A Christmas Carol is This Year’s Great Holiday Treat

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Dec. 10 – 19
Studio Tenn presents:
A Christmas Carol (Ages 6 and older)
Shamblin Theater at Lipscomb University
3901 Granny White Pike, Nashville
Show times: Fri 7 p.m., Sat 2 and 7 p.m., Sun 2 p.m.
Tickets: $35

The great Charles Dickens is certainly smiling in heaven if he caught of glimpse of Studio Tenn’s brilliant staging of his signature work, A Christmas Carol.

A Christmas Carol marks Studio Tenn’s third phenomenal production, once again proving the company’s reputation for delivering top-notch, flawless theater.

Artistic Directer Matt Logan’s impeccable talent for bringing a story to life on stage is immense.  What a wonderful treasure Logan is to Nashville’s professional theater community!  His unparalleled direction brings out the best in his cast and it greatly honors the story being told in the spotlight with much aplomb.

Most of the cast play several roles, eight of whom serve as narrators, and everything in Paula Y. Flautt’s adaptation is directly from Dickens’ book.

Superb casting is evident in this show.  Everyone on stage hits the target, from the children — including Charlie Webb as Tiny Tim — to the story’s main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, deftly portrayed by local stage veteran Chip Arnold.  I’ve enjoyed seeing Mr. Arnold in several productions, and Scrooge is one of his finest performances.  He perfectly captures the spectrum of emotion in his character, from the “Bah! Humbug!” stature of a hard-hearted, crotchity old man to the joyful child-like exuberance of the ultimate embrace of the Christmas spirit.

Matthew Carlton plays four roles in the show, including the Ghost of Christmas Present, but most notable, Jacob Marley.  His delivery of Marley is powerful and appropriately chilling.  Carlton nails it in the way he emotes his character’s plagued and haunted existence. His performance as Marley is no doubt his personal best.

Ross Brooks, Shelean Newman and Jonathan Blakely play multiple roles, including Bob Cratchit, Mrs. Cratchit and Young Ebenezer, respectively, and each of them bring a lot of life to the stage.  A particular nod to MaryKathryn Kopp is in order for her role as the Ghost of Christmas Past (she also plays Martha and is one of the narrators).

The other thing that I really appreciate about Mr. Logan is his approach to set design.  It’s simple, yet appropriate and elegant.  It fits.  It doesn’t distract the audience away from the actors playing out the story.  David Hardy’s lighting design, coupled with fog effects, adds much to the drama.  So does the musical underscoring, thanks to Nathan Burbank.  Most of it is Mozart inspired, and the inclusion of music in this show is pure testament to the power of music to draw one in and invoke an emotional connection that enhances the spoken word on stage.

Studio Tenn’s A Christmas Carol is by far the best gift you can treat your family to this season.  So, don’t be a Scrooge… Treat yourself and your loved ones with the best holiday theater experience that exists in Nashville this year!

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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