The Heights Players, the oldest community theater in Brooklyn, celebrating its 59th season, is bringing a very unique and collaborative twist to Charles Dickens’ holiday classic “A Christmas Carol.”
The production, directed by Kristen Keim, is based on the Crispin Whittell adaption of the story, which premiered in 2010 at the famous Guthrie Theater in Minnesota.
When deciding how to portray the bitter character that is Ebenezer Scrooge, Keim did her research and decided that the Whittell version was the best fit for The Heights Players, which turns out an impressive nine productions a year.
“When I was given the spot, I was going to do a different version of it, but after some research, I found (the Whittell) version and I ended up loving it,” said Kiem, who enjoyed the musical aspect of the interpretation due to her background in dancing. “It’s the same as the traditional ‘Christmas Carol,’ but there’s a lot of partying, dancing and carolers on stage. It’s something I love. It’s not quite a musical but not a straight play. It’s somewhere in between.”
In addition, Keim was drawn to this version due to Scrooge’s expanded backstory. “You get to watch him when he’s younger falling in love with a woman, then lose the man he once was when he loses the love of his life and care about nothing but money.”
Keim gave credit to the show’s lead, Ray Wagner. “You get to see evil Scrooge, but you also learn to love him as character which is key for me,” she said. “If that arc isn’t there, why the character is on stage doesn’t matter. “
Audiences can also expect actors to play multiple parts. “In the cast, I’ve got 28 people and only a couple of them are only playing one role,” Keim said. “It’s an ensemble show. Some actors are playing five different parts. Some leads are doing double duty. Everyone in the show is featured. It’s more of an ensemble piece than the normal ‘Christmas Carol’ than I’ve seen.”
Performances take place December 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m., and December 14 and 21 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $18 for seniors and children under 18. Tickets can be ordered by emailing HPreservations@gmail.com or by phone at 718-237-2752. The Heights Players perform at 26 Willow Place in Brooklyn Heights.
After months of rehearsals, Keim is excited for attendees to see the finished production.
“The theater is gorgeous,” she enthused. “The audience is right there with you. I’m excited to finally have an audience see it. The actors have worked so hard and they’ve come to together and become a family. It’s great to see and I’m looking forward to see them bow at the end.”