Catching the Christmas Spirits
I love Christmas like Oprah loves bread. It’s my most favorite season of the year. Which, living in a tropical paradise, catching the Christmas spirit is, I imagine, a little more difficult than that of our continental cousins. They have snow and sleighs and chestnuts popping. We enjoy sun and slippers and crackseed. However, I can still joyfully jump into the Yuletide season the day after Thanksgiving, decking the halls with Christmas ornaments and lights.
When I was a child, my sisters and I watched all the Christmas classics on television, A Christmas Carol being a must see. The ghost of Marley, and those of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, gave "Christmas spirit" a whole new meaning.
A Christmas Carol: The Musical, directed by John Rampage, is currently showing at Diamond Head Theatre until December 23rd. It is an extravaganza! Miles Phillips plays Ebenezer Scrooge and gives it a thoughtful twist. Scrooge is usually played as a super villain: cantankerous, mean-spirited—a horrible human being. Phillips gives Scrooge a more grounded personality—practical and bothered by allowing things like a holiday to get in the way of business. That is, until he is visited by the ghost of his departed business partner, Jacob Marley, played by Tony M. Young, who warns Scrooge of his waywardness, and announces that three more spirits will come to visit him during the night, each with their own message. Christopher Obenchain (Ghost of Christmas Past), Joe Martyak (Ghost of Christmas Present), and Celia Chun (Ghost of Christmas Future) are each featured with their own song and dance numbers, joined by an enormously talented cast who exceed all expectations.
Originally presented annually at New York City's Paramount Theatre in Madison Square Garden, this show ran from December 1994 to December 2003. A Christmas Carol: The Musical is based on the 1843 Charles Dickens novella, and has music by Alan Menken with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and book by Mike Ockrent and Ahrens.
A highlight for me was a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Fezziweg's holiday party. LeGrand Tolo Lawrence and Stacey Pulmano as the Fezziwegs are absolutely charming and captivating. Mia Shelbourne, who plays Ebenezer's fiancé Emily, is also another standout worth mentioning. Her angelic voice is crisp and clear, and will be, in my opinion, a talent to keep an eye on.
Just a side note, don't expect to hear any of your Christmas carol favorites—these songs are all originals. There weren't any songs that I hummed leaving the theatre but the memory of colors, lights, costumes, music, and dance numbers definitely filled me with more holiday joy.
Yes, this production is indeed an extravaganza! DHT pulls out all the stops for this one. As mentioned before, this is a musical, meaning this production is done primarily with music throughout every scene. And dancing. A lot of music and dancing. But, hey, this is after all, a musical. Musical Director Judy Yoshioka successfully delivers the cast, orchestra, and story from beginning to end. Special mentions also go to Set Designer Willie Sabel, Costumer Karen G. Wolfe, Lighting by Dawn Oshima, Hair, Make-up, and Wig Design by Friston Ho'okano, and Choreography by Lisa Kimsey.
So don your gay apparel and celebrate the seasonal spirit with loved ones everywhere, near and far... and Happy Christmas, one and all!