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'A Christmas Carol' Returns with a New Script for a Familiar Story

For more than four decades, the Milwaukee Rep has presented an annual production of the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.  For many of those years, the show has moved from the usual Milwaukee Rep stages to the historic Pabst Theater. This year is no exception.

But what has changed this year is the script, and many of the production elements. Milwaukee Rep artistic director Mark Clements decided a few years ago that it was time to refresh the story. And to do that, he wrote a new script and his design team has come up with brand-new visuals and special effects. But not to fear because some things never change - it’s still the same story that Dickens wrote in the 19th Century. 

Photo by Michael Brosilow

Growing up in the United Kingdom, Clements wanted to take some of the popular elements of the British pantomime tradition, complete with music, jokes, and slapstick comedy, to engage with the children in the audience. "This is a very old convention," he explains. "I thought it would be quite interesting if we took kids so that they could seemingly be integrating with and informing the narrative of the story and acting as Scrooge's moral compass on the road to redemption."

"It's a great way of keeping the kids engaged in the story, because...when they're having a good time and they're involved and engaged - we are," says Clements.

It takes a lot of work to build, load-in, and set up all of the scenic elements at the Pabst.  Lake Effect's  Bonnie North joined both Clements and Jared Clarkin, the Milwaukee Rep’s production manager, at the Rep to talk about the new A Christmas Carol adaptation:

A Christmas Carol officially opens on Friday, December 2nd and runs through Christmas Eve. Previews of the show begin tonight.

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.