London, with its poverty, workhouses and social castes while incorporating newly forming (at the time) traditions of holiday cheer, generosity and caroling. Miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Bah! Humbug!) has lost sight of the joys and love of life and needs to be reminded of what happened in his past, what is happening in his present and what will happen to his future if he doesn’t change his ways.
To help him along this path, he is visited by the ghost of his old partner, the long-dead Jacob Marley as well as the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet-to-Be. Along the way we meet his younger and more joyful self, lost loves, beloved friends and some serious party animals, the Fezziwig’s. These are off-set by some darker visions as well including the chain-shackled Marley, a very sick Tiny Tim and his own demise, among others.
But all’s well that ends well and A Christmas Carol always ends well with Scrooge rediscovering his youthful spirit, his generosity and his good cheer. And while you might be forgiven for thinking that after nearly a decade of putting on the same play it would get repetitious, the Temecula Valley Players manage to imbue the production with new life every season by bringing in new actors, choreographers and directors with a fresh take and new vision of the play. This year’s show features a notably younger cast directed and choreographed by our youngest team ever. They promise that if you don’t yet have the Christmas Spirit when you come, you certainly will by the time you leave.
And as the snow drifts gently onto the Temecula stage (honest), Tiny Tim’s final wish for you all echoes – “God bless us, everyone.”
Tickets for remaining performances are available by contacting the box office at www.tickets.temeculatheater.org.