Tonight’s review is a little different. I want to profile not a movie but my local theaters production of Christmas Carol. In Utah and Arizona there are 3 independently owned theaters under the Hale name- Hale Center Theater Orem and Hale Center Theater West Valley are close to me. They are special theaters with Broadway level productions at reasonable costs and they are both theater in the round. This is such a great way to see a play because wherever you sit you have a good view.
They have made it a tradition of putting on Christmas Carol every year and I alternate between Orem and West Valley because they are both fantastic. Here’s a little video clip explaining the tradition of Christmas Carol at Hale:
At Hale Orem the man playing Scrooge, Chris Brower, has been doing every performance for 20 years and naturally he has it down to an art. It is better than any of the film versions but is probably most like the George C. Scott with his Scrooge having a sarcastic twinkle.
The Bob Cratchit this year played by musical director Cam Cahoon was great with a terrific singing voice. They always get the cutest Tim for these performances too.
There are carolers that narrate throughout the show with Victorian carols like God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman, First Noel, What Child is This and Coventry Carol. They are excellent singers and the Coventry Carol before the grieving Cratchit’s are seen is particularly moving along with Bob Cratchit’s What Child is This to Tim’s grave
This version is adapted by Hale family member Cody Hale and it is a solid adaptation although the original songs (only 3 of them) I could do without. Something about original songs and Christmas Carol I’m not that into. That said, I’ve certainly heard worse songs this month!
The carols help to highlight the religious elements of the story, which I always appreciate and find most moving. In the end, it is the story of redemption, overcoming fear and isolation and the power of Atonement in our lives and communities. I never seem to tire of it even after 30 versions in a month.
As much as I love movies there is something special about live theater that I will always love. There’s a rawness to live performance that excites and thrills me whether it is a concert, play, or musical I just love it! I’m so grateful to live in Utah where Hale theaters are one of many quality ways to experience the arts at good prices and with family friendly values.
I would challenge all of you to seek out the arts in your area and support them as much as you can. It’s an important part of our community and makes our cities and towns nicer places to live. Hurray for the arts!!!
(And if you are in Utah there is still time to see the show at either Hale theater!)
This is some fan reaction to Hale Theater Arizona version but the feedback would be similar in Orem.