The Nutcracker Christmas Carol, A Holiday Musical By Chattanooga State's Repertory Theatre

Friday, December 13, 2013 - by Richard Burke

(The performances for this weekend were cancelled due to illness.)

The Nutcracker Christmas Carol, A Holiday Musical, presented by Chattanooga State's Repertory Theatre, was a truly enjoyable and delightful experience.

The musical is based upon a book and lyrics written by Rex Knowles with the music by Rex, Sherry Landrum, and Allan Ledford.  The cast is comprised of members of Chattanooga State's faculty, staff, students and graduates of the school's Professional Actors training Program, and many other well know local performers.

The premise of the musical is that Charles Dickens is the originator of every expression, song, and theme that is the basis of every Christmas song, movie or story.   This idea is reinforced by the discovery of an "unpublished manuscript" written by Charles Dickens which is reported to contain every pun, cliche, character description, and underlying theme for every Christmas story since 1842. The musical "authenticates" the manuscript and give Dickens the credit he deserves.

The musical start with Charles Dickens ( Jeffery Benson Parker) sitting at his desk and and lamenting about what to write and it is at this point he tells his housekeeper Margaret ( Brenda Schwab - who also designed the costumes) that "it was the best of times , it was the worst of times".  That got my attention, however when Dickens began singing, I immediately sat up because I was blown away with the quality of his voice and singing.  I didn't know what the rests the cast would be like, but I knew we were in for a treat!

The main characters in the musical are obviously Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Bob Cratchit (John Thomas Cecil ), however the entire cast and the production is outstanding and provide a totally enjoyable and entertaining performance that includes original songs and the appropriate insertion of every memorable line from Dickens novels to the latest Christmas movie.  The music, set and costumes are great but trying to "catch" those puns and cliches are great fun too.

This is a total local production but do not confuse It as an "amateur " performance because it is a high quality, enjoyable performance that will leave you amused, in the Christmas Spirit and amazed at the tremendous acting talent that we have in Chattanooga at Chattanooga State and willing to come work with the PATP.

I cannot list all of the cast and production crew but everyone brings deserves credit for the quality of this production.  The direction by Sherry Landrum, choreography by Lindsay Frussell, set design by Lino Toyos, the writing, lyrics, and composing  by Knowles, Landrum, and Ledford, all deserve a standing ovation!


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