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'A Christmas Carol' Still Endures and Inspires

Erin P. Doherty
By Erin P. Doherty
Posted on Dec 07,2015
Filed Under Entertainment , Local Style,

Photo by Doug
Tristiana Hinton as Ghost of Christmas Past with Lawrence O. Grey Jr. as Ebenezer Scrooge.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Lawrence O. Grey, Jr. (Ebenezer Scrooge) brings complexity to his portrayal of the conflicted character. He successfully embodies Scrooge's overnight metamorphosis, going from a curmudgeonly and selfish miser to a cheerful philanthropist.

The actor was cheerful about the steamy working conditions one experiences while working under stage lights in costume. "It was supposed to be a cold, foggy London but it actually felt steamy! We were sweating profusely up there! Still, it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed every moment onstage."

This production featured another fresh take on the classic. Namely, a woman (Heather Norcross) was very well cast as the Ghost of Christmas Present.

Rachael Hubbard, who also directed "A Christmas Carol" last year, maintains the ageless themes of loss, renewal, and the need to be fully present as "fellow-passengers to the grave," as Scrooge's nephew Fred describes their existence.

Hubbard's dog, "Freedom," who provides pet therapy in hospitals in real life, was in the cast again, being held by children and petted afterwards by theatregoers. I inquired about the second dog I recalled meeting last year. "Our 12-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel stayed home this year," the director's husband said.

Scrooge's late "counting house partner," Marley, was wisely toned down from previous productions, which frightened younger audience members. This time, Marley (Daniel Calderon) appears to Scrooge in the door knocker on Christmas Eve, the anniversary of his death. The shock is fleeting, yet effective. Audience member audibly gasped but no one seemed traumatized.

Scrooge's nephew, Fred, connects the past, present, and future that the visiting ghosts show him by reminding his Uncle Scrooge of his late mother, Scrooge's sister, Fan (Celeste Gary). In childhood, Fan had convinced their cruel father to bringing Young Scrooge (Carson Carr) home from his dismal boarding school, where he had spent past lonely holidays. Charles Dicken's multi-dimensional character of Scrooge, in fact, reflects his conflicting feelings about his own father. The children onstage demonstrate not only joy, but also resilience, despite their hard life during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, when they were often overworked and impoverished. Tiny Tim (Nathaniel Burkhead) conveys touching sweetness and optimism in such difficult times with his sunny smile and sweet, clear voice.

In a nod to the diligent behind-the-scenes work that made this production a success, Grace Machanic did a creative job of choreographing the reels. Dancers remained agile despite limited space onstage. "I taught them [the dancers] slightly different reels last year. I used fewer dancers this year, simply because we had more furniture onstage and I didn't want them to trip or fall!"

Even if you have seen "A Christmas Carol" numerous times, don’t miss it. This classic show is playing through December 19 at the Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St. Tickets are available by calling 703-683-0496 or visiting the Web site at

Photo by Doug
Lawrence O. Grey Jr. as Ebenezer Scrooge with Daniel Calderon as Marley.
Photo by Doug
Heather Norcross as Ghost of Christmas Present with Lawrence O. Grey Jr. as Ebenezer Scrooge .
Photo by Doug
Left to right:Kacie Greenwood as Mrs. Cratchit, Eva Gary as Martha Cratchit, Avery Clifford Evans as Boy Cratchit, Katya Zaitsev as Girl Cratchit, Johnie Hays as Peter Cratchit, Lindsey Gattuso as Belinda Cratchit, Nathaniel Burkhead as Tiny Tim, and Matthew Fager as Bob Cratchit .
Photo by Doug
Lawrence O. Grey Jr. as Ebenezer Scrooge with Erik Rieloff as Ghost of Christmas Future.
Photo by Doug
Heather Norcross as Ghost of Christmas Present with Morgan Jay as Ignorance and Katya Zaitsev as Want
Photo by Doug
Lawrence O. Grey Jr. as Ebenezer Scrooge with Nathaniel Burkhead as Tiny Tim .
Photo by Doug
The entire cast.

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