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Totem Pole Playhouse’s A Christmas Carol

(12/10) Totem Pole Playhouse, in association with Gettysburg Community Theatre, will once again bring its original adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ holiday classic A Christmas Carol to the stage of Gettysburg College’s Majestic Theater this December 8-17. This year’s production boasts an even larger cast of over 60 professional union, non-union, and local community actors, making it by far the largest production in Central Pennsylvania.

A Christmas Carol is an original adaptation by Totem Pole Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Rowan Joseph, who directs the show. Much of the text and dialogue is preserved verbatim from the original novel by Charles Dickens, restoring many of the Christian references left out of other versions. "One of the aspects that sets this production apart from others is that we’ve added back into the text of the play Dickens’ original focus on the birth of the baby Jesus and Christian charity as the dominate theme of Scrooge’s redemptive journey.

Most other modern adaptations tend to secularize these passages from the story, placing it in the same category as stories of Rudolph or Frosty," Joseph said, "but that’s not where it belongs. To quote Stephen Skelton, author of the book, A Christmas Carol: Special Church Edition, ‘In the first place, with Charles Dickens, you’re dealing with a self-proclaimed Christian author. And in the second place, he has infused his story with Christian meaning. After all, Dickens is the writer who said, ‘I have always striven in my writings to express the veneration for the life and lessons of our Savior.’"

Joseph’s production has also grown extensively from the revival of the Carl Schurr and Wil Love version he originally staged at the Capitol Theatre in Chambersburg four years ago. The cast has almost doubled in size since then to over 60 actors. While the centerpiece of the set remains Scrooge’s large two-story revolving Victorian house and accounting office, two additional one-story revolving structures have been added with two more two-story set pieces planned for 2018.

Many new special effects have been added to the production including the addition last year of 3D hologram skeletons rising out of the stage floor of the Majestic Theater along with Scrooge’s tombstone. An equally terrifying childhood memory for many grown-ups in the area, the loud flash, bang, BOOM at the disappearance of the ghost of Jacob Marley, remains frightening and delightful to new audiences today. Totem Pole General Manager Sue McMurtray, remarked, "The production has evolved so much since we brought it back four years ago that anyone who hasn’t seen it since is in for a real shock. As one of the local papers said, it’s a production fit for Broadway."

Once again this year the show will be a family affair with siblings, parents and children joining each other on stage. Shippensburg University professor and Greencastle resident, Paris Peet, who has been starring as Ebenezer Scrooge since 2014, will be joined on stage this year by his son, Owen Peet, as Young Dick Wilkins. Emily Windover of Orrtanna, returns as Mrs. Fezziwig, to be joined on stage by daughters Ruby and Mia as Fezziwig Dancers while daughter Phoebe will portray Scrooge’s sister Fan. Brothers and sisters: Thomas and Claire Hydock of Fairfield will appear as Belle’s son and daughter; Gettysburg’s Justin and Hope Beach will play the Fiddler and a Fezziwig Dancer; Sisters Liliana and Kalia Hoedemaker and Stella and Mina Gladson of Gettysburg will appear together as dancers in the Fezziwig party scene. And New Oxford’s Mark Kleinman will return as the Lamplighter with his son, Jacob, taking over the pivotal role of Tiny Tim in the new production.

Totem Pole Playhouse's Producing Artistic Director, Rowan Joseph, will direct the production and Chad-Alan Carr, Executive Artistic Director of the Gettysburg Community Theatre, will serve as choreographer and associate producer. Equity Stage Manager, Bob Tolaro, will serve as production stage manager for the show. Jim Fouchard, who designed the first production in 1987 at the Central Center in downtown Chambersburg, is the set designer for the current reincarnation as well.

The Majestic Theater's Technical Director, Jonathan Stiles, is serving as lighting designer for the show.

This year’s public performances are scheduled for December 8 and 15 at 8 pm, December 9, 10, 16 and 17 at a new family-friendly time of 6:00 pm, with matinees December 9, 10, 13, 14, 16, and 17 at 2:00 pm. Ticket prices range from $32 to $38 for adults, and $20 for students (age 18 or younger).

To purchase tickets call the Majestic Theater Box Office at 717-337-8200 or visit

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