Scrooge in Song

Did anyone out there dare say they’re not yet ready for the Holiday Season? Phooey, humbug…and hie yourselves to some nunneries or locally-based Buddhist temples. The season is here!

At least in terms of ticket sales for the first and most high-spirited of annual performances of that great Dickens’ classic, the Woodstock Playhouse’s now-annual presentation (November 24-Dece,ber 2) of the “A Christmas Carol: The Musical,” from Alan Menken of Disney soundtrack fame.

Put together with the usual professionalism of the New York Conservatory of the Arts folks who bring us all their new Playhouse summer stock productions of classic musicals each summer, and a grand UPAC performances from their theater school each spring, this outing is miles away from the gentility of the Saugerties Ballet troupe’s annual extravaganza at UPAC…but loads of fun for old and young alike.

Randy Conti has directed and choreographed this new production of the classic that ran repeatedly at Madison Square Garden’s theater from 1994 to 2004, before ending up a Hallmark special starring Kelsey Grammar. NYCA’s Douglas Farrell not only serves as vocal director, but plays a great (and quite mean-spirited) Ebeneezer Scrooge as well.

Over the years, it’s a role that has been sung and danced by Tony Randall, Frank Langella, Tim Curry, F. Murray Abraham and Roger Daltrey…showing some real legs, in the long run. But it allows Farrell a chance each year to let his own chops show.

A Christmas Carol, The Musical, by Alan Menken (with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens) runs from November 24 through December 2, with a lobby Winter Wonderland display, complimentary refreshments, and photo opportunities with the musical’s character (as well as Santa) after each show. Performances are on Saturday, November 24 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, November 25 at 2 p.m., Friday, November 30 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, December 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $28, $32 and $36. The Woodstock Playhouse is at 103 Mill Hill Road, Woodstock. For tickets or more information, call 679-6900, or see www.woodstockplayhouse.org.

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