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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

November 18, 2011

A Note From the Composer of A Christmas Carol

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 2:46 pm


Luke Shaw as Tiny Tim and Nat Jones as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Way before jack-o-lanterns and Fourth of July fireworks, I was celebrating Christmas.  In June, I began work on a new score for this year’s A Christmas Carol.  While I had music directed and performed in A Christmas Carol over the last two years, musically, I wanted to do something different this year.  I suggested that, instead of relying solely on traditional carols, we create totally new and original production numbers for this year’s rendition of Dickens’s classic.  Julian Wiles, who wrote this adaptation, embraced this idea.  I was honored to be asked to compose original music (and a bit terrified as well), so I went straight to work.  I ran to the library to do extensive research, which ranged from rereading Dickens’s original classic to watching the original Muppets Christmas Carol.  (Who doesn’t love Statler and Waldorf as the two singing Marleys?!)

This year, we have sought to bring new life to this piece by going back to the three elements that make A Christmas Carol resonate with audiences of all ages:  the great characters, a moving story, and heart.  As I wrote these new songs, I wanted to focus on what the folks around Scrooge where thinking and saying about him,  which quickly became great fun.  Adding the comments of townspeople and Scrooge’s servants began to broaden and enhance this well-known story.  Working with Cara Dolan, our choreographer, and Marybeth Clark, the show’s director, we worked to make sure each musical production number told its own story—almost like little musical plays within the play.  Of course, along the way, there was a lot of tweaking—a new lyric here, more fiddle there, and place to add more dancing, but all of these new musical numbers have come together with the sole purpose of making this A Christmas Carol fresh and new.  Adding a vibrant cast of 33, a live orchestra, some new scenery: a brand new version of A Christmas Carol was born!

This season’s audiences will be the first to hear this music.  They will be the first audience to see this version of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey, often as seen through the eyes of those around him.  Perhaps they will have a new favorite character this time around.  Perhaps they’ll have a new holiday song stuck in their heads.  We hope they enjoy all of the new surprises and revel in their favorite classic moments.

Happy Holidays!
Amanda Wansa
Composer and Music Director for A Christmas Carol



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