OAKHURST – Seats have been filled and some shows have been sold out at Sierra Pines Church for our local production of the Charles Dickens 1843 classic, now re-envisioned as A Christmas Carol — A New Musical, and just a couple of shows remain. With book and lyrics by Keith Ferguson and Music by Bruce Greer, the same duo who wrote last year’s It’s A Wonderful Life, the play is directed by Heather Sconce.
It’s said that Ferguson and Greer have created a musical adaptation that is “faithful to Dickens’ plot and prose, while highlighting both the spiritual and social themes woven throughout this Christmas classic,” according to promos. Traditional musical theater style is integrated with familiar carols and songs of Christmas in the well-known tale featuring Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and the rest, as Scrooge comes “face to face with destiny, darkness and second chances.”
The musical opened last weekend and runs again Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11 and 12, at 7 p.m. The Sunday matinee on Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. is sold out.
Director Heather Sconce says she’s thrilled to be sharing the show with the community, and touts the cast as a big reason why.
“Our lead, Brandon Mallard of Visalia, is an incredible character actor with a varied background in all different styles,” says Sconce. “You will be blown away by his portrayal of Scrooge. With a cast of over 50, a two story set and music and story that will leave you feeling hope-filled and joyful for this Christmas season, we hope you will join us in seeing this show.”
Brandon Mallard, 34, says he’s been a natural for the business ever since he was a kid.
“Even if I didn’t have a stage I would find ways to impersonate my favorite cartoon characters, movies, or tv shows to the amusement of my friends and family,” Mallard points out, yet he didn’t take the stage super-seriously until high school. “My adolescence had some pretty awkward social development, so much of my time was spent trying to find my niche, or just keep to myself.”
Some of Mallard’s favorite times, he recalls, were during drama productions, where positive feedback from peers and teachers, especially when it came to physical comedy, encouraged him to continue the craft.
“As I’ve grown up and gone into other avenues, I have always been able to find my way back into some project or program that allows me to stretch my acting muscles again,” says the experienced thespian of stage, screen and web. “As of late, most of my opportunity comes from being able to perform as superheroes and pirates for families and children, in my own side business, Party Hero.”
Mallard explains that the best part of playing Scrooge is, it’s the first heavyweight lead role he’s acted, and the timing is definitely right.
“I love Christmas, so what a way to nab such a role! Scrooge is the perfect part to stretch my skills because I have to impersonate a character far different from myself, be funny, be dramatic, sing, connect with the audience, convey some profound messages, and do it all while staying on stage virtually the whole time. I’m truly humbled that Heather and the rest of the deciding crew saw the potential in me.”
It’s hard to top this production, Mallard says.
“The message of ultimate sacrifice that serves at a time of ultimate joy, fully realized in an individual who goes from being hateful to joyful, is one of the greatest modern stories to be told. The fact that I have the privilege of doing this production with truly awesome people who are as talented and fun as they are genuine and gracious, to me, is also one the greatest highlights in recent years. It’s been one of those experiences that just makes you step back when you’re observing the scene, and saying, ‘Oh my goodness! Lord, what could possibly be next?'”
As Dickens wrote, “God bless us, everyone.”
Buy tickets to Christmas Carol here.