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Twin Beach Players perform timeless Christmas Carol

North Beach, MD - Have yourself a merry little Christmas by planning to catch the remaining performances of Twin Beach Players’ production of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, directed by Rachel Cruz. The whole family will revel in the joy and redemptive power of Christmas in this timeless story of miser and curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge as he is reformed by four spirits who show him the error of his ways. The play runs through December 10 with Friday and Saturday shows beginning at 8 pm and Sunday matinees starting at 3 p.m. General Admission is $15; students, seniors and members tickets are $12. All performances are held at the Boys and Girls Club on Dayton Avenue in North Beach, MD. For more information you may contact www.twinbeachplayers.org or you may call (410)286-1890.

The play’s single-set is cleverly constructed to encompass Scrooge’s cozy fireplace and interior rooms as well as a London Street; efficient crewmembers work during caroling to ensure quick and silent scene transitions. (Set Designer is Rachel Cruz; Scenic Construction is by Frank Antonio, assisted by Adam Dove.)

Terri McKinstry portrays Charles Dickens, serving as the Narrator who ties all of the scenes together through her commanding stage presence. Brian Davis, as Ebenezer Scrooge, grouses at the carolers expressing Christmas cheer as the play opens. By the play’s end, Scrooge has experienced an amazing transformation – (he is at first bewildered and terrified, then remorseful and finally joyful) thanks to the four apparitions who come to visit. Brian is admirably adept at conveying all of the facets of Scrooge’s personality (Brian has appeared with Arena Stage, Round House Theatre, Olney Theatre and the Folger Shakespeare Theatre; he is joined in this production by his two sons – Aidan and Liam). The audience meets Bob Cratchit (Brian’s son, Aidan Davis, who gives a sensitive performance – uniquely nuanced though his non-verbal communication) - the father who struggles to provide for his family. Aidan is a veteran of TBP and has been seen as Giles in The Mousetrap and as Ed in You Can’t Take It With You. Aidan is well-matched with accomplished TBP veteran Aaliyah Roach as Mrs. Cratchit.  Liam Davis is an experienced local actor and appears here as a member of the ensemble.

Caius Spencer makes his TBP debut as Tiny Tim, stealing the show (and this reviewer’s heart) as the Cratchit’s crippled son.

Ebenezer has the wits scared out of him when he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley (Frank Antonio). Mr. Antonio reprises his original role from TBP’s very first show in 1997; he is a founding member of TBP. As Marley’s ghost, he makes an impressive entrance from the back of the hall, effectively projecting his powerful speaking voice above the sound of clanking chains and appropriately scary recorded sound effects.

The Ghost of Christmas Past (a regal and gloriously costumed-and-tiared Ashley Vernier) visits Ebenezer and reveals to him flashback vignettes from his youth. (Miss Vernier is a 10th-grade student and this is her 9th production with TBP). Costume Designer is Dawn Denison, assisted by Katie McDonald.

The schoolboy Ebenezer and his sister, Fan, are portrayed by Caleb Graves-Reher (making his TBP debut) and Lily Kennedy (previously seen in TBP’s Kids’ Playwriting Festival), respectively.

A solo violinist (Jordanna Nye) participates in the ensemble’s celebration as The Musician; she is an inspired addition to the cast. Miss Nye is joined in a duet in Act II by the multi-talented actress-violinist Aaliyah Roach.
A Christmas Carol’s Assistant Director and TBP veteran Lindsay Haas is jubilant (and beautifully costumed) in her role as The Ghost of Christmas Present, as Act I comes to an end.

The Ghost of Christmas Future (veteran TBP actor Adam Dove) is frighteningly mute as he leads Ebenezer to the Cratchit household, now overwhelmed with grief without Tiny Tim.  Bridget Puttlitz in her second TBP performance (Ignorance) and Brooklyn Bricker in her first-ever stage performance (Want) portray supernatural phantoms which terrorize Mr. Scrooge; he ultimately realizes he must – and can! – change.
Director/TBP Vice-President Rachel Cruz credits her talented cast and crew with bringing this treasured holiday story to life, and in her “Director’s Notes” tells us that Christmas is her favorite time of the year. The voices of the players – both children and adults -  carried well in the hall. The acting skills of the poised and confidant youth actors were equal to the high standards of the more experienced thespians, creating a seamless production. The inclusion of carolers performing traditional songs to recorded accompaniment was a highlight of the show and added just the right touch for setting the mood to usher in this holiday season, as evidenced by the capacity audience’s delighted response to the opening weekend’s matinee.

Several members of the versatile cast are featured in multiple roles. The ensemble includes: Quincy Baker, Riley Nikolaus, Charlie Puttlitz, Tamaya Mendoza, EJ Roach, Sidney Baker, Julia Mozingo, Summer Dove, Taylor Baker, Elizabeth Cullens, Simons Acquah, Angela Sunstone, Emma Irvine, Keilah Choplin, Elizabeth Gable, Ryan Dickerson Burke, Henry Acquah, Bridget Puttlitz, Brooklyn Bricker, Taylor Baker, Melly Byram, Lily Kennedy, Hayden Baker, James Atwell, Hayden Reeves, James Atwell, Landen Reeves, Carsyn Baker, Callie Peterson, Ryan Dickson-Burke, Michael McKinstry, Duncan Mansperger, Kirari Allred, Amy Rose, Ashley Beaudin, Layla Snow. The carolers are: Atticus Spencer, Elaina Gable, Charlie Plater, Victoria Spencer, and Isabelle Adrianna Montes.

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