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The Mainstage at Fort Salem Theater

A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol

Set both in upstate New York in the present and in Dickens’s 1850 London, the new version speaks to the issues of modern day greed and avarice through the inclusion of a contemporary Crachit family. The present day young Crachits, more like Scrooge than like their nineteenth century counterparts, recognize in Scrooge some of their own unattractive attributes.

The book and score are written by Jeremy Blachman and Jay Kerr. Blachman, author of the blog and novel, Anonymous Lawyer, is currently signed by Sony and NBC to create a television pilot based upon his book. Jay Kerr is the Artistic Director of the theater and a songwriter who has been represented on and off Broadway.

Onboard in his first excursion into the Fort, former Dorset Theatre Festival Artistic Director Wm. John Aupperlee will be directing a cast of professionals and community players, from New York City, Philadelphia, Albany, Saratoga and the upstate New York hamlet of Salem. As a scenic designer whose film work includes On Golden Pond, Somewhere in Time, and Time in a Bottle, Bill’s design for Dorset’s The Glass Menagerie was cited by one reviewer as “the silent presence, which transports the audience to the fragile world of Tennessee Williams' masterpiece memory play.”

“I worked with Bill in New York in 2003 on the concert version of Broadway Sings The Odd Potato, a Hanukkah tale often called the Jewish Christmas Carol,” said Kerr recently. “I saw Bill’s imagination take the piece, which we had worked on together in some of its previous incarnations, and give it an exciting new life. I gave him our Fort Salem Christmas Carol and said, “Imagine this!’”

Performances, running for two weekends, December 14, 15 and 16; and 21, 22, and 23, are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM, and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 PM. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for 12 and under. The Mainstage at Fort Salem Theater is located at 11 East Broadway in Salem. Tickets: (518) 854-9200.

Jay Kerr
Artistic Director
Fort Salem Theater
(518) 854-9200


A Christmas Carol
The Cast
Review of A Christmas Carol

No humbug in sight with this 'Christmas Carol'
Special to The Post-Star
Published: Monday, December 17, 2007


SALEM -- Audiences can enjoy a double treat this holiday season at the recently restored Fort Salem Theater.

The world premiere of a new musical version of "A Christmas Carol" by Jeremy Blachman and Jay Kerr marks the official unveiling of the renovated main stage portion of the 37-year-old theater with its fresh decor, and updated sound and lighting equipment. Both the theater and the play are grand sights to behold.

Admirably designed and directed by Dorset, Vt., artist William John Aupperlee and choreographed by Susi Trombley, "A Christmas Carol" is a zestful production offering a bright, new look at a traditional holiday favorite featuring the miser Scrooge and the impoverished Crachit family. The setting moves from present day Salem to traditional London of long ago.

The cast, a fine mixture of professional and area amateur talent, keeps the audience focused on the story as we enjoy the singing, the humor and, of course, the ageless tale of redemption and eventual good will. Advertisement Aupperlee's set changes are accomplished mostly by some clever and awesome lighting effects. Musical direction is created by Kerr and the accompaniment is well modulated with the singing, both choral and solo.

Gordon Hazzard, originally from New York City theatrical circles, makes a perfect Scrooge and has an impressive voice for his several musical numbers. His character's transformation is totally believable as he experiences nighttime visits from his former and now deceased partner, Marley, and from Christmas Spirits One, Two and Three. These roles are convincingly portrayed by Dan Garfinkel, Ann Marie Acquilano and Ted DeBonis with Garfinkel appearing both as Marley and as Spirit Three.

Hazzard's command of his role is especially enjoyable to see and hear as he sings "I'm a Miserable Old Man" with great relish. His Scrooge obviously enjoys being miserable, to him a sign of success to be savored, until his eyes are opened by those nighttime visiting spirits. His former girlfriend, Belle, played very well by Kerri Pedimonte, also has a most pleasant voice when she joins Hazzard in singing "Belle's Song."

A group of carolers has the theater swaying with their number, "The Bells of Christmas." By the time you leave, you'll be in the true Christmas spirit. If not, then you are a Scrooge yourself and can enjoy exclaiming, "Bah! Humbug!" But, believe me, no matter how miserly you are, you won't even think of asking for your money back. It's called the magic of Christmas.

Scrooge Sings Anew
by Jacqueline Keren
Article from Metroland - Art Murmur
Fort Salem Theater
© 2007