Weekend Highlights

Published November 20, 2012
Going Places

A Parent’s Review: Scrooge the Musical at Seattle Musical Theatre

by Lynn Schnaiberg
seattle child article photo
seattle child article photo
Photos: Jenni El Fattal/Seattle Musical Theatre.

It seems only right to revisit A Christmas Carol on this 200th birthday year of author Charles Dickens. And I’d like to think the author would approve of the singing, dancing Ebenezer Scrooge in Seattle Musical Theatre’s production of his classic tale.

All I know is my 10-year-old daughter and I loved watching Scrooge’s transformation from Mr. Bah Humbug to Mr. Generosity. This was our first visit to Seattle Musical Theatre, a converted movie theater in the former Sand Point Naval Base in a space that now serves as the Magnuson Community Center. The digs are far from posh (no fancy chandeliers here), but they are comfortable.

Costuming in the show is gorgeous. And the black and white set, apparently inspired by etchings from one of the story’s original publications, is inventive, with some building facades that can unfold into interiors like a giant pop-up storybook. We especially liked the freaky-faced doorknob on Scrooge’s front door (which seems to talk later in the show as the ghost of Jacob Marley comes calling).

The cast includes five children – it’s always fun for kids to watch other kids perform. Seattle Musical Theatre this year held its first-ever
season auditions for youth with the goal of including more kids as regular company members.

The show has many comic moments. My fourth-grade daughter laughed at loud at the number “I Hate People!” when Scrooge croons, “I hate women. Picked at random, I can’t stand ‘em.” The musical numbers are catchy and generally easy to understand. Lots of kids in the audience tittered as the Punch & Judy puppeteer in the square, who owes Scrooge money, tries to soften up the old banker by singing in falsetto and rubbing his puppet up and down the old man’s arm (to no avail). Likewise when Scrooge hugs his pillow up in his bedroom and insists he’s not afraid of the nocturnal spirits who visit him.

We liked watching the dancing and parties reflecting Dickens’ times, as in the parlor game “The Minister’s Cat” played at a party hosted by Scrooge’s nephew.

With a running time of two hours and 15 minutes, this isn’t a show for the very young. My daughter was a little spooked by the chain-dragging ghost Jacob Marley, who bellows on the scene accompanied by loud freaky music. The ghost of Christmas Future is a larger-than-life Grim Reaper shrouded in black who shows a scene of great merriment as the townsfolk literally dance on Scrooge’s coffin, delighted to be freed from debt to the miserly banker. And, of course, there’s the grave of poor Tiny Tim.

But, as we know, all ends well and Scrooge redeems himself by forgiving his debts, renewing family ties and pledging to help Tiny Tim and his family. Overall, the show is uplifting and light-hearted.

There’s one 15-minute intermission with $1 snacks and drinks (candy, juice, soda and cookies on offer). Coffee and hot cocoa are also
available. Wine and beer, including the thematically appropriate Sam Adams’ White Christmas, are $5. The signature “Bah Humbug” cider mixes apple cider and cinnamon whiskey liqueur. You can pre-order drinks to avoid intermission lines.

One tip: If your kids need to get some wiggles out at intermission, the upstairs lobby is far less crowded than the main floor.

Will call, box office and lobby open one hour before each show; seating starts half an hour prior to each performance. Heads-up: If you show up late, you may have to wait to be seated and the house manager may assign you to seats other than those on your tickets to minimize disruption.

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If You Go...

Where: Seattle Musical Theatre at Magnuson Park, 7120 62nd Ave NE, Seattle. Note: The theater is partof the Magnuson Community Center, not a stand-alone theater building, so it’s easy to miss. There is easy street parking by the theater.

When: Through Dec. 9. Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays 2 p.m. One Thursday performance,Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Adults $40, children (everyone younger than 22) $35. At press time, $20 tickets were available for several performance dates at www.goldstar.com.

Contact: 206-363-2809; www.seattlemusicaltheatre.org. Box office opens one hour before each show.