First rehearsal: Scrooge, in typical fashion: Let's get to work!

Photos from the opening meet-and-greet rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company’s 2015 staging of ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Photos by John Moore for the DCPA’s NewsCenter. To download any photo for free, click on “View original Flickr” image and choose from a variety of download sizes.

Director Bruce K. Sevy took a moment during the first rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company’s upcoming 23rd staging of A Christmas Carol to honor venerable actor Philip Pleasants, who will be playing Scrooge at the Denver Center for the 11th and final time.

Sevy called working with Pleasants over the past decade a remarkable partnership and learning experience. “This is one of the rare experiences you get in the theatre that makes you think your whole career was worth it,” Sevy said.

Sam Gregory and Philip Pleasants. Photo by John Moore. DCPA veteran Sam Gregory, who will understudy Pleasants this year and eventually assume the role of Scrooge as his own, called Pleasants the greatest actor to ever play the role.

“I have watched Phil progress and grow in this role since I first played Bob Cratchit to Phil’s Scrooge at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in 1998,” Gregory said. “He has been so magnificent. There is no one in this room more intimidated than I am right now.”

Pleasants had to sit there and take the accolades like Cratchit working on Christmas Eve. He then summoned his inner Scrooge and declared simply, “It is a great honor and privilege. I am thrilled to be here. Now … let’s get to work!”

(Photo above: Sam Gregory, left, and Philip Pleasants. Photo by John Moore.) 

Sevy welcomed faces old and new for the official meet-and-greet that launches the beginning of the rehearsal period before every Theatre Company production. This year, the noontime party included guests from another DCPA holiday offering, David Sedaris’ caustic monologue, The SantaLand Diaries.

Stephen Weitz, who also directed the Theatre Company’s Tribes (running through Nov. 15), is helming SantaLand for a seventh straight holiday season. This is the third year the show is being presented as a collaboration between Weitz’s Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and the DCPA’s Off-Center.

This year, Michael Bouchard, who appeared in last season’s A Christmas Carol, will assume the candy-striped tights of Crumpet the Elf from Matt Zambrano in The SantaLand Diaries, which plays Nov. 27-Dec. 27 in the Jones Theatre.

Another first: For the first time in eight years, Weitz announced, that will be a new Crumpet costume Bouchard is sporting. Weitz jokingly cited an EPA violation from eight years of cumulative sweat from his previous Crumpets, Zambrano and Geoffrey Kent.

Michael Bouchard and Bruce K. Sevy. Photo by John Moore.
A joking ‘A Christmas Carol’ Director Bruce K. Sevy, right, doesn’t look too happy with actor Michael Bouchard’s life choices. After performing for Sevy in ‘A Christmas Carol’ last year, Bouchard will move over to the Jones Theatre to star in David Sedaris’ ‘The SantaLand Diaries’ this holiday season. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

David Sedaris wrote The SantaLand Diaries in 1992 detailing his real-life experience working as an elf at the Macy’s department store in New York,” Weitz said. “Since then, it has really become a staple of holiday theatre all across the country. We’ve always thought of it as an alternative holiday outing to more traditional offerings like A Christmas Carol. It attracts a somewhat different audience, and it traffics in Sedaris’ unique brand of snark and cynicism. In many ways, Seadris’ view of the holidays in 1992 was prophetic in that he was just starting to comment on the commercialization of Christmas, and how it was becoming about all the wrong things. I don’t think any of us knew how far that trend was going to continue, but when you look at where we are today, it’s still incredibly timely.

“And yet what makes the play wonderful is that underneath all the biting commentary, it really does have a heart about what Christmas is, and should be, and can be.”

Daniel Langhoff, Laura Mathew Siebert and Nate Siebert. Photo by John Moore. Before offering his thoughts on A Christmas Carol, Sevy invited returning cast member Daniel Langhoff to address the gathering. Langhoff, a new father, was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in August, and two weeks ago had the mass removed. Next week, he starts a 24-week course of chemotherapy.

“I don’t know how this is going to hit me,” Langhoff said, but he thanked his director, cast and crew for inviting him to come back to the show regardless. “This couldn’t be coming at a better time for me,” he said of A Christmas Carol. “I just want to say thank you all for that. “

Langhoff gave a shoutout to the Denver community for supporting him through the start of his ordeal, including the Denver Actors Fund, which has raised about $3,600 to help off-set his medical expenses. Also present was local photographer Laura Mathews Siebert, who hosted a recent portrait fundraiser that raised an additional $1,500 for Langhoff’s family.

In a remarkable small-world twist, Siebert is also the mother of 10-year-old Nate Patrick Siebert, who is newly cast in the Denver Center’s A Christmas Carol for the first time. Twice before, young Nate has donated $100 from his acting stipends (Arvada Center’s Camelot and Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center’s Mary Poppins) to the Denver Actors Fund.

“If you ever are worried about the transient nature of relationships in theatre, it’s a lie,” Langhoff said. “Theatre relationships go on. We are all here for each other, whether or not we even know it.”

(Photo above right: Daniel Langhoff, Laura Mathews Siebert and her son Nate, along with a montage of portraits Laura photographed to raise money for Langhoff’s cancer treatments. Photo by John Moore.)

