If you speak to most actors, they’ll tell you that every production creates a family feeling between the cast and crew. And while that feeling is important, it’s fleeting, since people tend to go their own way after the production is done. But for the cast of “A Christmas Carol” at the Miners Alley Playhouse, that is not the case.
For the last five productions, Jim Hunt, Lisa DeCaro, Meredith Young, Koi Matheo, Jason Maxwell and Josh Hartwell have all taken on the characters from Charles Dickens’ immortal story with a Miners Alley-specific framing service. But this will be the last the theater stages the show for some time.
“It’s become a family reunion every year for all of us,” Hunt, who plays Scrooge, said warmly. “It’s very emotional for us this year and we’re all just playing the life out of it.”
“A Christmas Carol” runs at Miners Alley, 1224 Washington Ave. in Golden, through Thursday, Dec. 23. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday, with additional performances at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 through 23. The theater requires masks for all at all performances and attendees (except children younger than 12-years-old) must show proof of vaccination.
Directed by Len Matheo and given a local touch by Hartwell’s adaptation, the hilarious and quick-witted production features the six actors playing all the characters fans know. Hunt said the show provides him a great opportunity to do a full investigation of the Scrooge character — something that other productions don’t always offer.
“I love Miners Alley so much and it has been the best treat and honor to do this work there,” he said. “If you’re not doing something you like at Christmas, it can be hard for your soul. But ours is really an intimate and cozy production.”
Over the years, the show has become a Christmas tradition for audiences all over Golden and beyond, so much so that Matheo said the virtual option the theater hosted last year during the depths of the COVID-19 lockdown was the biggest seller of all its holiday options. But changes along the way, including his child, Koi, getting older, have affirmed that it’s time to put the show to bed.
“We’ve done just enough tweaks over the years that it feels different each time,” Matheo said. “And this year it really feels different — it’s like there’s something new going on. There’s a vibrancy on the stage.”
That vibrancy means audiences are in for a special treat as the company says goodbye to the show — though not to holiday productions. They’re already planning for “A Christmas Story” for next year.
“There are great elements of theater magic that highlight the ghost story and redemption story that is `A Christmas Carol,’” Matheo said. “It makes you want to leave the theater and help your fellow man. It makes audiences rethink how they think about the holidays.”
For information and tickets, visit minersalley.com/shows/christmascarol2021/.
Ballet Ariel invites audiences on a magical journey
Ballet Ariel is returning to the stage with a holiday favorite — “The Nutracker,” directed and choreographed by Ballet Ariel’s Artistic Director, Ilena Norton, with pas de deux choreography and direction by Oleg Dedogryuk.
Performances are at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, at: 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 22, Thursday, Dec. 23, Saturday, Dec. 11 and Sunday, Dec. 12 and 19; 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17; and 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18. Call 303-987-7845 or visit lakewood.org/tickets for information and tickets.
Delight in the season at Four Mile Historic Park
One of the keys to a wonderful holiday season is indulging in just the right amount of nostalgia, and few activities this year will tap into that better than Four Mile Historic Park’s December Delights. Running through Sunday, Jan. 2, at the park, 715 S. Forest St. in Denver, the event takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Attendees will find a bevy of winter-related activities, including ice skating, reindeer games, children’s crafts, art installations, light displays, food and drink, vendors and more. Get tickets and information at fourmilepark.org/december-delights/.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Caroline Polachek at the Bluebird Theater
You ever see a song name and know you’re going to like it before you even hear it? That was the case for me back in 2019 when pop chameleon Caroline Polachek released her single, “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings.” (On my birthday, no less! How did she know?) “Pang,” the album that housed that song was not only one of the best pop records of the year, but of the decade.
You absolutely should catch Polachek when she stops by the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver, at 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10, with Oklou opening. This should be a bit of a homecoming show — Polacheck formed her first band, Charlift, while a student at the University of Colorado Boulder. Get tickets at bluebirdtheater.net.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.