'A Christmas Carol' is a top tour event

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Paris Peet as Ebenezer Scrooge encounters the Spirit of Christmas Past played by Megan Lee Miller in Totem Pole Playhouse’s production of 'A Christmas Carol' at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg.

Greencastle resident and Shippensburg University professor Paris Peet again stars as Ebenezer Scrooge in Totem Pole Playhouse's annual production of "A Christmas Carol."

This year, the play has received a “Best of the Best” Award from the American Bus Association as one of the top 100 events in North America. The “Best of the Best” designation is an annual compendium of the 100 best events for group travel in the United States and Canada.

Performances are scheduled for Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinees on Dec. 15, 16, 19, 20, 22 and 23 in Gettysburg's Majestic Theater.

ABA honors 

The American Bus Association provides more than 600 million passenger trips annually on charters, tours, scheduled service and shuttles. Membership in the ABA includes motorcoach operators, tour operators, and tourism-related organizations. A committee of its members selects the top 100 events each year from hundreds of celebrations, festivals, fairs, performing arts presentations, regional commemorative events, and more. Totem Pole’s production was submitted for consideration by Destination Gettysburg, the official marketing organization for Gettysburg and Adams County.

“Totem Pole Playhouse is excited to have received this highly coveted award and the national recognition which goes along with it,” said Rowan Joseph, the playhouse’s producing artistic director. “We are grateful to Destination Gettysburg for bringing the production to the attention of the committee and we share this honor with our producing partners, Gettysburg College’s Majestic Theater and the Gettysburg Community Theatre."

Joseph, who directs the annual production, adapted the script from the original 1843 novel, said Totem Pole’s production is noted for restoring the many Christian references in Dickens’ writing which are often omitted from other more secular versions.

Norris Flowers, president of Destination Gettysburg, noted that, "Totem Pole Playhouse offers an outstanding production that appeals to group travelers of all ages. ABA's recognition is well deserved.”

On stage

"A Christmas Carol" boasts a cast of over 60 professional union, non-union, and local community theater actors making it one the largest holiday productions of its kind in Central Pennsylvania.

Once again this year the show will be a family affair with siblings, parents and children joining each other on stage. Gettysburg residents, Eleanor Hogan will appear as a Fezziwig party guest with her daughter Reia playing Turkey Boy. Heather Miller will dance together with her daughter Ilana in the Fezziwig party scene. Fayetteville resident Melissa Mohler will be playing Mrs. Fezziwig with her young son, Liam, as Belle’s son. New Oxford’s Mark Kleinman will return as the Lamplighter with his son, Jacob, playing the role of Matthew Cratchit and his stepdaughter, Grace Panzino, appearing as a Fezziwig party dancer. Jasper Wakefield will be taking over the role of Peter Cratchit from his older brother Elliott who will be a Fezziwig party dancer this year. Phoebe Kauffman will portray Scrooge’s sister Fan, Ruby Kauffman will play Belinda Crachit while their youngest sister, Mia will be a child dancer in the show. Gettysburg’s Justin and Hope Beach will play the Bread Seller and the Ribbon Seller; Shippensburg native Denzel Surcica returns as Boy Scrooge and his younger sister, Dahlia, joins this year’s cast in the role of Want. Sisters Liliana and Kalia Hoedemaker will play the Fezziwigs' daughters with sisters Lily and Olivia Snowberger dancing together in the children’s solo section of the Fezziwig party dance.

Shane Partlow, who is featured in the film "The Green Book "currently playing in movie theaters nationwide, can be seen once again in the role of Bob Cratchit. Richard Sautter, who teaches at Gettysburg College and McDaniel College, will portray Old Joe. Jonathan Rayson and Rowan Joseph will portray Charity Man #2 and Mr. Fezziwig, respectively. And Noah Tyler will be playing Tiny Tim in this year’s production.

Rounding out the cast will be Shippensburg resident Luke Reed as Scrooge’s nephew, Fred; Gettysburg’s J. Edward Riggs will once again portray Marley's Ghost, and Megan Lee Miller returns as The Spirit of Christmas Past. Chuck Lambert of York will reprise his role as The Spirit of Christmas Present with Chambersburg’s Bryton Zook portraying the Spirit of Christmas Future and Brittany Gross playing Mrs. Dilber. Taylor Whidden Knapp returns as Mrs. Cratchit with Ella Snyder playing her daughter Martha Cratchit. Anne Hunt returns as Fred’s wife, Joan Crooks as the Laundress, Johnna Leary as Belle, Ian Kress as Young Scrooge, and Lee Merriman as Charity Man #1. Also returning in various roles this year will be Erik Alexis, Diane Chamless, Gaven Dingle, Lynn Dowling, Daphne Ellis, Michael Krikorian, James L. O’Dell, Jr., Maxwell Owens and Seth Thompson.

Joining this year’s cast will be the quartet of Carolers played by Brad Barkdoll, Hanna Famulare, E. Katherine Hargrove and Cody Parson along with new cast members Claudia Doubell, Zasper Fisher, H. Bruce Funk, Madelyn Laird, Sarah Meyers, Allison Miller, Dawn Snider and Jayla Wheeler.

In addition to Joseph as producing artistic director, Chad-Alan Carr, executive artistic director of the Gettysburg Community Theatre, will serve as choreographer and associate producer. Bob Tolaro, will once again serve as production stage manager. Jim Fouchard, who designed the first production in 1987 at the Central Center in downtown Chambersburg, is the set designer for the current reincarnation as well. Jonathan Stiles, the Majestic Theater's technical director, is serving as lighting designer, Jacob Arbutus will provide sound design, and James Nadeau, Totem Pole’s associate producer, will be the costumer.

To purchase tickets call the Majestic Theater Box Office at 717-337-8200 or online at the Majestic Theater website www.gettysburgmajestic.org.