The children of 'A Christmas Carol.' Photo by John Moore

The children of the DCPA’s ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Photo by John Moore.


Four things Director Bruce K. Sevy loves about A Christmas Carol:

1 PerspectivesThe music by David de Berry, with fresh orchestrations by Gregg Coffin. “This is a very musical play, with its use of traditional carols, singing, underscoring and sound,” Sevy said. Added Coffin: “The music is beautifully ornamental. None of the music defines character or forwards the plot. Instead it hangs like little ornaments on a tree. And all of these little musical moments help to paint a fuller picture of the Dickensian world.” Over his six years with the DCPA, Coffin has completely reimagined the scoring by adding more indigenous instruments such as hammer dulcimers, fiddles and guitars that help bring out the feel of Victorian England.

2 PerspectivesTheatricality. “We did Hamlet a couple of years ago, and I realized while I was watching it how much Marley’s scene with Scrooge is actually borrowing the same sensibility from Hamlet with his father, who is also a ghost,” Sevy said. He added with a laugh: “So Scrooge is actually Hamlet, and Marley is his father. That is really what is going on here.”

3 PerspectivesSocial conscience. “This story is remarkably progressive; moral without being stuffy,” Sevy said. “It gets into some fundamental questions about our relationship to one another, and what the point of life is after all. We know at the core of this play is a man who has cut himself off from the world, and from other human beings. His journey is one of reconnecting. I think when most people come to A Christmas Carol, they leave thinking mostly of the happy stuff. But by the time we get to the part where Scrooge comes to ask if he can come to dinner at his nephew’s place, and then surprises Cratchit with a pay raise – it’s moving. That’s the power of this piece. It speaks to a shared value that we all have.”

4 PerspectivesTimeliness: “What’s similar between 1840 and now is that we have a comparable imbalance between those who have money and those who don’t,” Sevy said. “Almost every scene in this play has some reference to either money, finances or the lack of it. The reason Belle breaks up with Scrooge is because he has a new golden idol – and it is money. Just as it is today, Scrooge’s world is out of balance when we start the play. That’s a big part of what this play is about.”                  

A Christmas Carol: Cast list:

Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Richard Hellesen
Music by David de Berry

Directed by Bruce K. Sevy
Music Direction by Gregg Coffin
Orchestrations by Gregg Coffin
Choreography by Christine Rowan
Set Design by Vicki Smith
Costume Design by Kevin Copenhaver
Lighting Design by Don Darnutzer
Sound Design by Craig Breitenbach       

Colin Alexander (Ghost of Christmas Present)
Leslie Alexander (Mrs. Cratchit)
Benjamin Bonenfant (Undertaker’s Man)
Courtney Capek (Belle)
Stephanie Cozart (Ghost of Christmas Past)
Allen Dorsey (Ghost of Christmas Future)
Napoleon M. Douglas (Ensemble)
Mehry Eslaminia (Ensemble)
Michael Fitzpatrick (Mr. Fezziwig)
Ella Galaty (Fan)
Sam Gregory (Scrooge Understudy)
Edwin Harris (Ensemble)
Ben W. Heil (Peter Cratchit)
Charlie Korman (Boy Scrooge)
Robert Andrew Koutras (Ensemble)
Daniel Langhoff (Ensemble)
Avi Levin (Ensemble)
Kyra Lindsay (Martha Cratchit)
Brody Lineaweaver (Ensemble)
Rodney Lizcano (Old Joe)
Emma C. Martin (Ensemble)
M. Scott McLean (Young Scrooge)
Leslie O’Carroll (Mrs. Fezziwig)
Philip Pleasants (Ebenezer Scrooge)
Max Raabe (Edward Cratchit)
Augie Reichert (Tiny Tim)
Helen Reichert (Belinda Cratchit)
James Michael Reilly (Bob Cratchit)
Jeffrey Roark (Jacob Marley)
Christine Rowan (Ensemble)
Nate Patrick Siebert (Ensemble)
Shannan Steele (Ensemble)
Olivia Sullivent (Want)
Jake Williamson (Ensemble)
Erin Willis (Ensemble)
Owen Zitek (Ensemble) 

A Christmas Carol: Ticket information

  • Nov. 27-Dec. 27 (Opens Dec. 4) at the Stage Theatre
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
  • Accessibility performance: 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19
  • The SantaLand Diaries: Ticket information

  • Nov. 27-Dec. 27 at the Jones Theatre
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
  • Accessibility performance: 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 20
  •  
    For both shows:

  • TTY: 303-893-9582
  • Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
  • Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at DenverCenter.Org

  • Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the only authorized online ticket provider for ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘The SantaLand Diaries.’

    Selected previous NewsCenter coverage of  A Christmas Carol:
    Beginnings and endings for stars of A Christmas Carol, The SantaLand Diaries
    Video: Leslie O’Carroll performs A Christmas O’Carroll … in 5 minutes
    Actor Scott McLean is now also a published children’s author
    Video: The Christmas Carol Coast to Coast Challenge. No. 1: Denver
    By the numbers: A Christmas Carol over 22 years at the DCPA
    First day of 2014 rehearsal: Interviews, cast list and photos
    Meet the cast video: James Michael Reilly
    Meet the cast video: Leslie Alexander

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