Ira David Wood III’s “A Christmas Carol,” now in its 40th year on stage, is as much of a legend around the Triangle as the man behind the show. While it would be easy for such a beloved production to ride on the heels of its fame and just coast…doing the same thing year after year…that is not the case with this fabulous production by Theatre in the Park. It’s full of hot-and-new pop culture references and inside jokes, and they’re all hilarious. In fact, it’s so good that it will be appearing on two stages this year: the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts from December 10-14 and the Durham Performing Arts Center from December 18-21.
Ira David Wood III does triple duty as director; book music and lyrics author, and, of course, in his starring role as Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is the whole reason to see the play. He is funny in his bah-humbug-ness, giggling and thoroughly enjoying being a Grinch. The rest of the cast keeps up with Scrooge’s antics, though they are definitely show-stealing.
Fortunately, as any good Dickens fan knows, that all changes in the second act when Scrooge is taken on a telling journey of visions by three spirits, with his former business partner Jacob Marley leading the way. David Henderson does a wonderfully spooky job in his role as Marley, and Mike Raab is also especially haunting as the Ghost of Christmas Future.
Tying the (eventually) heartwarming story together are gorgeous sets by Mark Pirolo and soft lighting touches by Thomas Mauney. Watching this show feels like Christmas morning- exciting and warm. Though the pop culture references and jokes may change from year to year, one thing’s for sure; “A Christmas Carol” is still a Christmas classic.
Theatre in the Park presents A CHRISTMAS CAROL, 40th anniversary production starring Ira David Wood III as Scrooge at 7 p.m. Dec. 19, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 20, and 2 p.m. Dec. 21 in the Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco District.
TICKETS: $35.90-$110.94 (including fees).
DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787), email@example.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/how_to_buy_tickets.
Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1003849.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/group_services.
SHOW: http://theatreinthepark.com/calendar/event/2 and http://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/a-christmas-carol-2.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: http://vimeo.com/106283356 and https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL24E9AAB54AAD6D96.
DOCUMENTARY (A Christmas Carol: Behind the Magic by Mark Olexik): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc2JUMmouHs.
PRESENTER: http://www.theatreinthepark.com/, https://www.facebook.com/theatreintheparkraleigh, https://twitter.com/theatreinpark, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre_in_the_Park.
VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, https://twitter.com/DPAC, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham_Performing_Arts_Center.
A Christmas Carol (1843 novel): http://charlesdickenspage.com/carol.html (David Perdue’s Charles Dickens Page), http://web.archive.org/web/20080825120326/http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/DicChri.html (text courtesy University of Virginia Library), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol (Wikipedia).
Charles Dickens (English novelist, 1812-70): http://www.dickens2012.org/ (Dickens 2012), http://www.dickensfellowship.org/ (The Dickens Fellowship), http://charlesdickenspage.com/index.html (David Perdue’s Charles Dickens Page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dickens (Wikipedia).
Ira David Wood III (adapter, director, and star): http://theatreinthepark.com/about/whos-who (Theatre in the Park bio), https://www.facebook.com/iradavidwood (Facebook page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ira_David_Wood_III (Wikipedia).
Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/. To read more of her writings, click http://www.susiepotter.com and http://www.myspace.com/susiepotter.