‘A Christmas Carol’ at Central Square Theater, Nov. 24 to Dec. 31

A New Adaptation by Debra Wise

November 24 – December 31 2017

Magic, Merriment, and Puppetry: Transformation in One Winter’s Night


CAMBRIDGE, MA – Underground Railway Theater and The Nora Theatre Company are proud to present a new adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol, which will be adapted and directed by Underground Railway Theater Artistic Director Debra Wise. A Christmas Carol plays from November 23 – December 31, 2017. The press performance is Monday, December 4 at 7PM.

Join us for a new incarnation of Dickens classic tale of the miserly Scrooge, set in a city suspended between Victorian London and the vibrantly diverse London of today. Delight in puppetry, live music, dancing and intimate storytelling in the tradition of Central Square Theater’s award-winning Arabian Nights. All the trappings – sights, sounds, and scents – of the holiday fill the theater with magic. A celebration of generosity, compassion and personal transformation that will fill your overflowing heart with the desire to spread the glow of good cheer when you leave the theater. A Christmas Carol is The Margret and H.A. Rey Curious George Family Production.

A Christmas Carol plays at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, November 24 through December 31, 2017. Tickets may be purchased by calling 617.576.9278 x1, at the Central Square Theater box office, or online at CentralSquareTheater.org


About Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (Author) is much loved for his great contribution to classic English literature. He was the quintessential Victorian author. His epic stories, vivid characters and exhaustive depiction of contemporary life are unforgettable. His own story is one of rags to riches. He was born in Portsmouth on February 7, 1812, to John and Elizabeth Dickens. The good fortune of being sent to school at the age of nine was short-lived because his father, inspiration for the character of Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield, was imprisoned for bad debt. The entire family, apart from Charles, were sent to Marshalsea along with their patriarch. Charles was sent to work in Warren’s blacking factory and endured appalling conditions as well as loneliness and despair. After three years he was returned to school, but the experience was never forgotten and became fictionalised in two of his better-known novels David Copperfield and Great Expectations. Like many others, he began his literary career as a journalist. His own father became a reporter and Charles began with the journals The Mirror of Parliament and The True Sun. Then in 1833 he became parliamentary journalist for The Morning Chronicle. With new contacts in the press he was able to publish a series of sketches under the pseudonym ‘Boz’. In April 1836, he married Catherine Hogarth, daughter of George Hogarth who edited Sketches by Boz. Within the same month came the publication of the highly successful Pickwick Papers, and from that point on there was no looking back for Dickens. As well as a huge list of novels he published an autobiography, edited weekly periodicals including Household Words and All Year Round, wrote travel books and administered charitable organizations. He was also a theatre enthusiast, wrote plays and performed before Queen Victoria in 1851. His energy was inexhaustible and he spent much time abroad – for example lecturing against slavery in the United States and touring Italy with companions Augustus Egg and Wilkie Collins, a contemporary writer who inspired Dickens’ final unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood. He was estranged from his wife in 1858 after the birth of their ten children, but maintained relations with his mistress, the actress Ellen Ternan. He died of a stroke in 1870. He is buried at Westminster Abbey.


