Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Scrooge Hits the Palace Stage Again

It’s a Lockport tradition that has been thirteen years in the making. And if you missed “Scrooge” this past weekend, you have no one but yourself to blame. You’ve had ample opportunity. If you haven’t seen the show for a few years, then this year, you missed something just a little bit different from the previous shows.

“Scrooge” has been a holiday tradition on stage at the Historic Palace Theater in Lockport for nearly a decade and a half. I’ve seen it the last four years. In fact, for the last couple of years, including this year’s performance, at least one of the Bacon Bits has appeared in it. This year, three of them graced the stage.

“Scrooge” is a light-hearted adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol written by Corning, NY, native David Smith. Under direction of Palace Executive Director, Christopher Parada; choreographer, Emily Prucha; vocal director, Lindsay Andrews; music director, Jeanette Sheliga; and stage manager, Jon May, a large cast was pulled together in a few short weeks to deliver a rousing musical.

A major casting change took place this year as Jay Zimmerman took over the leading role of Scrooge. It was a late in the game that Jay took over the role, but he was able to fill it with his typical professionalism. Jay gave the whole show just a little different feel. His mannerisms were different that the previous actor’s. His facial expressions during the various scenes were the highlights of the show. While I enjoyed Jay’s Fezziwig, I really liked his take on Scrooge. His singing was in perfect form, as always.

Jack Landrigan and Kathleen Dewey, playing the parts of Mr. and Mrs. Cratchett, joined Zimmerman as actors who have been on stage for all thirteen performances of Scrooge. They were joined by newcomer Nicholas Kleinhans as their son, Tiny Tim, and Sadie Igoe as their daughter. Kleinhans brings another voice to the Palace stage, growing the already impressive troupe ready to take on any role offered them.

Brian Dick stepped in to take on the role of Fezziwig after Zimmerman got the nod for Scrooge. Brian had what could easily be considered the best pants in the entire show. It sure looked like he was having a lot of fun during one of the funniest scenes in the show. The Fezziwig role was in addition to Brian’s normal role of the Ghost of Christmas Future. Maybe it was just the camera angles, but it seemed like Brian grew a foot or more between scenes.

Angela Szafran was full of bling as she tackled the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past. Bedazzled in silver sequins and a white and black dress, Szafran led Scrooge on a trip down memory lane for those happy times in Scrooge’s life. I love her singing voice. She did not disappoint with her performance.

courtesy Lockport Palace Theater
Sure, there were a few hiccups in the show this year, but this is completely attributable to last minute changes in the cast. Considering the time table in which Jay Zimmerman and Brian Dick had to adjust to their new roles, as well as the rest of the cast adjusting to them, the whole show was remarkably well done.

The finale always stirs emotions in me as the entire cast sings “God Bless Us Everyone.” There’s just something about the power of all those people singing in unison at the conclusion of a fantastic show that invades the soul and makes one rise to their feet in ovation. That number is easily my favorite part of the show.

Craig Bacon loves going to the Palace for musicals. He will be going to every show that he is able to. He also thinks the people in the pit would like more fog. Definitely more fog.