Come be transformed by Trinity’s ‘Christmas Carol’

Stephen Thorne as Bob Cratchit and Stephen Berenson as Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol at Trinity Rep, directed by Curt Columbus. Set design by Deb O,  costume design by Toni Spadafora, lighting design by Josh Epstein. Photo Mark Turek.

Stephen Thorne as Bob Cratchit and Stephen Berenson as Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at Trinity Rep, directed by Curt Columbus. Set design by Deb O, costume design by Toni Spadafora, lighting design by Josh Epstein. Photo Mark Turek.

PROVIDENCE – A decade is a nice run. After twenty years, you can certainly be called a tradition. After 38 years, you’ve probably earned the right to be called a holiday institution.

Trinity Repertory Company unveiled its 38th annual production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” this week, giving the Christmas season a kickstart even before the first turkey met its fate.

The production, directed by Trinity Artistic Director Curt Columbus, which opened on Nov. 7 and will run through Dec. 31 at the Chace Theatre. is a sprightly, artistic delight, a delightful bauble under your theatrical Christmas tree.

The test of an Ebenezer Scrooge is how well he makes the transformation from miserly misfit to Christmas crazy, and Stephen Berenson’s Scrooge redemption is both funny and heart-warming.

You can count on Fred Sullivan Jr. to find the humor in the role, which he does as a feisty, funny Mr. Fezziwig and later as Old Joe, the “secondhand dealer” who bargains over Scrooge’s effects.

Kyle Vincent Terry imbues the character of Scrooge’s nephew Fred with great bonhomie, while Stephen Thorne brings warmth and humor as much-put-upon Bob Cratchit, eking out a miserable living while trying to keep valiant little Tiny Tim (Amaryllis Miller) alive.

Joshua Lemeli and Adriana Blount are engaging as the Young Scrooge and fiancee Belle.

Whitney White as Ghost of Christmas Past in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol at Trinity  Rep, directed by Curt Columbus. Set design by Deb O, costume design by Toni Spadafora,  lighting design by Josh Epstein. Photo Mark Turek.

Whitney White as Ghost of Christmas Past in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at Trinity Rep, directed by Curt Columbus. Set design by Deb O, costume design by Toni Spadafora,
lighting design by Josh Epstein. Photo Mark Turek.

Whitney White as The Ghost of Christmas Past and Phyllis Kay as the Ghost of Christmas Present are both high-spirited spirits.

The production features alternating Red and Green casts of children, and the Red team – Gustavo Londono, Calista Heart Auinaldo, Amaryllis Miller, Bobby Miller III, Delaney Wilson and Damola Abedayo – were strong across the board at a recent performance.

“A Christmas Carol” would be a mighty somber story without Richard Cumming’s original music, augmented by some traditional carols and music from the period, with music direction by Michael Rice. A lovely original number by Cumming called “The Requim” has Scrooge and Marley (Brian McEleney) face to face as they count their ill-gotten gains, unaware they are growing the chains that will eventually bind them. Shura Baryshnikov’s choreography lightens the mood and the heart.

This year’s production is dedicated to Barbara Meek, a longtime member of Trinity Rep who died on Oct. 3, who performed in 14 “Carols” and once in 1998 authored her own Ebenezer Scrooge on the Trinity stage.

Setting the stage for a period piece such as this one set in 1843 London are Toni Spadafora’s sumptuous costumes, lively, lovely projections by Aaron Rhyne and John Narun, Josh Epstein’s lighting design and sound design by Peter Sasha Hurowitz.

Columbus’ direction is caring and complete. It is obvious he gets involved in the little details of the production that add to the whole of the theatrical experience.

Even amidst the lights, the bustle and the gifts, the holiday season is difficult for many people.

Just as Scrooge was transformed, it’s likely this production will transform you a bit, too, whether you’re a child aged 8 or 80, and send you into the night with a smile on your face and in the spirit of goodwill to others.

The Trinity Repertory Company production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Directed by Curt Columbus. At the Chace Theatre, 201 Washington St., Providence, through Dec. 31. http://www.trinityrep.com.

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