Ghostly nostalgia pervades the 26th annual production of A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory, just as Charles Dickens seemed to have hoped when he wrote this story in 1843. By all accounts, SCR has no intention of laying it to rest for years to come—and why should they?
Jerry Patch's adaptation of A Christmas Carol takes the audience on a journey through Ebenezer Scrooge's past, present and probable future while introducing them to the colorful characters that come into contact with Scrooge and his tightfisted-turned-benevolent ways. SCR's original Scrooge, Hal Landon Jr., takes on the principal role for the 26th time with masterful confidence and depth under the fine-tuned direction of John-David Keller, who has been at the helm of the production since its beginning in 1980.
There are a total of 11 other veterans who have faithfully and artfully reprised their roles since they originated them and many other performers whose ongoing participation is nothing short of a Christmas miracle in such a transient industry. What is also notable is how the effective production design has endured with only small changes here and there. This year, longtime fans will notice a new set by Thomas Buderwitz (added to Cliff Faulkner's original design) and a fabulous, revamped costume for the Ghost of Christmas Present thanks to costume designer Dwight Richard Odle.
South Coast Repertory's stage adaptation of Dickens' novella is the theatrical centerpiece of Orange County's holiday season—its latest go-round is as fresh and quintessentially Christmas as a balsam fir.
A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-5555. Tues.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., noon & 4 p.m.; also Dec. 24, noon & 4 p.m. Through Dec. 24. $21-$49.