Logo Design by Scott Richardson

Claire Gordon, Don Schneider, Chris McDonald,
Eric and Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson

Photo by Ted Schurter - SJ-R

The Cast of A CHRISTMAS CAROL - 1940'S RADIO SHOW

Don Schneider, John Sivak, Pat Foster and Mac Warren

The Cast of A CHRISTMAS CAROL - 1940'S RADIO SHOW

Show photos by Rose Schumacher

STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER REVIEW (Dec. 20, 2003)

"CHRISTMAS CAROL" HAS NEW AIR AS RADIO PLAY

Friday night, Gordon Productions successfully put a new spin on Charles Dickensí A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Springfield Theatre Centre.

Throughout the years, this story has been presented a countless number of ways, but this production is quite different from the rest.

Under the innovative direction of Gus Gordon, the classic holiday tale was presented as a 1940's radio broadcast. As soon as the curtains parted, I felt like I was transported back to the golden age of radio, witnessing a live broadcast.

The set was extremely simple, yet effective, consisting of a black curtain and a sign that read "WUIS/WIPA Radio: A Christmas Carol." Every detail of the props and costumes seemed to be historically accurate, down to the large wooden chairs in which the cast members sat while waiting for their turn at the microphone.

Don Schneider was ideal as Ebenezer Scrooge. His expressive voice clearly depicted the transformation of the heartless Scrooge into the embodiment of the Christmas spirit.

Chris McDonald's rich and all-knowing voice elegantly narrated the story, illustrating the tale in the audience's mind using many of Dickens' vivid details.

Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson played a timid Bob Cratchit, and Gordon gave a spirited portrayal of Scrooge's nephew Fred.

The on-stage sound-effects men, played by Mac Warren, John Sivak and Geoffrey Leathers, were the most entertaining part of the entire one-hour show. It was fascinating to watch them manipulate a variety of unusual objects to produce the sound of a door-locking or a window slamming at precisely the right moment.

The varied voies of the rest of the cast, aside from a couple of bad accents, were all very strong and helped to make this a well-rounded show.

The sound, designed by Jason Goodreau, was the best I can remember at a community theater production. The echoing microphone used for Jacob Marley projected his voice in such a way that his spirit seemed to be spread throughout the entire auditorium, and not just Scrooge's bedroom.

Soft background music used throughout the performance created a soundtrack that added to the mood of many scenes and helped to tie the whole production together.

While the story of A CHRISTMAS CAROL appeals to the entire family, this production is aimed at older audiences. The limited on-stage action did not keep the attention of the few young children present Friday night.

An actual radio broadcast of this show can be heard on WUIS-FM 91.9 at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and again Christmas Day, but it is worth the ticket price to experience this unique theatrical presentation live.

Performances continue at 8 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Springfield Theatre Centre, 101 E. Lawrence Avenue. Tickets, at $9 for adults and $8 for seniors and children 12 and under, are available by calling 523-0878.