The cast of A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Photo by Cory Weaver)

Kansas City Repertory Theatre continues its 2017/18 season with a 37-year holiday tradition, Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL, running November 17 through December 24 at Spencer Theatre on the UMKC campus.

This year’s production features a world premiere adaptation by Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director, Eric Rosen, who is celebrating his 10th season at the artistic helm of KCRep.

Rosen has taken the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his three ghostly visitors closer to the original text of Charles Dickens’ book, but with all the joy and exuberance audiences have come to love. Well-known and beloved Kansas City actors Mark Robbins and Gary Neal Johnson return as Dickens and Scrooge respectively, along with the rest of the talented cast, helping KCRep celebrate the 37th retelling of this production.

“After 37 years it’s both daunting and thrilling to look at a much-beloved production through a new lens.” explains Rosen. “This is a chance to re-examine, reimagine and remake a piece of art, and I’m finding Dickens’ original text much funnier and joyful than I remember. I’m fairly certain that this discovery will also be shared by our audiences.”

Chioma Anyanwu, Vanessa Severo and Brianna Woods in A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Photo by Cory Weaver)

A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a novella by Charles Dickens about Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old businessman, who is well-known for his ‘bah-humbug’ ways, especially around the Christmas holiday season.

On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by a series of ghosts, starting with his old business partner, Jacob Marley. The three spirits which follow, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come, show Scrooge how his mean behavior has affected those around him. At the end of the story, he is relieved to discover that there is still time for him to change, and we see him transformed into a more generous and kind-hearted soul.

Gary Neal Johnson and Rusty Sneary in A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Photo by Cory Weaver)

The almost entirely Kansas City-based cast for A CHRISTMAS CAROL features the addition of a choir to bolster the holiday feeling and help move the story along.

Nothing says holiday tradition quite like A CHRISTMAS CAROL, an inimitable Dickens tale of hope and redemption. KCRep’s 2017 production features more joyous music and dancing, breath-taking costumes and a soaring set that has become the trademark of KCRep productions. Audiences will be transported back to the streets of Victorian London with this new adaptation penned by Eric Rosen.

Major sponsors for the KCRep production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL are US Bank and H & R Block, KCRep’s Education Fund Matching Challenge Donor.

Kansas City Repertory Theatre continues its 2017/18 season with the 2015 Tony Award-Winning play THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at Spencer Theatre on the UMKC campus. The play, adapted by Simon Stephens, is based on the bestselling novel by Mark Haddon. CURIOUS INCIDENT will be directed by Marissa Wolf, KCRep’s Director of New Works and Artistic Associate.

Called “one of the most fully immersive shows ever to wallop Broadway” by The New York Times, CURIOUS INCIDENT follows the story of Christopher, an exceptionally intelligent teenaged boy who is ill-equipped to deal with the pressures of everyday life. After he falls under suspicion for killing a neighbor’s dog, Christopher sets out on a mission to discover the real culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever.

The Broadway production of CURIOUS INCIDENT debuted at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on October 5, 2014. It won the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, 2015 Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding New Broadway Play, the 2015 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play, and the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play.

“I’m overjoyed to bring this beautiful, buoyant play to life with our talented team,” says director Marissa Wolf. “Audiences will experience CURIOUS INCIDENT through Christopher’s lens as he navigates the complexities of growing up.  I especially love that within this funny and moving play, Christopher’s Autism is also his super-power, as he offers raw, brilliant insights into the world.”

According to the national organization, Autism Speaks, Autism, or Autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. There is not one Autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences. The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with Autism.

At KCRep, the role of 15-year-old Christopher Boone will be played by New York-based actor Jamie Sanders. Jamie himself has Tourette’s Syndrome, a type of tic disorder.  An accomplished young actor (who also happens to be the son of professional actors Jay O. Sanders and Maryann Plunkett), Jamie has built an international following through his advocacy for Tourette’s and Autism awareness.

In addition to Sanders, the cast for CURIOUS INCIDENT is made up entirely of Kansas City-based actors.  They are (in alphabetical order):  Chioma Anyanwu, Rufus Burns, Jason Chanos, Walter Coppage, Bree Elrod, Peggy Friesen, Nicole Marie Green, Andy Perkins, and Stephanie Rae Roberts.

The KCRep production of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME is sponsored by the Graves Family Foundation.


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