‘Scrooge in Love!’ directed by the dream director and miracle maker Dyan McBride opened it’s world premiere run at 42nd Street Moon and it’s such a warm, joyful, funny and clever sequel to ‘A Christmas Carol’ that it’s destined for the big stage and for finding a place in busy lives each Christmas to come. It’s a breakthrough with an all new story and all new Christmas music sure to shake off any chains of gloom and doom. A magical creative team dreamed up the sequel to the Dickens classic, the story of Scrooge and Belle’s romance after wealthy Scrooge finds happiness in giving; and ultimately in accepting love.
Transforming and finding love is a team effort with the help of family and the returning ghosts of old friend and colleague Jacob Marley with reimagined Christmases Past, Present and Future. Note a change in wardrobe from what is shown here in the pre-production photos, the white frock that looks like a wedding gown on Christmas Past bears no resemblance no the Marilyn Monroean pink corset with wings and fringe worn in the production. She’s one good reason Scrooge goes from reluctant to bemused to giddy to happier. That’s a new song too, ‘Happier’.
The musical itself comes from the dynamic and heartwarming team of Duane Pool, the writer; Kellen Blair, the lyricist; and Larry Grossman, the composer. These three spirited gentlemen give gem after gem of new Christmas ditties as well as some breakthrough serious moments, epiphanies, for Scrooge. Graae brings it all to life with mirth and humility and glee. It’s a family friendly and even ditzy and wacky sometimes, with opening night on Jackson Square in San Francisco producing smiles all around. Jason Graae, who played the title role with a gleam in his eye and as if the story were written for him, beckoned the three forces on stage after the show.
The spirit of Duane Pool, Kellen Blair and Larry Grossman
Again, that’s Duane Pool the writer of Aaron Spelling fame, who worked on beloved classic television series such as ‘Hart to Hart’; ‘The Love Boat’ and ‘Hotel’ which was set in San Francisco. Duane Pool, who has a warm smile and stands tall with a smooth shaven head. It’s Kellen Blair the lyricist, the slight young man with a brown beard and a bowtie who glitters spiritually with songs like ‘I Love Love’ by the pink corseted ditzy blond of Christmas Past, and what a past. Youssef performs double duty as the dance captain and probably hits her zenith with a big ensemble number involving the ghosts in the second act. Meanwhile. That’s humble and bookish looking Kellen Blair who wrote the song for his alter ego Christmas Present. The ghost with the big kingly fur trimmed green robe, the burly manly man with the hairy chest, who declares full of manhood that Christmas Present is a gift the way he himself is a gift to women. Finally, that’s Larry Grossman in a suit jacket and with the smooth head and glasses, who kept the songs upbeat and playful, completely engaging and delightful.
Dyan McBride a dream director
Dyan McBride the director knows how to make the most of every moment and every nuance, letting the personalities of the characters get rollicking and spontaneous. It all seemed so fresh and funny, breathing new life into the old chestnut ‘A Christmas Carol’ and making the tiny and intimate Eureka stage seem like Broadway. McBride shows a real intuition nay genius for casting and chemistry, particularly with each of the ghosts as well the returning and special guest star Jason Graae in the title role. Elise Youssef plays the pink confectionary ghost of Christmas Past with the baby doll voice and squeals of delight; Will Springhorn, Jr. matches Youssef’s hyper femininity with his hairy-chested Scottish he-man as he plays the Ghost of Christmas Present. David Naughton looms large with his dark stage presence as the Ghost of Christmas Future. It’s a great comic twist with the triple casting of Naughton as the minister and also as Dick Wilkins, Scrooge’s friend but also romantic rival. Perennial gentleman Ryan Drummond is almost unrecognizable under his gray spray painted pallor and rattling chains of Jacob Marley’s ghost yet he remains as warm and delightful as always. Heather Orth returns after ‘Something for the Boys’ with her strength and warmth and spark.
Ticket and other info
‘Scrooge in Love!’ runs through December 13 on Jackson Square at the Eureka Theater. It’s an easy walk from Embarcadero BART along Davis Street with some street parking. The best part is being close enough to North Beach to walk from dinner or go for dessert after. Tomasso’s, Puccini’s Cafe, Viva, Molinari Deli. Bike riders may lock their bike to a parking meter near the theater or in the bike cage at Embarcadero BART. Tickets range from $57.50 for premium tier to $10 for patrons under the age of eighteen and students. VIP tickets cost $75 and you get a glass of wine and ticket insurance. Patrons may purchase tickets on line or at the box office at the Eureka Theater. Patrons may print tickets at home.Ticket info here, tickets.