You've probably seen, read and heard a lot of different versions of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" over the years. But you may have never seen one quite like this.
On Saturday and Sunday, Pops Orchestra of Bradenton and Sarasota will perform "A Christmas Carol -- The Concert" at the Neel Performing Arts Center at State College of Florida in Bradenton.
Sunday's show is sold out, but tickets remain for Saturday.
It's the classic story, told mostly in Dickens' words, with a 60-piece orchestra on stage and performers singing original songs.
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"I don't even know what category to put it in," said Robyn Bell, the conductor of the Pops. "It's not a musical, but it's a musical."
The adaptation of the Dickens classic uses costumed actor-singers who perform with scores in front of them. There's some acting involved, with some stage movement and spoken words as well as songs. There are props but no sets, and the 60-piece Pops Orchestra is on stage with the vocalists. The adaptation comes from composer Bob Christianson and book writer/lyricist Alisa Hauser. It premiered last Christmas season on PBS. The score mixes classical music, jazz, gospel and Broadway-style tunes.The cast includes professionals -- Sarasota's Randolph Locke, who takes the role of Scrooge, has had an international career as an opera singer -- plus students in the theater ensemble class at SCF.
Details: Dec. 12-13, Neel Performing Arts Center at State College of Florida, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton. Show times: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $30. Information: 941-926-7677 or thepopsorchestra.org for Saturday; 941-752-5252, scf.edu for Sunday.
-- Marty Clear