Calvary Church kicks off holiday season with ‘A Christmas Carol’

Philip Frerichs, second from left, portrays Ebeneezer Scrooge in Calvary Church of Dover’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” He is joined on stage by, from left, Terence Savagel, Cornelius Murphy and Cesar Herrida. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

DOVER — Calvary Church of Dover will bring the beloved Christmas tale of the grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge embracing the joy of the holiday season to the stage starting Wednesday.

This performance will be the Broadway version of “A Christmas Carol” — no small feat for a community organization. In total, the show involves approximately 100 people, ranging from set builders to costume designers to actors and singers.

About 40 participants in this show are new to the church’s productions. Auditions took place in August and rehearsals began in September while the costume crew has been working all year long, making many of the costumes from scratch.

From left, Rob Rebeck and Em Christianson as Bob and Mrs. Cratchit, Jude Wedel as Tiny Tim and Rory Copple as Martha Cratchit.

“Every year we see new people showing up to auditions or coming to get involved in other ways and many of them have been audience members and have seen our Easter or Christmas performances and became interested,” Mr. Goldberg said.

The familiar tale recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.

The major difference between the Broadway version and the traditional tale is the music, which is an element Calvary incorporates into almost all of their performances. All their shows are large-scale productions with elaborate sets, audio/visual, and performing under the direction of the church’s Creative Arts Ministry.

Members of the Creative Arts Ministry of Calvary Church rehearse for the Broadway version of the musical “A Christmas Carol,” under the direction of Larry Goldberg.

“Everyone involved is a volunteer,” said director Larry Goldberg. “We are all here because we love the entire process and I think because it’s a great experience working with a group of dedicated individuals and it’s also a way to give back to the community. It’s a free event for anyone to attend and each year, every show is completely full.”

With a full house for each show, about 7,000 people are able to view the Easter and Christmas productions.

“The holidays aren’t necessarily a happy or easy time of year,” Mr. Goldberg said. “Our shows are a way to bring God’s message to the community in an entertaining and positive way, and it’s something that people can come enjoy without having to worry how much it will cost.”

Meg Thompson portrays the Ghost of Christmas Past in “A Christmas Carol.”

“A Christmas Carol” takes the stage at Calvary Church at 1141 E. Lebanon Road in Dover on Wednesday, Thursday and Dec. 6 at 7 p.m., Dec. 7 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.

All shows are free and open to the public. Doors open one hour prior to show time and it’s recommended to show up early as all shows typically fill up.

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