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.