'A Christmas Carol' comes to Van Wezel

A popular national tour with a traditional feel at Van Wezel

December 19, 2013 

There's no shortage of adaptations of "A Christmas Carol." Over the years, everyone from Bugs Bunny and Fred Flintstone to George C. Scott and Sir Ralph Richardson has appeared in some kind of take on the Dickens novella.

Some stage versions are pretty awful, but one of the most reliable is the production that Nebraska Theatre Caravan has been touring around the country every year since 1978.

It will be at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Dec. 22.

This production keeps the story and text faithful to the Dickens text, although it moved the action from 1843 to 1886, when secular Christmas customs were more ingrained in English society.

It's full of music and dance, but it's not a true musical, because the songs aren't part of the plot. They're mostly traditional Christmas carols and their contribution to the show is more to its mood than its narrative.

The production has become so popular that the Omaha-based Nebraska Theatre Caravan actually has two different tours moving around the country at the same time every year, each with 24 performers and gorgeous period sets. Sarasota audiences will see one of the last shows of the "green" tour, which started on Nov. 22 in Arkansas. After the Van Wezel show, it moves to Clearwater for one last show the following evening.

Details: 7 p.m. Dec. 22, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $35-$55. Information: 941-953-3368, www.vanwezel.org.

-- Marty Clear

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