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Gather 'Round the Theater for 'A Christmas Carol'

The Chatham Community Players' put on their biennial production of the musical based on Charles Dickens' holiday story.

The Chatham Community Players bring some of Charles Dickens' most beloved characters to life in their biennial production of "A Christmas Carol" beginning Friday.

The musical by Philip Wm. McKinley and Suzanne Buhrer features the author, Dickens himself, as the narrator and a character in the play who guides the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge through a journey of discovery and wonder in Christmases past, present and future.

Chris Furlong, the executive producer for the Chatham Community Players, said the story has become a traditional holiday activity within northern New Jersey.

"While the script remains true to the original story, the playwright also pulled from letters that Dickens wrote to family and friends," Furlong wrote in a press statement to Chatham Patch.

The play has been staged at the Chatham Playhouse every other year between 1988 and 1995, and every other year since. Furlong said over 30,000 people have come to see the show at the Chatham Playhouse since 1988.

Chris Curcio, of Westfield, is the musical director and Megan Ferentinos of Cranford is the choreographer. Jeffrey Fiorello, of Montclair, directs the 2012 production.

When Fiorello was growing up, his father would read the novel to him and his brothers.

"I guess in his own way he was trying to do what the character of Dickens in McKinley’s version of 'Carol' is doing—that is, to educate us about the true meaning of Christmas and the care and concern for our fellow man,” Fiorello said.

The cast includes:

  • Gordon Wiener, of Bridgewater, as Charles Dickens
  • Alan Semok, of Somerset, as Ebenezer Scrooge
  • Lucas Schultz, of Warren, as Tiny Tim
  • Gus Ibranyi, of Bloomfield, as Bob Crachit
  • Annie Reynolds, of Bloomfield, as Fan
  • Jennifer Bogush, of Westfield, as Mrs. Cratchit
  • Paul Salvatoriello, of Jersey City, as the Ghost of Christmas Present and Undertaker
  • Paul Aiello, of Jersey City, as Marley, Mr Fezziwig and Pawnbroker
  • Jaron Cole, of Madison, as Young Scrooge
  • Pat Wry, of Bernardsville, as Charwoman
  • Katie Shults, of Glen Ridge, as Ghost of Christmas Past and Martha Cratchit
  • Brent Hartwell, of Glen Ridge, as Peter
  • Samy Cordero, of Glen Ridge, as Belinda
  • Gira Derise, of Morris Plains, as Belle and Emily
  • Patrick Weaver, of Linden, as Gentleman 1, Nutley and Dick Wilkins
  • Shannon Ludlum, of Basking Ridge, as Mrs. Fezziwig and Laundress
  • Chip Prestera, of Stirling, as Fred
  • Tessa Ferentinos, of Cranford, as Harriet
  • Kristin Bennett, of Montville, as Scrooge's Niece
  • James Ciccarelle, of Summit, as Ignorance and Baby Scrooge
  • Mia Ciccarelle, of Summit, as Child Fezziwig
  • Eila Francis of Springfield as Want
  • Ava Ferentinos, of Cranford, as Child Fezziwig
  • Jeffrey Gallup, of Montville, as Boy in the Street
  • Jason Jackson, of South Plainfield, as Young Ebenezer and Ghost of Christmas Future
  • Jackie Jacobi, of Edison, as Beatrice

Performance dates are 8 p.m. Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22; and 3 p.m. Dec. 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23. Tickets are $25 for adults and $23 for youths and seniors.

Tickets can be purchased online up to three hours in advance of showtimes or by telephone at 973-635-7363. All performances are at the Chatham Playhouse.

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