What the Dickens?!

By Philip Pearce

THANKSGIVING’S passed and ‘tis the season to be watching various and sundry adaptations of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Christian Youth Theater of Santa Cruz got off to an early start in mid-November with a commendable production of A Christmas Carol, The Musical. Undaunted by the Louden Nelson’s loudly creaking auditorium seats and arctic air conditioning, more than 50 actors, aged 8 to 18, danced, sang and acted with the vigor, precision and commitment of seasoned troupers, led by an impressively convincing 17-year-old Scrooge (Jason Erwin).

My godson Augie Jonker, who was the young Ebenezer in the CYT show, graduates to the lead role of the grown-up Scrooge in a non-musical version coming up at Twin Lakes School, next door to Cabrillo’s Crocker Theater, the weekend of December 14-17. Augie tells me this is going to be a ground-breaking “black box, minimalist” take on the Dickens classic. This I’ve got to see.

Bay Area Equity actor Jeff Garrett will perform his one-man Scrooge: The Haunting of Ebenezer, December 8-17 at the Colligan Theater, Santa Cruz. Jewel Theatre Company promises an opportunity to “[g]]ory in Dickens’ language, and delight in Garrett’s audacious skill as a performer” of all the major roles in the familiar Yuletide tale. But be warned: this show, unlike others in Jewel’s regular season, starts not at 8 but at 7:30 p.m.

Just when you were wondering what about Monterey?, the wonderful Howard Burnham emails: “I shall offer my ‘signature’ Charles Dickens performing his ‘A Christmas Carol’ at The Little House in Jewel Park, PG, on Thursday, December 21 at 5:30.”

Happy Scrooge-ing.

Weekly Magazine

T Beal


JOY! A HOLIDAY SHOW  Tandy Beal & Company strike again with a holiday spectacular in Santa Cruz, then extend the run to San Jose. THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS SHOW (abridged) opens at Mountain Community Theater, directed by Kathie Kratochvil, in Ben Lomond.







PACREP launches a new series of CABARET SUNDAYS at the Indoor Forest Theater in Carmel, hosted by well-known chanteuse Barbara Brussell who will be joined by a troupe of stage veterans and music director George Peterson. LOUIS LEBHERZ, retired opera basso, hosts a short recital of opera scenes for soprano and tenor on Sunday at Community Church in Carmel. For links to other live performance events, click our CALENDAR


WITH “THE NUT.” Unquenchable choreographer/dancer who made a defunct railroad station in the Santa Cruz Mountains into her home, Tandy Beal has been turning heads, and scratching them, for more than “40-odd years.” Like anyone else, she loves The Nutcracker ballet, but insists on having her way with it. Joy! A HolidaTandy's housey Show is only the latest reincarnation of her iconoclastic ‘respect’ for tradition. What does she want with this new version? “To uplift our hearts, with moments of laughter, and, especially in these times, to make things possible again.” Since last year’s Nutz RE-Mixed!, Beal has winnowed down the Nutcracker bits to only three. The show features two “physical comics” from the legendary Cirque du Soleil, now with solo careers, as well as her favorite vocal group, SoVoSó. Calling it “multi-national,” Beal cites “two dancers from Cuba, contortionists from Mongolia and a foot juggler from Ethiopia.” With a cast of 30, with music, dance, circus and unique design and costumes, Beal says you can expect “bites of beauty.”


LEONARD BERNSTEIN’S Thanksgiving greeting, from his Divertimento.








THE MORAL DILEMMA of our time, and other times. (The Monterey Bay performing arts community has endured its own cases of sexual harassment.) Russell Smith argues the question for The Globe and Mail; not for the faint of heart. Click HERE


IF YOU HEARD IT IN THE ORIGINAL at the Santa Cruz Symphony last weekend, see if the second and fourth movements, played by the Borromeo Quartet from a recently found 1816 arrangement, works for you. 








GrofeVERSATILE AMERICAN COMPOSER wrote his best-known works for Paul Whiteman, a famous bandleader from the 1920s and ‘30s who premiered George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Grofé orchestrated the Gershwin, as well as Second Rhapsody, on this CD its premiere recording with Lincoln Mayorga at the piano. Even more startling is Grofé’s own Grand Canyon Suite in the original Whiteman orchestral version—before the more famous large-orchestra version—in its first complete recording. The disc also contains the first recording of Grofé’s Gallodoro’s Serenade, featuring Whiteman’s longtime saxophonist Al Gallodoro, recorded in 2004.


SOME WILL BE SURPRISED to discover a direct line between these two Viennese master composers, but shouldn’t be. Here, from 1934, Schoenberg conducts the second movement from Mahler’s Second Symphony, in echt-Viennese, totally Mahlerian style. 








MONTEREY SYMPHONY & SANTA CRUZ SYMPHONY, with Beethoven symphonies by each. Click HERE  

MAMMA MIA! at PacRep in Carmel. Click HERE


HIDDEN VALLEY STRING ORCHESTRA to play Debussy, Schoenberg, Ponce. I CANTORI DI CARMEL introduces its new Conductor Tom Lehmkuhl. SMUIN’S ‘THE CHRISTMAS BALLET’ comes to Carmel.

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor