Find the spirit of Christmas this weekend at Unionville High School, as Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol" hits the stage just in time for the holiday season.
Directed by UHS teacher Dan Lipowitz, working from "A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley" adapted by Isaac Horowitz, the production features a cast and crew of nearly 50 - something Lipowitz said he was hoping for.
"I wanted to create lots of opportunity for participation," he said. "So it gives me a large cast, it gives me a pit band ... I also have a chorus as the choir, plus my tech and stage crew is large."
With 22 in the cast, eight onstage singers, eight musicians in the pit, 12 crewmembers and eight more helping backstage, it seems Lipowitz got just what he asked for.
"How many is that, anyway? I've lost count," he said.
Besides handling the size of the production, Lipowitz said the biggest challenge is keeping thing flowing during the show.
"There are a lot of quick changes, but we're there," he said. "We're tinkering with sound and working out the tech issues, but every minute we're getting closer to perfection."
In the original story, miser Ebenezer Scrooge receives redemption from a cold, forgotten grave as he learns the true spirit of Christmas from three different ghosts that represent in turn his Christmases past, present and future.
The Horowitz version turns the Jacob Marley character -- here played by senior Domingo Mancuello in bold, icy turns -- remains in the production as a narrator of sorts, filling in for Dickens' prose and even alerting the audience to intermissions.
Junior Michael Rosenberg plays the harried Scrooge as he moves through his troubled past hand in hand with the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Gabrial Yayac), Christmas Present (Haley Janczuk) and Christmas Future (Kimberly Kitay). In flashback scenes, Scrooge is portrayed by Colin Scott as the Apprentice Scrooge and by Chris Trombetta as Young Adult and Adult Scrooge.
As for the long-suffering Cratchit Family, Andrew Demarco plays proud father Bob, and Megan Fraser plays Mrs. Cratchit. Daughters Martha and Belinda are portrayed by and Melissa Shughrue respectively, and ninth grader Josh Friedman plays the littlest Cratchit, Tiny Tim.
The production moves smoothly, with the eight-member pit orchestra and the chorus filling in as set changes and lighting cues are made - in fact the orchestra was created at the suggestion of one of the students, Pit Leader Alex Caffey.
"The pit was entirely his idea," Lipowitz said.
The UHS Players production of "A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley" runs Dec. 3, 4 and 5 at 7 p.m. each evening. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens. For more ticket information or to purchase, please call 610-347-1600.