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Review: 'Center REP Captures the Holiday Spirit with its Wonderful Production of A Christmas Carol'

By Jan Miller

Posted:   December 16, 2016


There have been many stage adaptations of Charles Dickens’ fabled Christmas story, but I would rate Center REPertory Company’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” currently playing through Sunday, December 18 at the Lesher Center for the Arts (1601 Civic Drive) in downtown Walnut Creek, CA., as definitely one of best I have seen.

There are so many aspects of this show that make it a delight and deserve accolades, including the lighting (John Iarla), sound (Jeff Mockus), choreography (Jennifer Perry), scenic design (Kelly James Tighe), and costume design (Bethany Deal).

CenterREP’s version of “A Christmas Carol” is brimming with music and dance, love and laughter, spectacular special effects and even really scary ghosts, who, when introduced on stage, almost make audience members jump out of their seats!

Scott Denison directs a fine cast, headed by Michael Ray Wisely as Ebenezer Scrooge. Wisely’s reactions, especially when introduced to the various Ghosts, are priceless. Speaking of ghosts, the Ghosts of Christmas are wonderful – especially Kerri Shawn as the wise sage of Christmas Past and Jerry Lee as the lively and humorous Ghost of Christmas Present.

Ebenezer Scrooge begins the Christmas holiday with his usual miserly contempt, barking at his faithful clerk and her cheery nephew. But when the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come take him on an eye-opening journey revealing truths Old Scrooge is reluctant to face, he must open his heart to undo years of ill will before it’s too late.

The story is a classic and remains faithful to the Dickens book. There are numerous strengths of this production, from the opening set to the wonderful performances of the Cratchits (Michael Patrick Wiles and Ginny Wehrmeister), to the festive conclusion that leaves audiences in a most merry mood.