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The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

25 years of Christmas spirits

For as long as any of us can remember, the story of a bitter old man named Ebenezer Scrooge has been a staple of the Christmas season. It has become a tradition for generations of families to sit down together to watch one of the many film adaptations, and the story has also become a long-standing tradition for the Forest Roberts Theatre (FRT) stage.

This weekend will mark FRT’s 25th year performing the musical “Ebenezer Scrooge!” based on Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel “A Christmas Carol.” Although the basic story always remains the same, Public Radio 90 producer Stan Wright said there’s something different about the musical each year.

“This story and its message are so universal, you can dress it up in many ways while still getting the point across,” he said. “Songs are added or changed, dialogue is altered here and there and costumes and makeup vary from year to year to accommodate different casts. The end result is top-notch.”

Wright was cast as Scrooge himself this year after portraying Jacob Marley last year and Mr. Fezziweg the year before. Although he was actually vying for the part of the Ghost of Christmas Present, Wright accepted the role and said growing up with the story helped him decide how he should portray the crotchety banker.

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“I have always enjoyed the story because I really like reading the work of Charles Dickens and grew up seeing the many incarnations of ‘A Christmas Carol’ in films and television specials,” he said. “[Scrooge] has been portrayed in so many variations but has always been someone who, through such bitter experiences throughout his life, became a hard-hearted old man. But he is finally able to redeem himself in the end and ultimately remembers what the true meaning of Christmas is.”

Wright added that although he enjoys being a familiar voice on the radio, the gratification he gets from being on stage is what keeps him acting at FRT.

“Acting is so immediate and so is the gratification that comes from doing well on stage. In radio, I will get the occasional listener comments right after I say something during my Humoresque program and it reminds me that there are people out there hearing my work, but when I perform on stage the response is spontaneous.”

Senior secondary education and English major Megan Perry also has some “Scrooge” experience in her repertoire, having worked on the wardrobe crew last year and serving as costume designer this year.

“I love costuming and so I decided that since this is my last chance to work on a show here, I’d jump in and do it,” she said.

With the modest budget she was given, Perry said she was able to rebuild a few pieces of scenery that were a little worn after more than two decades of use.

“It is truly an honor for me to be given this opportunity and trust that they placed in me to make this show as beautiful as possible for the 25th anniversary,” she said.

Perry added that she also loves to act on stage as well as work behind the scenes.

“I honestly just love working in the theatre regardless of what side I’m on; they are equal parts to a great thing,” she said. “One con is that I get to make all these cool things, but I don’t get to wear any of them.”

Although the musical has many returning talents, new cast members like undeclared freshman Susan Boyle will experience the tradition for the first time.

“I am excited to be part of a Marquette tradition to celebrate Christmas. The rehearsal has been very enjoyable and I am expecting that the performances will be the same,” Boyle said.

Boyle will be the Ghost of Christmas Past, who appears to Scrooge to remind him of his younger years.

“Past is a very delicate and graceful character; her costume is very white and angelic,” she said.

She added that although this year’s interpretation of the story won’t deviate much from the traditional story, there will still be new features for theatregoers to look forward to.

“New songs have been added and we have a great cast this year. I believe that it is going to be very popular with audiences because it’s so full of the Christmas spirit,” she said.

Wright said those who attend “Scrooge” every year will be impressed with the anniversary performance.

“This is, by far, the best overall cast of singers I have ever heard. The acting is certainly elevated as well,” he said. “I can easily say that everyone will be able to rank this year’s production as one of the best ever.”

“Ebenezer Scrooge!” will run Thursday, Dec. 6 through Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. There will also be 1 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

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