About Adapter & Director Debra Wise

Debra Wise (Adapter, Director, Artistic Director of Underground Railway Theater) launched URT in Oberlin, Ohio with founding Artistic Director Wes Sanders, who recently completed an e-book documenting URT’s decades as a touring company (1978-2008). With Sanders, Wise helped create over 30 new works which toured nationally and internationally to venues ranging from Lincoln Center to public schools; titles included Sanctuary – The Spirit of Harriet Tubman, Home is Where, InTOXICating and The Christopher Columbus Follies. Wise led URT collaborations with Boston Symphony Orchestra (Firebird, Creation of the World, Tempest); and Wise created and staged plays for Boston’s Museum of Science (Aging Puzzle), New Center for Arts and Culture (Jewish Women and Their Salons), the Mary Baker Eddy Library, the MFA and the ICA (Art InterACTions), and the Cambridge Arts Council (theater in dialogue with public art). Since creating Central Square Theater with The Nora Theatre Company, Wise has focused on re-envisioning URT’s mission to grow from within its first theater home. With playwrights Alan Brody and the late Jon Lipsky, and physicist/author Alan Lightman, she co-founded Catalyst Collaborative@MIT (CST’s unique science theater partnership with MIT), and led partnerships with Mount Auburn Cemetery (Our Town) and the National Park Service (Roots of Liberty – The Haitian Revolution and the American Civil War, featuring over 50 actors, dancers, musicians, and guest artists Danny Glover and Edwidge Danticat). URT has won two Elliot Norton awards under Wise’s leadership: for The Convert (Outstanding Production) and Bedlam’s St. Joan (Best Visiting Production). Other appearances on the CST stage include Kushner’s Homebody, Copenhagen, Brundibar & But the Giraffe!, The Other Place, Distracted, The How and the Why, Einstein’s Dreams, From Orchids to Octopi: An Evolutionary Love Story, Yesterday Happened: Remembering H.M., Breaking the Code, Arabian Nights and A Christmas Memory. Acting appearances on other Boston stages include Mistero Buffo (Poets’ Theatre); A Boston Marriage and Orson’s Shadow (New Repertory Theatre), Brooklyn Boy (SpeakEasy Stage Co.), and Chosen Child (Boston Playwrights’ Theater); in NYC, The Haggadah (The Public, with Julie Taymor). Wise has been nominated for Outstanding Performance by both the Elliot Norton Awards and the IRNE. Her work as a playwright includes States of Grace, inspired by the stories, poems, and essays of Grace Paley; and Alice’s Adventures Underground, based on the works of Lewis Carroll. She collaborates each summer with Harvard’s Project Zero, training educators on using theater to help students think more deeply across the curriculum.


About the Cast of A Christmas Carol

Please note the casting change below. Johnny Lee Davenport has had to withdraw from the production for health reasons. Central Square Theater wishes Mr. Davenport a healthy recovery – recognizing his privacy at this time – and looks forward to working with him in the future. Ramona Lisa Alexander has joined the cast in his place.


Ramona Lisa Alexander (Marley et al.) was last was seen at Central Square Theater in the first season of Arabian Nights. Most recently, she appeared as Nina in The Royale at Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Regional: Romeo and Juliet (Nurse), The Boys from Syracuse, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company; Barbecue and Saturday Night Sunday Morning, The Lyric Stage Company of Boston; Milk Like Sugar, Breathe Boom, Huntington Theatre Company; Days of Atonement, Israeli Stage; Arabian Nights, Harriet Jacobs, Ti-Jean & His Brothers, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Central Square Theater; Seven Guitars, The Artist Repertory Theatre; The Brother/Sister Plays, King Hedley II, Portland Playhouse (Drammy Award); Intimate Apparel, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre; To Kill a Mockingbird Montana Repertory Theatre, National Tour; A Christmas Carol, Berkshire Theatre Festival; Postcards from Earth, Guthrie Theatre; 103 Within the Veil, Company One (IRNE Award); Doubt, Newton Nomadic Theater; In the Continuum, Joe Turner’s …, Up You Might Race Theatre Company (IRNE Award); In the Blood, Zeitgest Stage Company; Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, Peter and the Wolf; International: Reggae Sun Splash Music Festival in Jamaica. Film/Television: Knock Around Kids, adekoje-filmwerks. Education: MFA Brandeis University.


Mesma Belsaré (Ghost of Christmas Past et al.) is thrilled to be back at Central Square Theater! Trained in dance and theater in the classical medium in India, Belsaré performs as an actor in Boston and New York City. Acting credits include When January Feels Like Summer (Central Square Theater), Gehri Dosti: five short plays with a South Asian Bent [Harvard University and Wellesley College, Circle East, NYC (choreographer)], Tughlaq (Harvard University), Dance Like a Man (Triveni, New Delhi and Harvard University) and the opera The Bandit Queen (Holy Cross College and Boston University). Solo dance performance venues include the Lincoln Center (NYC), Asia Society (NYC), Alvin Ailey Theater (NYC), The Lincoln Theater (Washington D.C.), Siri Fort (New Delhi) and the Harbourfront Centre (Toronto). In addition to being an actor and dancer, Belsaré is also a visual artist, and paints in oil.


