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Deck the halls with these new carols from “A Christmas Carol in Concert!”

Deck the halls with these new carols from A Christmas Carol in Concert!

By Cassie Zimmerman and Claire Jenkins, Cappies Critics

Amidst the uncertainty and shutdown of many creative spaces during the pandemic, theatres across the country are unable to conduct live performances and welcome in-person audiences to celebrate the holiday season. However, the People’s Light and Theatre Company’s “A Christmas Carol in Concert” still succeeded in providing a joyful and refreshing new take on the winter classic. The performance was magnificent in spreading hope and holiday cheer to all.

Adapted from Charles Dickens’ novella of the same name, “A Christmas Carol in Concert” tells the haunting yet hopeful story of a stingy curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge, and his journey through time in learning the consequences of selfishness with guidance from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. Exposed to such perspectives, Scrooge can truly reflect on his life, giving him the opportunity to change: an idea he never would have considered.

With the integration of storytelling, well-known carols, and brilliant original music by Barrymore Award-winning songwriter Zak Berkman, the overall production of this safely filmed and edited concert cultivated a calming and heartwarming atmosphere for all ages to enjoy. Each of the nineteen artists’ emotions and dedication brought the novella to life, creating a captivating performance.

The storytelling in “A Christmas Carol in Concert” truly ignited a nostalgic feeling like that of a bedtime story on Christmas Eve. The concert’s host, Ian Merrill Peake, did a fantastic job with setting a soothing tone and engaging the viewer. Excerpts of the Christmas tale were read by seven talented actors, each adding their own characterization to their part of the story. Their use of different voices and English accents demonstrated a great understanding of their characters, as well as their versatility as actors. The readers’ direct eye contact with the camera also built a connection between the viewer and reader, making the show feel more personal. Another beautiful element of the concert was its music. Berkman’s songwriting perfectly expressed both the dark and optimistic tones of A Christmas Carol, while six powerful singers flawlessly executed the notes with vitality and incredible control. Mitch Chakour’s music arrangement using the guitar, cello, and piano produced a remarkable folk-like sound, contributing to the peaceful nature of the show. Like the songs, the orchestral music complimented the excerpts which further unified this cohesive performance.

The technological quality of the concert was impressive and entrancing, with film director and editor Leo Switucha’s seamless editing and smooth transitions from one artist to the next. The sound mixing of the singers’ harmonies made the viewer feel as though they were seeing the concert in person. Additionally, the background set of candles added to the warm ambiance of Christmas spirit while bringing the audience into the 19th century world of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Full of skilled artists and enchanting original songs, People’s Light and Theatre managed to safely deliver a beautiful performance during a pandemic, highlighting the importance of being connected to others while physically being apart. “A Christmas Carol in Concert” is not only a great show for getting into the holiday spirit, but an experience that you do not want to miss.

If you’re interested in seeing this show and hearing these original songs, the film “A Christmas Carol in Concert” will be streaming virtually until January 3rd, 2021. More information as well as tickets are available at

Cassie Zimmerman can be reached at [email protected]

Claire Jenkins can be reached at [email protected]

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