This holiday season, Open Stage of Harrisburg is bringing back two seasonal favorites: “A Christmas Carol” and “The Santaland Diaries.”
But, this season, each show features a new twist. The script for “A Christmas Carol” has been newly adapted by Rachel Landon, and Jeff Luttermoser steps into the elfin shoes of Crumpet in “The Santaland Diaries.”
Though the script for “A Christmas Carol” is new, the “wicked old Scrooge” returns. Nick Hughes will once again assume the role. For the 18th time, Hughes will scowl and humbug his way across the stage. Several other cast members from last year’s production are returning, and some new faces will also join the cast.
“This season’s production is going to include all the fun and spectacle of last year’s show, plus a few extra surprises,” said Director Stuart Landon. “Audiences loved our reboot of this Harrisburg tradition—we sold out most performances last year—and they are sure to catch the spirit again with these new twists!”
In adapting the story, Rachel Landon was careful to stay true to Dickens.
“Charles Dickens created the perfect Christmas story, and his beautiful, hilarious and heart-wrenching words still hold true today,” said Landon, who will also be performing in the production. “To interpret his words is a real gift and as artists we celebrate the humor, the reverence of the season, and, of course, the ghost story.”
David Richwine is reprising his role as Bob Cratchit and is excited about continuing the holiday tradition of “A Christmas Carol.”
“There’s something about the message of being able to see your role in the world and being given a chance to change it that never gets old,” Richwine said. “Having experienced Open Stage’s creative treatment of the story and the characters and the setting, I’ve only come to love the story more.”
Another tradition at Open Stage is “The Santaland Diaries,” the one-man show based on David Sedaris’ illustrious career as a Macy’s elf. Previously featuring Stuart Landon, this year Jeff Luttermoser is taking over the role of Crumpet.
While the script and set remain the same, Luttermoser is excited about bringing his own spin on Crumpet to the stage.
“We are working on a fresh ‘Santaland’ that still maintains the spirit of the original,” Luttermoser said. “I want it to be the show people know and love but with a different flavor.”
Director Karen Ruch agrees.
“There are certain elements, favorite gags, or fun things that people expect,” she said. “We want to maintain those while letting Jeff be his own Crumpet.”
Luttermoser has most enjoyed finding the unexpected moments of depth in the show. He shared that Sedaris makes many observations on Christmas, including the eternal struggle between the commercial holiday and a traditional one.
“It’s not just a Christmas show,” said Luttermoser. “It’s about how silly people get with their consumerism. We have to laugh at our flaws, and I think this show does a really good job of helping us do that.”
“The Santaland Diaries” runs Dec. 3 to 22.
“A Christmas Carol” runs Dec. 1 to 23 and also features Patty Cole, Rachel Barnhart, Dawn-Michelle Lewis, Karen Ruch, Beate Sutton, T.J. Cole, Drew Patti, Chris Gibson, Patrick Hughes, Riley McKean, Connor McKean, Sophie Reusswi and several students from the OSHKids Performance Company.
Tickets and more information for both shows are available at www.openstagehbg.com.
UPCOMING THEATER EVENTS
AT HARRISBURG’S PROFESSIONAL
AT GAMUT THEARE
The Popcorn Hat Players Present
“A Popcorn Hat Christmas Carol”
Nov. 29 to Dec. 16
Saturdays at 1 p.m.
Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. available by request for groups of 20 or more.
Tickets are $8 and can be purchased in advance online or by calling the box office.
TMI Improv Show
Doors and bar open at 6:30 p.m. and will remain open throughout the event.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online or at the door.
Popcorn Hat Players’ New Years Eve Party for Children and Countdown To Noon
Dec. 31, 11 a.m.
Early bird tickets Nov. 1 to 30, $10; Dec. 1 to 31 tickets, $12
Tickets can be purchased online.
AT OPEN STAGE OF HARRISBURG
“A Christmas Carol”
A dazzling new take on the classic Dickens tale
Dec. 1 to 23
“The Santaland Diaries”
David Sedaris’ irreverent one-man show
Dec. 3 to 22