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‘Eb Scrooge’ opens this week

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Play a local twist on ‘A Christmas Carol’

By Emily Pollok

Charles Dickens’ well-known tale, “A Christmas Carol,” is often told throughout the holiday season, but this year, Lancaster County’s Community Playhouse is putting a spin on the timeless classic.
“Eb Scrooge: A Southern Fried Carol” by playwright Ian Mairs, is transported from Victorian London to Lancaster for this unique retelling of the traditional story.
“It’ll bring it closer to home,” said director Joe Timmons. “Everyone knows the story of ‘A Christmas Carol.’ This is just a different telling.”
The production is set in a fictional park in Lancaster, where the story of the crotchety Eb Scrooge is told, referencing some familiar local landmarks.
The cast has been rehearsing since mid-September for the performances, set for Nov. 29-Dec. 2.
“They have been great,” Timmons said. “They have put a lot of work into it.”
Chris Smith has the title role of Eb Scrooge, a part he has played twice before with the playhouse.
“The Dickens story is magical about how, obviously, the miserly old guy can change his ways, and this is a fun retelling,” he said.
Smith, a big fan of the festive season, says he is very different from the “bah-humbug” character he portrays. However, once his costume is on and the lights are up, he finds it easy to get into character.
This modern take on the famous story is also unique in its pantomime-like structure.
“A couple of things occur in this show that don’t normally occur – I get to break what’s called the fourth wall. I get to speak to the audience,” Smith explained. “That’s unusual. And that’s something the playwright did that’s very fun for this show.”
The cast of the show is also made up of a number of young actors. Madeleine Essex, 15, plays the role of April, one of Scrooge’s relatives.
Madeleine has previously starred in the playhouse’s Christmas shows, but this is her first adult role.
“It’s not the actual role itself that I’m enjoying, it’s the community around it and interacting with everyone else that is just so enjoyable,” she said.
The playhouse’s production promises to bring a new twist to Dickens’ tale that will entertain the county’s residents in the run-up to Christmas.
Timmons said the audience can look forward to some family-friendly humor and a lot of sweet tea.
Performances of “Eb Scrooge: A Southern Fried Carol” are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29-Dec. 1 and 3 p.m. Dec. 2 at Barr Street Auditorium, 610 E. Meeting St., Lancaster. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and $5 for children ages 5 and under. Tickets are available by calling (803) 285-7451 or at the door. For details, visit www.lancasterplayhouse.com or www.facebook.com/theatreatCPLC.

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‘Eb Scrooge: A Southern Fried Carol’ cast list
◆ Bertha: Joyce Mahaffey, Lancaster
◆ Ensemble Boy: Eli Watts, Buford
◆ Eb Scrooge: Chris Smith, Lancaster
◆ Victorian Woman: Lisa Essex, Van Wyck
◆ Victorian Woman: Katherine Foo, Lancaster
◆ Ensemble Woman: Rebecca Dixson, Buford
◆ Ensemble Woman: Jessica Long, Lancaster
◆ Ensemble Girl: Addisyn Mosier, Lancaster
◆ Fred: Isaac McDaniel, Kershaw
◆ Bob Cratchit: Donnie Sims, Lancaster
◆ Charity Girl: Isabella Hoyle, Lancaster
◆ Charity Girl: Valerie Sims, Lancaster
◆ Pizza Chick: Catie Rowell, Buford
◆ JJ Marley: Donnie Sims, Lancaster
◆ Eula Mae: Nancy Bradshaw, Lancaster
◆ Miss Dudenschlimmer: Katherine Foo, Lancaster
◆ Young Boy Eb: Will Stokes, Lancaster
◆ Fran: Valerie Sims, Lancaster
◆ Mr. Fezzi: Isaac McDaniel, Kershaw
◆ Mrs. Fezzi: Lisa Essex, Van Wyck
◆ Young Man Eb: Max Mercier, Lancaster
◆ Dickie: Boston McLean, Lancaster
◆ Belle: Roberta Phillips, Lancaster
◆ Surfer Ted: Rylee Jenkins, Buford
◆ April: Madeleine Essex, Van Wyck
◆ Mrs. Cratchit: Katherine Foo, Lancaster
◆ Martha Cratchit: Roberta Phillips, Lancaster
◆ Kyle Cratchit: Will Stokes, Lancaster
◆ Shannon Cratchit: Lily Lindsley, Lancaster
◆ Becky Cratchit: Caroline Collins, Lancaster
◆ Tiny Tim Cratchit: Colin McMahon
◆ Haggard Girl: Isabella Hoyle, Lancaster
◆ Haggard Girl: Macey Mercier, Lancaster
◆ Ghost of Christmas Future: Lisa Essex, Van Wyck

Follow Emily Pollok on Twitter @PollokEmily or contact her at (803) 283-1155.