The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 23, 2013

Music brightens Dickens classic

Ruth Rice

JOHNSTOWN — A Christmas classic will mix in music for more holiday cheer.

“A Christmas Carol” will be presented by Nebraska Theatre Caravan at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center in Richland Township.

Charles Jones’ adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale is told so all ages can enjoy it and features ensemble music that weaves traditional Christmas carols throughout the narrative.

“This is classic, traditional Dickens with a cast of 24, live musicians, and Broadway scenery and costumes sure to make audiences cherish this annual holiday classic, which looks like Currier and Ives,” said Michael Bodolosky, arts center executive director. “While it’s a musical, the songs don’t move the story forward. The story takes itself forward, and the songs tie it all together. There will be traditional carols which lend themselves to the story.”

In this adaptation, one actor plays Ebenezer Scrooge, and the 24-member ensemble supports the story and music with singing and dancing, while each member takes on a significant character as the story unfolds.

Paul Kerr has been playing Scrooge for four years, but never thought he would enjoy the role.

“I was playing Christmas Present since 2006, then they asked me to play Scrooge, and I love it,” Kerr said. “My wife had asked me if I would ever want to play Scrooge, and I couldn’t see myself doing it. Now I can’t see myself not playing Scrooge.”

Kerr’s wife, Kiersten Vorheis, plays the street vendor, Nell, and a comic ladies maid.

Kerr said that Jones adapted the script from the original 1840s to the 1880s to incorporate the Victorian trappings of Christmas.

“The curtain will come up on a Victorian Christmas card with snow falling,” Kerr said. “There will be traditional carols such as ‘Coventry Carol,’ ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ and ‘Greensleeves.’ Some will be familiar, but some they might have never heard.”

Kerr said the addition of music to the play has been well received by audiences.

“This is the fourth time we’ve had them here,” Bodolosky said. “It’s great music, great costuming, a great narrative and a story for all ages. Tickets are going fast.”


Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at