Heartwarming performance of ‘A Christmas Carol’ makes two-show stop at Vilar Center | VailDaily.com

Heartwarming performance of ‘A Christmas Carol’ makes two-show stop at Vilar Center

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com
Scott Severance is artistic director and the actor behind Ebenezer Scrooge's character in "A Christmas Carol," which comes to the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Dec. 22 and 23.
Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

What: Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek.

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22, and Wednesday, Dec. 23.

Cost: $35 for children and $65 for adults.

More information: Tickets are on sale now at the VPAC Box Office, by calling 970-845-8497 or at www.vilarpac.org.

Few scenes say “Christmas spirit” more strongly than the once-curmudgeonly Mr. Scrooge skipping through town, raining blessings on everyone he meets, and wishing “a merry Christmas!” to his shocked nephew and poor clerk.

This holiday season, Beaver Creek audiences will have the opportunity to witness Scrooge’s transformation at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in two performances of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The show will be performed by the North County Center for the Arts from Lincoln, New Hampshire, as the last stop in its 16-venue tour of the country.

“The production is such a staple of the holiday season. We know people are going to come out for it. It can’t be beat,” said Kim Hannold, manager of artist and community relations at the Vilar Center.

The production of “A Christmas Carol” has all the trappings of what makes the story a holiday tradition — the story of a Christmas miracle, classic mid-19th century costumes and favorite Christmas songs scattered throughout.

More than 16,000 people will see the show across the country this year, and actor and artistic director Scott Severance said audiences can expect a poignant show with exciting cinematic touches.

“This is more emotional than other (productions) you might see. We try to present the story of Ebenezer Scrooge as a heartbroken, sad, lonely man,” said Severance, who created the adaptation of the story and plays Scrooge. “Last year, we had some people who thanked us for the spirituality of it. I had never thought of it that way, but it is. It’s honest. We’re heavy on the humor, and there are also some truly scary parts. It’s reasonably spectacular for a small production.”

Caroling across the country

The North County Center for the Arts group took their show on the road last season and are back for their second. Altogether this season, they’ll have performed 24 shows and hauled a 21-person crew and set across 9,500 miles by the time the tour is over on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

The group has been providing award-winning theater in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire for nearly 30 years.

“We’re from a rural ski area, and it’s hard to get people to come to us in the winter,” Severance said. “So we decided that we’d take the show to people instead.”

The two-hour show is family friendly and will illicit both gasps and giggles from the audience. Even though it’s a two-hour show, Severance said that even the children in the crowd tend to follow the story right up to the end, where Scrooge experiences his transformation.

Playing Ebenezer Scrooge is both dynamic and incredibly taxing, Severance said.

“The hardest scene in the show is the redemption at the end where he wakes up on the floor of his bed chamber and realizes it was either a dream or it really happened, but that he is alive,” he said. “You just spent the whole production being grouchy and sad, and at the end you have to be happy and kicking your heels and spending even more energy than you have the entire show at the last 10 minutes. However, that’s when I have the most fun — when I’m singing and laughing and making funny noises. I’m also most proud of it when I get to it and get through it. It’s a wearying experience.”

Scouts in the house

The Wednesday show will have some special guests, a local Girl Scout troop. Troop 50852 consists of 8- and 9-year-olds from Eagle and Gypsum, who are attending the performance as one of their special activities.

In addition to seeing “A Christmas Carol,” the girls will also get a special tour of the Vilar Center, meet the actors and learn a bit about the theater business. Violet Towers, the actress who plays Tiny Tim, happens to be a 9-year-old girl and will help show the Girl Scouts around before the show.

“This is a great opportunity because they can experience the arts and cultural events right here in our community,” said troop leader Danise Cardona. “Also, ‘A Christmas Carol’ is such a classic story with a great message — that we need to care about our world and other people in it. A lot of the girls are bringing their families, so it will be a shared experience.”

Severance added that sharing that message, especially with the younger members of the audience, is a big bonus for the actors.

“It’s a show ultimately about giving, and that’s one of the attractions of doing it. We’re giving people a show about a Christmas miracle and giving them a piece of our hearts during the holidays,” he said.

Assistant Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and at mwong@vaildaily.com. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.