Several Sahuaro High School Classes Attend “Scrooge!” ATC’s New Holiday Musical
By Se’Kara Reed. Originally published by The Paper Cut.
On November 30th, Ms. Barnes’s advanced choir and Ms. Lange’s journalism and sophomore honors classes went on a field trip to the Temple of Music and Art to watch Arizona Theatre Company’s Scrooge! The Musical. Directed by Matt August, the play is an adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. The play follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a selfish and stingy businessman who despises people and Christmas, along a journey that transforms him and his spirit from lonely and miserable to compassionate and magnanimous.
The lead role of Ebenezer Scrooge is played by actor and singer Shuler Hensley. Hensley has quite the resume, acting alongside big names such as Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale and starring in films such as The Greatest Showman and The Legend of Zorro. Hensley also is the winner of a Tony Award for Best Performance for his 2002 film Oklahoma!. Hensley is joined by an incredible cast of actors and musicians who blew the entire theater away throughout the play.
The play runs for approximately two hours with a brief fifteen-minute intermission between Act 1 and Act 2. During the intermission, little cards were passed around to the students and if they had questions in regards to the play, they could write them down and they would be answered during the talkback after the play. After the play, MJ Okawa, the company manager at the ATC, and stage director, Matt August, came out on stage to answer the students’ questions written down on the cards, even answering a few “burning questions” from the crowd.
In reply to a production question, MJ Okawa said, “They start designing and working on production months and months, sometimes a year in advance. Especially right after they choose what they’re going to do, we get busy hiring people, finding designers, and bringing them in for production meetings and so forth.” Matt August followed up saying, “We started planning this and talking about what we wanted to do back in January of this year.”
Everyone who played a part in making the play come alive worked extremely hard to make sure everything was perfect. Matt August talked about how every actor worked very hard through their rounds of auditions and monologues and came for callbacks. The actors came in for rehearsals four weeks before the start of the show. They worked eight hours a day, six days a week, for a total of about 200 hours of rehearsal. All of the cast, with the exception of Shuler Hensley, even played up to eight roles.
After the talkback, I had the opportunity to talk with some of the play attendees and hear their thoughts. Freshman Sarah Bol, a fellow reporter for The Paper Cut, said, “I loved it, it was so cute! The production was so nice. I’ve seen many plays but this one is probably my favorite.”
Ms. Lange said, “I thought it was fabulous. I think that everybody really enjoyed it and it made me very happy that I got to give some culture and the experience of theater to so many of our students.”
Senior Valerie Juarez, a member of advanced choir, said, “I thought it was really good. I think the production was beautiful and I had a really great time. Being from theater, it inspired me. It made me happy because intermediate theater did a take on A Christmas Carol last year and just to see that from a different perspective is so beautiful. It was awesome.”
Senior Jonas Page, another member of advanced choir was in intermediate theater last year and had the opportunity to play Scrooge in the Sahuaro theater’s A Seussified Christmas Carol. Jonas stated, “It was insane. The set was so cool, I’ve never seen so many moving parts in a stage before. Being the Scrooge myself last year, I wanted to meet the Scrooge. It would’ve been awesome. He did a great job.”
ATC put together a wonderful performance and everyone involved did a fantastic job with the play. So much thought, hard work, and effort went into the production of this play, and judging from everyone’s superb reviews, it showed!