Ken Cheeseman (Scrooge) Most recent Boston area appearances have been at New Rep in the Rolling World Premiere of Blackberry Winter and at the Huntington Theatre in Winnie Holzman’s Choice. Recent off Broadway appearances include: Dr. Faustus at Classic Stage Company with Chris Noth, at Brooklyn Academy of Music with John Turturro in The Master Builder and with Dianne Weist and John Turturro in The Cherry Orchard also at Classic Stage. His recent film and television appearances include the feature films Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and Joy opposite Jennifer Lawrence, a guest star appearance in Comedy Central’s Time Traveling Bong and in the Emmy Award winning HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge opposite Fran McDormand and Richard Jenkins. Ken is a Senior Artist in Residence at Emerson College.


Eliza Rose Fichter (Fiddler et al.) most recently appeared in The Nora’s production of The Revolutionists at Central Square Theater. Around town: Matchless & The Happy Prince (Underground Railway Theater); The Corn is Green (Huntington Theatre Company). Chicago: Ubu the King (Rough House); Henry V (Chicago Shakespeare Project); The Comedy of Errors (Commission Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Rediscover Theatre). Regional: Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, Odyssey (Olney Theatre Center).


Jesse Garlick (Bob Cratchit et al.) is thrilled to be returning to Central Square Theater after previously appearing in Journey to the West and Arcadia. Off-Broadway credits include Good (PTP/NYC). Regional credits include Good, Assassins (New Repertory Theatre), Hamlet (Brown Box Theatre Project), Salome (Bridge Rep), Beowulf (Poets Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Classical Repertory Company), Who Would Be King, Yellow Bird Chase, Talk to Strangers (Liars&Believers). Jesse is a faculty member at Boston Ballet’s ECI Department as well as a freshman drama director at Newton South High School. He is also a co-founder of 360 Dance Ensemble. Jesse graduated from Boston University with a BFA in Acting as well as having attended the Academia Dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy.


Caitlin Gjerdrum (Mrs. Cratchit et al.) is thrilled to be joining the cast of CST’s A Christmas Carol. A California native, Caitlin has worked with a number of local companies since moving here for college, including Fresh Ink, Flat Earth Theatre, Project: Project, The Open Theatre Project, and Maiden Phoenix. Career highlights outside the Boston area include summer stints at Bread & Puppet in Glover, VT and at Dell’Arte International in Blue Lake, CA. An avid musician, musical theatre actor & consultant, she has also workshopped several new musicals, including Precious Bane (Miriam Raiken-Kolb & GL Horton), Homewrecker (Liz Ruddy & Yicheng Wu), Roswitha (Kevin Bleau & David Schrag), and, on the horizon, The Golden Cage, by Deborah Henson-Conant. Loving thanks to the mentors, collaborators, & co-conspirators who make all of this both possible & worthwhile.


David Keohane (Nephew et al.) David returns for another holiday season at Central Square Theatre having originated the role of Frederick in Matchless & The Happy Prince. Chicago area credits include productions with Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Jackalope Theatre, Commission Theatre, and Oak Park Festival Theatre. David proudly received his BFA from Boston University with an acting certificate from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. He is currently represented in Chicago by Big Mouth Talent. Spread some joy today.


Vincent Ernest Siders (Ghost of Christmas Present et al.) is an actor, director, producer, and educator. He is the lead teaching instructor of Underground Railway Theater’s resident youth acting ensemble: The Ambassadors. He has received two Acting awards and two nominations for Best Direction from the Independent Reviewers of New England, the Elliot Norton Award for Best Actor, and Boston Magazine’s Best of Boston Award for Best Actor. Vincent is the founder and artistic director of TYG Productions, home of the Family Beef Feast Fest. His most recent roles include Shahryar in Arabian Nights (The Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater co-production, at Central Square Theater) and Joe Bell in Guided Tour by Peter Snoad (Hibernian Hall, Roxbury).


Zoë Adams-Martin (Cratchit Girl et al.) is a first grade student at Thacher Montessori School, and has taken numerous drama classes at Central Square Theater and Wheelock Family Theatre. Zoë loves art in many forms, and has particularly enjoyed storytelling and playmaking since she was a baby. Last year, she performed in A Doll’s House at the Huntington Theatre Company. She is excited to be making her Central Square Theater debut, and is honored to be part of this wonderful ensemble.


