You might think that playing the same part in the same stage production for over 30 years would result in a somewhat stale or tired performance, but none of that was on show Saturday night when Scott Moore, again, reprised his role as the title character in the musical Scrooge. He first performed the character at the Longmont Dickens Opera House in 1987, and for many years the production has been a Christmas staple at the Jester’s Theatre on Longmont’s Main Street.
It is not just the outstanding performance by Moore that makes this a memorable Christmas treat for young and old, but also the fine supporting cast, including the number of exuberant young performers. This time poor Bob Crachitt was played by Jeff Zumfelde, and he brought just the right balance between a downtrodden, underpaid clerk toiling in Scrooge’s office and the joyful father reveling in the love and comfort of his family. He even manages to persuade the other Crachitts to raise a celebratory glass to old Mr. Scrooge.
Stefan Cllifford played Scrooge’s persistent nephew with brio, and we lauded his appreciation of family ties, however tenuous, with his annual Christmas dinner invitation to Scrooge being rejected once again with the usual “Bah Humbug” attitude. And of course Alexander Vargas as Tiny Tim brought a tear to the eye with his “God bless us, everyone” refrain – it may be viewed as a little corny in these overly commercial times, but having a young voice sing and speak with such feeling can only remind us of the true spirit of the season.
Scrooge’s initial rousing anthem of “I Hate People” soon fades as he is visited by the three ghosts in the early hours of Christmas morning. The first is his deceased counting-house partner Jacob Marley, weighed down by the chains he has forged throughout his miserable years on earth. Marley reminds Scrooge how he lost the love of his young life, Isabel, because of his increasing passion for money. Next, the jovial Danny Bohnen as the ghost of Christmas Present starts to convert Scrooge with many literal cups of the Milk of Human Kindness and the memorable song “I Like Life”. Finally, Scrooge is cowed by the spectral Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come who shows the townspeople singing the joyful refrain of “Thank You Very Much”. No, Ebenezer, they are thanking you for your death, not your life. And of course he sees the Crachitt family mourning the demise of Tiny Tim. Scrooge’s conversion is complete.
When Scrooge hands the big turkey to the Crachitt family and buys out the toy store on Christmas morning, Moore makes this transformation utterly believable. He has skillfully shown us the good, the bad and the ugly sides of Ebenezer Scrooge, and we know that the future man will take to heart the counsel of his old mentor, Mr. Fezziwig, that “mankind should be our business”. Scrooge is a great start to the Longmont Christmas season that will bring a smile to the face of even the most inveterate miserly curmudgeon, and I am sure it will continue to be in the Jesters’ repertoire for many years to come.
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