Project Description

Los Angeles Times
The Grove Theater Center in Burbank has taken a different tack, focusing on the classic tale’s language — rich, thought-provoking and resonant — delivered through the deft performances of three professional actors who perform all roles.

The Equity cast features stage and screen veterans Frank Simons and David Allen Jones, and Jenna Augen (soon to reprise her 2014 UK Theatre Award-winning supporting performance in a West End production of Josh Harmon’s “Bad Jews”). Jones is the production’s Scrooge. Jones is a pitch-perfect Scrooge and Simons and Augen make their multiple characters distinctive through changes in voice and body language.

Indeed, Simons’ galvanizing growl — “Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” — puts the audience on notice from the outset that this is no mere reading.

For this pocket-sized “A Christmas Carol” to work, each design element had to be spot-on, too, and that is the case here, from Cochran’s dynamic use of the small stage to Hunter Stephenson’s pristine and atmospheric sound design, David Darwin’s expressive lighting — haunting shadows, sunlight and firelight — and the starkness of Ogden’s set design: a slanted ramp that becomes Scrooge’s desk, bed and various roads and pathways faces the audience and is flanked by two low, pillared walls serving as bookstands, tables, Cratchit’s desk, seating and a lonely grave. (Ogden also conceived the deceptively simple costume design.) -Los Angeles Times

“The blistering weather is palpable in director Kevin Cochran’s ever-so-faithful-to-Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, as exuded by the whistling wind (sound by Hunter Stephenson) and billowy blankets draped across the neck and shoulders of two of the three actors who bring the eerie, comical, winter classic to an exuberant existence. Cochran serves up a traditional, powerful interpretation.

David Darwin’s mood-wrenching lighting. Glorious shades of green, red, white, and blue cloak the stage and further emit moods of eeriness, tumultuousness, melancholy and the angelic.

Together the trio of characters embody not just three but a handful of characters – distinctive faces, voices, and actions to produce a potion of varying emotions. Sometimes seeming to jump out of his skin, Frank Simons narrates the story while quintupling as Scrooge’s clerk, Bob Cratchit; Marley’s ghost; and the Spirits of Christmas Present and Future. Simons ignites the fire within each of his characters, and lets their passions consume the stage. Similarly, Jenna Augen exemplifies her ease in and out of multiple characters, spaces and voices, sharing narrating duty with Simons, while also playing Ms. Cratchit, the Spirit of Christmas Past, and various women from the community. Completing the trio of actors is David Allen Jones’s Scrooge.

This is a morality play directed mainly at cynics. No longer bellowing a carol in somber, scowling tones, Scrooge learns to sing anew. We should all be so lucky.” -Stage Raw

presented by

Grove Theater Center

Kevin Cochran, Artistic Director

Charles Johanson, Executive Director

First presented in December of 2011

A Christmas Carol

based on the story by Charles Dickens

adapted & directed by Kevin Cochran

Set & Costumes — Leonard Ogden

Lights — David Darwin

Sound — Hunter Stephenson


Man — Frank Simons*

Woman — Kate Danley* Jenna Augen* in some years

Scrooge — David Allen Jones*

*member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

The Director is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the union of professional stage directors in the United States.

Additional commentary: Below are a few unsolicited comments from people who bought tickets through various ticketing sites (“A Christmas Carol” was the first show any of them had ever seen at GTC)

Absolutely marvelous – small theater at its finest – This was a three person rendition brilliantly executed with outstanding acting, staging, and optimal use of sets and costumes. I see a lot of theater and if you only see one holiday show this year, this is definitely the one to see. The venue is also quite nice and easily accessible. The theater is located in the park – but the building is clearly visible from the street with plenty of street parking. Will definitely be back – Thanks for a terrific evening out!” -RC

The performance was fabulous! Our family of 6, ranging in ages from 21 to 85 went together, and everyone loved it. The cast was excellent, mezmerizing the audience the entire time. If you want to experience a memorable evening and a favorite story, attend this play. It will be a Holiday gift you will enjoy.” -nik

The three actors did an outstanding performance of a Christmas Carol. The play stayed true to the Charles Dickens story and was a healthy reminder of the meaning of “rich”. Ours s a sprawling city where small theater shows often are missed. This show deserves to be seen.” -ch

VERY GOOD. A well produced AND acted play……….. good to get the holidays going!” -Richard V

Excellent adaptation. very faithful to Dickens’ text. Three actors, all excellent. Great set, lighting, sound, acting. Very nice theater as well.” -Cecily P