Sean Murray stars as Ebenezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol." Karli Cadel Photography
I’d pretty much made up my mind that I was going to skip all the holiday-related shows going on at San Diego theaters this season. But because I’m a sucker for Dickens and for Old Town at the yuletide I made it once again to Cygnet Theatre for its annual production of “A Christmas Carol.”
Sean Murray, who directs, is back for the second year as Ebenezer Scrooge. He looks more comfortable and less inhibited than he did in the role last year – very nice angels in the snow moment, Sean!
As every year, the standout in the Cygnet “Christmas Carol” cast is David McBean whose Marley’s Ghost and Ghost of Christmas Present never get old. I really credit McBean for annually putting so much into these portrayals and not skating through them.
The ’23 ensemble includes Megan Carmitchel (she of multi-talent), Jasmine January, Allen Lucky Weaver, Patrick McBride (a reliable Bob Cratchit among his other fine turns) and this year Eileen Bowman, though the night I attended understudy Julia Miranda Smith was playing parts including Mrs. Cratchit, Scrooge’s housekeeper and Mrs. Fezziwig.
I’ve seen this show so many times that the Billy Thompson musical score is as familiar to me as my December carols playlist. Not every song is a stocking stuffer, but Cygnet’s ensemble is a vocally gifted one and anyway it’s all in good fun.
Those of you who’ve seen this production before know that it’s preceded by caroling and corny jokes from the costume-clad cast members, which adds to the merrymaking.
The cast is as always very well supported by those behind the scenes at Cygnet: music director/accompanist Patrick Marion, costume designer Jeanne Reith and choreographer Katie Banville to name just three. Everyone who brings off this production is in the spirit in Old Town, making this “Christmas Carol” a reliable and cheery break from shopping, gift-wrapping or putting up with those wearing-out-their-welcome relatives.
“A Christmas Carol” runs through Dec. 30 at Cygnet Theatre in Old Town.
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.