Ben Choi-Harris (Tiny Tim et al.) is thrilled to make his debut at Central Square Theater in this special production! Ben recently performed in the ensemble of James and the Giant Peach at Acting Out! Theater Company and as ‘Clarence and Newsboy’ in Gypsy at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston. Other roles include ‘Chip’ in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and ‘Winthrop Paroo’ in The Music Man at the North Shore Music Theatre, and at Wheelock Family Theatre in Charlotte’s Web, Billy Elliot The Musical, Akeelah and the Bee, A Year with Frog and Toad, and The Trumpet of the Swan. Sincere gratitude for the opportunity to join this terrific cast and production team!


Ryker Christensen (Cratchit Boy et al.) is extremely proud to be joining the cast of A Christmas Carol. Ryker lives in Boston’s South End with his family. He attends the Hurley K-8 School and is receiving a bilingual education. He is in the fourth grade, and his favorite subjects are English and Math. Ryker was the fourth runner up for Actor of the Year at IMTA NYC this past summer. He has appeared in several school plays and this is his debut in a major theater production. Ryker enjoys dancing and has performed several times in the Urbanity Dance Annual Showcase. He also loves playing soccer on his travel team, skiing and little league baseball. Ryker would like to thank his mom, dad, identical twin, Rowan, sisters, Emily and Faye and his brother, Nick, for their love and support. He is also thankful to the Central Square Theater and Underground Railway Theater for the opportunity to join the cast this holiday season.


Matilda Fletcher (Cratchit Girl et al.) is excited to be making her Central Square Theater debut. She’s appeared in Wheelock Family Theatre’s Akeelah and the Bee (as ‘crying girl’), and took acting classes at Stage School Australia, where her favourite role was Sophie in The Lost King. The past two summers, she’s had a blast at ImprovBoston’s summer ComedyClinics. Matilda, 10, likes reading, playing soccer, making miniature food out of buttons, and pretending to be someone else on stage. She’s fond of a pun.


Anatoly Fateyev Heimowitz (Cratchit Boy et al.) is 9 years old and lives in Melrose. He likes to sing, imagine and perform. Theater has become one of his biggest passions since he was 4 years old. For the past two years Anatoly has attended Summer Studios at Boston Children’s Theater and played Toad in Frog and Toad and Winnie in Winnie the Pooh. Anatoly also enjoys traveling, playing his saxophone and spending time with his family and friends.


Sean Verre (Cratchit Boy et al.) Sean is excited about his debut performance with Central Square Theater. Sean has previously performed as a baby spider in Wheelock Family Theater’s production of Charlotte’s Web. In addition to acting, Sean enjoys learning to play the violin and singing with Boston City Singers. Sean is in the second grade at the Mather Elementary School in Dorchester and his favorite subjects are math and writing. When not performing in one manner or another Sean can be found camping with his family, riding his bike or playing with his dog Cocoa. Sean would like to thank director Debra Wise for allowing him to enjoy this valuable experience. Sean would also like to thank his mom and dad for their love and support.


The artistic and design team includes David Fichter (Scenic & Puppetry Design), Leslie Held (Costume), John R. Malinowski (Lighting Design), Mark Bruckner (Sound Design & Original Composition), Charles Linshaw (Dialect Design) Elizabeth Rocha and Abby Schenker (Properties Designers) Susan Dibble (Choreographer) and Wally Napier (Illusionist Consultant). Brian M. Robillard is the Production Stage Manager. Demacy Kinkaid is the Assistant Stage Manager.  Central Square Theater (CST) opened in 2008 through a groundbreaking partnership between The Nora Theatre Company (The Nora) and Underground Railway Theater (URT). This collaboration has been called a model for the arts community (The Boston Foundation, Culture is our Commonwealth, and The National Collaboration Prize), as it has paired two like-minded performing arts organizations in a strategic alliance with the City of Cambridge and MIT, resulting in the development of a state-of-the-art performing arts center in the heart of Central Square. CST has a mission to support its two theaters-in-residence while maintaining a shared vision of artists and audiences creating theater vital to their communities. The Nora and URT have a combined track record of over 50 years producing award-winning theater. Located in Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and steeped in its multiracial, intergenerational, ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods, the CST theater experience exudes a democratic energy where classes, races and age groups come together to be inspired, entertained and energized.


Press inquiries should be directed to Central Square Theater’s Director of Marketing, Nicholas Peterson, phone: 617.576.9278 x205 or via email ndp@centralsquaretheater.org. Central Square Theater is accessible to persons with special needs and to those requiring wheelchair seating. For further information please call 617.576.9278 or visit CentralSquareTheater.org.

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