New York, NY (December 16, 2019) – The Actors Fund in association with Universal Theatrical Group and Margaret Styne presented a one-night only concert presentation of the holiday classic Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol last evening at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College . The evening was directed by Carl Andress with choreography by Nathan Peck, based on original choreography by Marcos Santana. Grammy Award® and Emmy Award®-winner John McDaniel wrote new orchestrations for the score and served as the evening’s music director.
So that's the basic blurb but allow me to share with you some of the joyful details of this amazing evening and a little about the evenings beneficiary, an eminently worthy cause, The Actors Fund.
First hats off to cast all the actors and musicians that donated their time and the patrons that came out to support a great cause.
Gavin Lee was spectacular as Mr. Magoo / Scrooge pulling the audience in and making us feel the full range of emotions that Scrooge goes through during the course of the evening. His vocal talents were on full display as he lead the cast through show stopping numbers.
The score was incredible and played out masterfully by a 28 piece orchestra with a magical sound that filled the theater with a wide range of emotions that matched the narrative. The choreography was perfectly woven into the story managing to work all the set changes into dance as The Winter Wind - a talented group of dancers clad in black with flowy fabric draped from the arms - pranced about in wonderful rhythm so smoothly that the viewer barely noticed that they were changing the sets. Dances around the scene at Fezzywigs Firm Christmas Party brought all of the excitement of a Merry Christmas in jolly olde England straight to the stage at John Jay.
Gavin Lee, (Bert - Mary Poppins, Squidward Tentacles - Spong Bob) stars as Mr. Magoo/Ebenezer Scrooge with Sierra Boggess, (Ariel - The Little Mermaid, Christine Daae - Phantom) as Belle, Clifton Duncan as Bob Crachit, Ali Ewoldt as Mrs. Crachit, Kyle Selig as Young Ebenezer, Matthew Scott as Fred, Byron Jennings as Jacob Marley, Don Darryl Rivera as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Edward Hibbert as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Ian Fitzgerald Gallagher as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Klea Blackhurst as the Charwoman, Jennifer Cody as the Laundress, Jeff Blumenkrantz as the Undertaker, Stephen DeRosa as The Old Man, and Jeff Hiller as The Director.
One of many many highlights of the evening was the performance by young Shane Pry as Tiny Tim. This performance was so well played that it actually brought me to tears not once but three times, twice as ghosts visited Scrooge and at the end as Scrooge emerges as a truly changed man. Not what I was expecting from a Mr. Magoo version of A Christmas Carol. The acting drew me into the story to the point that deeply felt Ebeneezer's emotions. Very well done.
The only downside to this production was that it was limited to a One Night Only Performance. While understanding that the actors and musicians donate their time one could understand why only one show is possible but it was such an exceptional experience I personally hope that next year we see at least a three day run.
As added bonus coverage we have included an album of downloadable / shareable photos of many of the child actors that donated their time. Click here to see those photos.
About The Actors Fund
The Actors Fund fosters stability and resiliency, and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan.
Founded in 1882, we serve all professionals—and not just actors—in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance through programs that address our community's unique and essential needs.
Employment in any division of the performing arts and entertainment industry is unpredictable. Work is erratic, security is fleeting and health insurance is often just a dream. For all of these reasons and many more, The Actors Fund is an indispensable and deeply significant part of the entire entertainment community.
As a national organization with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, we directly serve thousands of performing arts and entertainment professionals across the country every year, in person and via our online resources. Our programs are wide in scope, responsive in nature and produce significant results.
Enjoy a few additional photo in the gallery below.
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