ROSE VALLEY, PA — It’s a smash hit! Hedgerow Theatre Company continues to spread holiday cheer far and wide in Delaware County. The theatre offers a playful take on a yuletide classic and audiences can’t get enough. Hedgerow has SOLD OUT the run of Katie Leamen’s A Christmas Carol Comedy, a US Premiere. Audience responses have been overwhelming. According to Barbara Fitzgerald-Tuenre, a recent patron, “My family and I have enjoyed the traditional Christmas Carol play at the Hedgerow for a number of years, but this was a special treat! Not only was it hilarious, but it delivered the key messages of Dickens’ classic work.”
For generations, Hedgerow has produced an adaptation of A Christmas Carol on its historic stage. The beloved Delaware County holiday tradition continues with this fun and festive new adaptation of A Christmas Carol featuring two-actors playing Scrooge and everybody else. Theatre Philadelphia, effusive with its praise, celebrated A Christmas Carol Comedy as a Barrymore Recommended production as part of the Barrymore Annual Awards process.
Hedgerow patron and theatre school alum Edward Gretz noted, “There were nine of us altogether, four adults and five teenagers. Every single one of us enjoyed the play and had something nice to say about it later. Not often that teenagers and their parents totally agree on the entertainment value of a concert or movie or play.” Gretz continued, “So good to see Hedgerow evolving … expanding into new frontiers of content/material and how it is presented, while keeping high standards of production quality.”
Reviewer Ellen Dilks of Delco Culture Vultures shared, “I rarely, if ever, stand at the end of a performance—to me that is the highest honor one can pay a production… I stood for this one.” Dilks continues, ” It is the figgy pudding of theatrical wizardry. Hats off to Hedgerow for offering up such a delight.”
When performances began to sell out, Hedgerow decided to add a performance to the original run – those tickets were snatched up within 24 hours for another sold out performance. Regional favorites Benjamin Brown and Christopher Patrick Mullen have been playing these larger-than-life roles, respectively, in the care of Philadelphia director Pete Pryor who helms the production. For the final week of the scheduled run (Dec 20-23), DelCo native Mike Thurstlic makes his Hedgerow debut playing Scrooge. Thurstlic also performs as Scrooge for the student matinee performances alongside Sarah Mackus, who shape-shifts in the role of “everybody else” for these school shows. Hedgerow Fellow Sarah Stryker will play Scrooge during the limited performance extension Dec 27 & 28 at 7pm. Stryker appeared in the recent production of The Pillowman. For the performance extension the team is joined by EIlis Skamarakas as stage manager, also returning from The Pillowman.
Performed in partnership with the Toronto-based theatre collective, No Porpoise Productions, A Christmas Carol Comedy has added performances December 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $20-$35 and are available online www.hedgerowtheatre.org. All shows are performed at Hedgerow Theatre located at 64 Rose Valley Rd in Media, PA.
“To have my name listed among the many legendary playwrights that Hedgerow has premiered is an honor, and I am in awe that my silly script will have its American premiere by a company that has played such a significant role in American theatre history,” delights Leamen. “To hear Charles Dickens’ words spoken in a building as old as the original story, while bringing these iconic characters to life in a distinctly contemporary and comedic way feels like the precise magical mash-up that the Ghosts of Christmas’ Past, Present and Future would appreciate.”
A Christmas Carol Comedy is an all generations’ delight that bursts to life on Hedgerow’s intimate historic stage. According to Pryor, “I am most excited to explore this new comedic take on a beloved holiday classic and to honor A Christmas Carol’s tenets of love and good cheer at one of America’s oldest Theatres.”
“A Christmas Carol is a joyful, deeply rooted Hedgerow tradition” notes Hedgerow Executive Artistic Director Marcie Bramucci. “It feels especially meaningful, at this moment in time, to offer an experience of pure delight and entertainment, which this inventive new adaptation delivers in abundance! In the care of this exceptional team, it will be a true gift that is sure to make spirits bright.”
Hedgerow Fellow, Sarah Stryker, is the scenic designer for this holiday classic. Lily Fossner returns, having recently designed lights for The Pillowman. Sammy Hurley, back from The World According to Snoopy designed sound.
“Like Dickens, I believe the world can change if we choose joy, generosity, and goodwill,” said Leamen. ” We all deserve more laughs, kind words, and rubber chicken gags. I hope A Christmas Carol Comedy will work its magic to warm the hearts and revive the spirits of all who see it at Hedgerow Theatre, and that they in turn share the joy across Philadelphia and beyond this Christmas.”
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