'A Christmas Carol' coming to the Chester Academy

Will Ebenezer change his ways? Young actors will bring this Dickens classic to life Nov. 16-17

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  • The cast of "The Christmas Carol" at the Chester Academy: Standing at left: Kania Walker, Jonathan Walters-Suber, Erin Holton; standing behind chairs: Skylar Paul, Mia Rosario, Tayla Bristol, Gabi Fiore, and Nicholas Milyko (far right); seated in chairs: Torl L. Van Dunk, Lily Sites, Teagen Brideweser, Sienna Walker, Chris Flynn, and Zuria Freeman. The director is Lenna Darbin Andrews (not pictured). (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

If you go

What: "A Christmas Carol"
Where: Chester Academy Auditorium, 64 Hambletonian Avenue, Chester
When: 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, and Saturday, Nov. 17
How much: Adults: $8; Students and Seniors: $5. Tickets will be available at the door.
For information and tickets: Call 845-469-2231 ext. 3329

By Ginny Privitar

— It’s a story with many themes: redemption and forgiveness, the power of love and the importance of family.

The young actors at the Chester Academy actors are bringing Charles Dickens' s most famous ghost story to the stage Nov. 16 and 17, at the beginning of the holiday season. "A Christmas Carol" tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits, Scrooge is transformed.

The story also presents a picture of the poor in Victorian England.

Gabriella ("Gabi") Fiore, a senior, plays two parts: Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, and Mr. Fezziwig, Scrooge’s first employer, who treats him like a son.

“Fred was the son of Scrooge’s sister, who died after his birth," Gabi said. "And he’s been trying to gain Scrooge’s affection pretty much all of his life. Scrooge learns to love him very much. Mr. Fezziwig — he’s a joyous fellow. He’s always partying."

She said you’ll see him at a big party he throws on Christmas Eve for his employees and his friends.

"I love both characters, but I think I love Fred more," Gabi said. "There’s a very big character development that Fred has throughout his scenes. He does get angry, but he’s always trying to keep a positive attitude."

Kania Walker is a junior who plays young Scrooge and the Spirit of Christmas Present.

“It’s kind of challenging because I have to go from being a very glum man who’s very irritable and doesn’t really like people that much to being this super flamboyant, jolly character who loves everything about Christmas,” said Kania.

Nicholas Milyko said he likes his role as the Narrator.

“I have a lot of lines,” Nicholas said. “I like how it’s spiritual — all the spirits are coming to visit this one person and afterwards, he gets better as a person.”

Jonathan Walters-Suber, who plays Scrooge, said his role "kind of gives you a new perspective on how people can be. And it’s very different from me, so I enjoy being Scrooge."

He said the Chester Academy production "might be a little different, but the message is still great.”

Erin Moran Holton plays Christmas Past.

“Past is there to show you your mistakes and hope you learn from them and playing this character gives you and in-depth perspective on Scrooge’s life,” Erin said. “This character is so pivotal to the story because it makes Scrooge realize ‘Maybe I’m being a bad kind of person.’ It shows a deeper side to Scrooge that you haven’t seen before.”

Chris Flynn says playing Bob Cratchit "is pretty fun."

“My son, Tiny Tim, is being played by a third grader," said Chris. "Bob Cratchit is just a very humble man. He’s very thankful for everything.”

Bill Strack, who teaches social studies at the high school, plays Marley’s Ghost and the Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come, also known as Future. Mr. Strack wryly noted that his previous acting credits include playing Uncle Max in "The Sound of Music" in third grade.

“This is an opportunity to connect with the students on a different level than the classroom and just have some fun,” he said.

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