Vocalists Levi Hopkins and Julia Hochner perform a duet outside the Caine Lyric Theatre in downtown Logan prior to the debut of the Lyric Reportory Company’s production of ‘A Christmas Carol.’
LOGAN – The Lyric Repertory Company’s ongoing production of A Christmas Carol isn’t just a play, it’s a holiday event.
The local theater troupe’s first-ever Christmas show is a revival of a brilliant local stage adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classic novella from the 1840s.
It also includes an amusing exploration of bizarre Christmas traditions and fables from around the world and a cavalcade of beautifully performed Christmas carols and hymns.
Taken all together, it’s a completely charming evening that leaves its audience with a warm holiday glow.
The cast of this version of A Christmas Carol is led by Joseph Tisa and Leslie Brott, both of whom are professional members of the Actors’ Equity Association.
As Scrooge, Tisa wisely avoids letting his character become a one-note grouch. Tisa’s portrayal of the misanthrope is multifaceted, with occasional sympathetic moments shining through his bluster.
Ms. Brott appears as a maid and narrator in A Christmas Carol. She not only keeps the fable’s plot moving along at a brisk past, but also provides much-needed comedy relief.
The addition of Ms. Brott’s character is one of several welcome changes to A Christmas Carol introduced by the late Utah State University Sid Perkes when he penned an adaptation of the familiar holiday story 30 years ago.
Perkes was a Cache Valley native who developed a professional reputation as a theater educator, set designer and costume designer at universities in the Midwest while still in his 20’s. After returning to Utah in 1967, he became a partner with the legendary Vosco Call in establishing the modern theatre arts program at USU and founding the Lyric Repertory. Company.
When Perkes was dissatisfied with available scripts for stage adaptations of “A Christmas Carol,” he created his own.
But director Richie Call and set designer Dennis Hassan have both put their own indelible stamps on this production of Perkes’ adaptation.
To accommodate the “intimate” dimensions of the Caine Lyric Theatre in downtown Logan, Richie Call skillfully trimmed the cast of A Christmas Carol by double- and triple-casting his talented performers.
For his part, Hassan designed a brilliantly versatile stage setting that cleverly rotates to create multiple locations on the Lyric Theatre’s postage-stamp size stage.
(Spoiler Alert) Hassan also remembered that A Christmas Carol is a ghost story and designed eerie, over-the-top puppets to portray the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Hassan’s ghostly creations are literally larger than life.
With the assistance of costume designer Nancy Hills, Daniel Webb also made a disturbing appearance as the ghost of tightwad Jacob Marley.
As carolers, Julia Hochner, Meg Roberts, Carrie Jackson, Timo Rasmussen, Levi Hopkins and Micah Coombs added a festive tone to A Christmas Carol with their vocals both before and during the performance.
Also adding memorably to the production as members of a youthful ensemble were Luke Coppin, Cami Halling, Grace Call, Soren Pedersen, Ollie Chieppa, Josie Call, Allie Halling, Tucker Eschmeyer and Jack Roberts.
Additional evening performances of A Christmas Carol are slated for Dec. 10 through 18 at the Caine Lyric Theatre on Center Street in downtown Logan. Matinee performances are scheduled for Dec. 11 and 18.