My blog at The Livingston Post online website and The Fowlerville News Online website.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Ebenezer': Williamston Theatre’s Christmas journey of the heart
playwright Joseph Zettelmaier needed only one word for his premier
script about Ebenezer Scrooge – the rest of the Dickens tale A Christmas Carol – simply, Ebenezer.
WOW: The one word that popped to mind after the first preview show at Williamston Theatre, in Williamston, MI.
Now playing through Dec. 23, Zettlemaier’s Ebenezer in
a one-word phenomenon. A phenomenal play, destined to become a
Christmas classic. That was the consensus of the audience, those folks
who always come to test the waters of the latest WT play, and enjoy the
after-show discussion with playwright and director.
They left the theatre that night floating in a bubble of WOW.
Here’s my take on it. WOW: Wisdom, Originality, Wonder. That’s how I’d fill this orb of Ebenezer WOW. Wisdom. I
loved the wisdom of Ebenezer, played by veteran actor Arthur J. Beer. I
didn’t know what to expect from this play, only what I’d read in the WT
description: It’s a cold Christmas Eve in London, and
Ebenezer Scrooge sits in a hospital room. Fifteen years have passed
since his miraculous transformation by the Ghosts of Christmas. Now
renowned for his generosity and selflessness, his spirit still yearns to
bring cheer to the world, but his flesh is weak. Such a little thing
isn’t likely to stop the old man, though, for he has a plan up his
sleeve that he hasn’t shared with his two troubled companions – Miss
Poole [played by Alysia Kolascz], and Tim Cratchit [played by Joseph
Seibert], recently returned from war in America. Over the course of the
evening, these two lost souls bear witness to events they do not fully
understand as the spirit of Christmas descends on Ebenezer once again.
The wisdom of the life and times of Ebenezer Scrooge, deftly woven throughout, rings true for our 21st Century times, as well, we discover. In that sense, Zettelmaier’s work will surely become a favorite Christmas classic. Originality. I’ve
enjoyed all of Zettelmaier’s plays at WT, but was amazed at the
delightfully fresh and engaging originality of the story that he spins
out, with these three great actors in the intimate space of the
hospital room on stage.
If you wanted to create a sequel for the
Ebenezer Scrooge classic, what would you write? I can’t imagine any more
pleasing way than what Zettelmaier has written, in combo with superb
direction by Willamston Theatre Executive Director John Lepard, and
perfect casting. Wonder. This is where the wonder comes in. Ebenezer is
a magical sequel to the Scrooge story, portrayed by wonderful actors in
a magical setting…complete with a feel-good ending that brings
Scrooge’s journey full circle and leaves its magical imprint on your
The light-heartedness goes with you, as you step out the WT door, feeling optimistic about humanity. The spirit of Christmas -- Ebenezer reminds you -- is a spirit of wonder you can bring to life every day.
I CAN imagine that Joseph Zettelmaier’s Ebenezer, after its World Premiere at Williamston Theatre, will WOW audiences for many Christmases to come. Showtimes:
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; Saturdays at 3pm; Sundays at 2pm
Thanksgiving weekend: Friday, Nov. 23 @3pm and 8pm; Saturday, Nov. 24 @3pm & 8pm; Sunday, Nov. 25 @2pm
For ticket prices, and to order online: Williamston Theatre website Article Links about Williamston Theatre and Ebenezer:
John Lepard reprises his own Christmas classic: "This Wonderful Life"
--his award-winning one-man show with all the beloved characters from
the mythical Bedford Falls, after Frank Capra's film, "It's a Wonderful
Life." Lepard wowed audiences in 2009 with his endearing performance as
George Bailey and all the townsfolk. Due to popular demand, he brought
"This Wonderful Life" back to Williamston, last season, receiving more
acclaim. Theatre goers may once again enjoy
this fantastic show for eight performances, Dec. 21-31 at the Tipping
Point Theatre in Northville, MI. Click on Encore Michigan announcement for showtimes and prices Encore Michigan: Everyone
will appreciate the inspired work of Lepard, whose masterful
performance gives life to a whole town full of people and brings a smile
to your face along the way.
My blog about "This Wonderful Life" from last Christmas: