Holiday tradition shares holiday spirit

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Some Christmas traditions take people and wrap them up in the holiday spirit until they’re practically bursting with the joy of the season.

Telling the story in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is one of those traditions, and the Arvada Center is bringing Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey to Christmas past, present and future to vibrant life in Alan Menken, Lynn Ahrens, and Mike Ockrent’s musical.

The show runs Nov. 22 through Dec. 22 at the Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. on Wednesday and at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“This is an iconic story that I myself try to make part of my Christmas every year,” said Richard White, who plays Scrooge. “It has this power to give almost everyone over to the holiday spirit.”

The musical follows the story that so many are familiar with — Scrooge, a gruff and bitter businessman, is visited by spirits on Christmas Eve, in attempt to show the old man the power of the holiday and love in his life.

“I get the chance to find the two sides of Scrooge in myself, and then bring it out,” White said. “The big goal is to grab the audience along with me and carry them along on this journey.”

Stephen Cerf, an Arvada resident in his first performance at the Arvada Center, plays Fred, Scrooge’s nephew and last real family the man has.

“Fred loves Christmas, and does his best to extend that love to his uncle,” he said. “The relationships in this show are great, and we get a chance to delve into Scrooge’s past, which explains a little of why he is like he is.”

The Arvada Center did a production of “Christmas Carol” in 2010, and Rob Costigan, who plays several characters in this production, was in the 2010 show as well.

“I love this show, and am so glad to be back again,” he said. “Gavin (Mayer, the director) has worked to bring a new soul into it, and there is a different energy and life to this production.”

For Mayer, the challenge in putting together the show was finding a way to keep the iconic moments from the story that so many people are familiar with, while adding some new twists and turns along the way.

The same set from 2010 is being used in this production, but Mayer is giving everything else a fresh feeling.

“I think the show is so reflective of where we are today, with the gap between the ‘haves and have-nots’ that I think this show has never been more relevant,” he said. “I think the themes in the story are why it has endured for so long.”

White, Cerf, Costigan and Mayer all said that choreographer Kitty Skillman has done a fantastic job with some intricate dance numbers, and the cast has been getting along famously.

“This is the kind of energy you want doing a holiday show, and the kind of people you want to spend the holiday with,” Costigan said. “It really does feel like a family.”

Cerf said the casts at the Arvada Center, and the calibre of shows they produce, is always top notch, and that “A Christmas Carol” is no exception.

For White, and ultimately Scrooge, it’s the magic of the season that carries the show away.

“This is a journey everyone can relate to,” he said. “Every now and then we have to try and rediscover the magic, and there is a lot of magic in this story and production.”