This year’s production of ‘Scrooge The Musical’ at Centralia’s Evergreen Playhouse — which runs from Nov. 29 through Dec. 15 — will highlight the precious nature of time as its central theme, as the show’s protagonist finds himself in a race against life’s ticking clock to realize the error in his ways and embrace the Christmas season.
Audiences will be constantly reminded of the performance’s primary message by a large rotating clock featured prominently on stage, which serves as one of several “time” props, according to the musical’s first-time director, Danielle Rivers, who is currently leading ongoing rehearsals.
“I think it’s a story of redemption,” observed Rivers during Monday’s recital that saw many of the show’s 16 actors polish up their lines and practice their dance scenes. “I think to see that there is still hope for somebody late in life … To see change from him being a very bitter man (to) enjoying life again; that gives most of us who like the story hope that it’s not too late and that anybody can change — even the grouchiest guy out there.”
The Ebenezer Scrooge character, she added, is a reminder that everyone has “potential” within them to be better people and that friends and family shouldn’t “give up” on them.
As for what spectators can expect during the holiday extravaganza, Rivers said the 2-hour, 45-minute showcase — sponsored by Tiki Tap House and McMenamins Olympic Club — will include plenty of music and dancing, along with a 15-minute intermission and an assortment of food and snacks for the entire family.
Rivers also noted the diversity of her cast, which runs the gamut from children as young as 7 to adults well into their 70s. Although each of them possesses varying levels of acting experience, she said, all of them are advised to simply have as much fun as possible.
The former Centralia College theater major and occasional actor often urges performers to “just relax and have a good time.” She continued: “Leave the drama on the stage. We’re not here to get paid. This isn’t a job; it’s a hobby.”
At 72 years old, J.C. Hewett is among the more seasoned thespians of Rivers’ ensemble. He shared his thoughts on the many challenges of performing live, including stage fright.
“I think it’s just getting out there and finding out if you have the talent for it. It kind of rounds your life a bit. It gives you something to do besides sports and school,” said Hewett, a retired educator.
Joining him backstage was 14-year-old Nathan Crummett, who despite his age, has been acting for six years.
Crummett, much like most of the other on-stage performers, will be playing multiple roles in this year’s production, as he’ll split his time portraying young Scrooge’s apprentice, Dick Wilkins, along with contributing in the roles of the butcher and a partygoer.
One of the lessons he’s learned over the years is checking his ego at the door and “listening to what the directors say without taking it personally. It’ll help you a long way.”
Admission is $15 for adults and $12 for children, students and seniors. Rivers also mentioned one “pay-what-you-can” performance on Dec. 5.
Rivers promises that her production will be sure to “whisk people away to 1843 England,” as the age-old story, she added, will be sure to have them fully engaged from start to finish. “They’ll be toe-tapping, they’ll be humming along to a song called, ‘I Hate People.’ There’s a lot of people who can identify with the song, even those who may not be fans of musicals. It’s got something for everyone to really enjoy.”
For more information on show dates and times, visit www.evergreenplayhouse.com or call 360-736-8628.