Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Fairmont State Masquers and Town & Gown players along with a cast of local actors bring to the stage a new twist to holiday favorite "A Christmas Carol."

The play is an adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic novel by noted American playwright and director David H. Bell and is underscored with popular Christmas carols. FS faculty member Dr. Francene Kirk will direct. Dr. Mary Lynne Bennett serves as music director.

Performances will at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 2-4, and Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 9-11, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, in the Wallman Hall Theatre on the main FS campus. For tickets, call the Box Office at (304) 367-4240. After each performance, volunteers from non-profit organizations will be collecting cash donations to assist deserving families during the holiday season.

This adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" is in its 16th year of production. Bell is the author of "A Tribute to Edith Head," "Give My Regards to Broadway:130 Years of the Musical" and "Heartstrings." He has adapted a number of other plays and has directed both his own and others" plays. Among other awards, Bell has been nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award (London); the Joseph Jefferson Awards (Chicago), 30 nominations and nine wins; Helen Hayes Award for Best Director (Washington, D.C.); Dramalogue Award for Best Director (L.A.); Atlanta Circle of Dramatic Critics Award for Best Choreographer; and the Nebraska Award of Theatre Excellence for Best Playwright.

The production features a cast of 40 familiar faces from Fairmont and beyond. John Fallon, long-time participant in Fairmont State's Town & Gown productions, will have the featured role of Scrooge.

"Scrooge is one of those roles a male actor anticipates in a career," Fallon said. "I've wanted to perform Scrooge for some time now."

An English major at the beginning of his FS experience, Fallon was persuaded onto the stage after he accompanied a friend to rehearsal. He became a theatre major and has spent the last 25 years performing with Town & Gown. His roles include Salieri in "Amadeus," Charlie in "The Foreigner," Snoopy in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and, most recently, as the conductor who sings "Conjunction Junction" in "School House Rock Live!" and Mayor Shinn in "The Music Man," both of which were on the Town & Gown bill for the summer of 2004. He has also appeared in "Oleanna," "Anything Goes," "The Fantasticks" and "The Diviners."

Young Scrooge is played by actor Gene Hicks, who first appeared at Fairmont State this past summer in the Town & Gown production of "Reel Blockbusters." Hicks has appeared in touring productions of "Evita;" "Adventures of Tom Sawyer," produced by the American Theatre Arts national tour; and in "Jesus Christ Superstar" in the Little Theatre on the Square, Sullivan, Ill.

Three students from Mary Gapen's fifth-grade class at Barrackville Elementary/Middle School are also featured performers. Alex Petry, son of Boyd and Tina Petry, plays Tiny Tim, the child who melts Scrooge's cold heart. Heaven Satterfield, daughter of Brad and Diann Satterfield, plays Melinda Cratchit, the sister of Tiny Tim. Brandi Farley, daughter of Bobby and Alisa Farley, plays one of the children of London.

Farley and Satterfield were involved in the Town and Gown summer productions of "School House Rock Live!" and "Reel Blockbusters."

"Our music teacher, Mrs. (Paulette) Morris, encouraged us to audition for summer theatre," Satterfield said. "She gave us the information and helped us with our audition music."

Dr. Francene Kirk, the production's director noted: "We always have such a good turnout from Barrackville Elementary/Middle School for our auditions and I am always so amazed at the quality of the students' voices."

The cast of "A Christmas Carol" includes John Fallon (Fairmont) as Scrooge; Christian Cox (Fairmont) as Marley; Dani Brake (Fairmont) as Christmas Past and Charity Worker; Jason Young (Bridgeport) as Christmas Present, Mr. Fezziwig and Charity Worker; Jeff Carder (Clarksburg) as Bob Cratchit; and Alex Petry (Barrackville) as Tiny Tim. Other major characters are Ironda Campbell (a Richmond, Va., native) as Mrs. Fezziwig and Mrs. Dilber; Tiffany Renae Carr (Elkins) as Bess; Kelsey Corder (Lost Creek) as Martha Cratchit; Tyler Kovar (Farmington) as Daniel Cratchit; Clayton Dunn (Fairmont) as Peter Cratchit; Heaven Satterfield (Fairmont) as Melinda Cratchit; Sarah Satterwhite (Monongah) as Belinda Cratchit; Andy Shaw (Fairmont) as Wyatt Cratchit; Lauren Zirk (Martinsburg) as Mrs. Cratchit; Jeremy S. Crawford (New Martinsville) as Dick Wilkins; Becca Muter (Preston County) as Alice; Brandy Nicole DeVault (Fairview) as Belle; Steven Andrew Grugin (Fairmont) as Fred; Kathy Dunn (Fairmont) as Missy Watkins and Peg; Shawn Dunn (Fairmont) as Christmas Future and Tom Wilkins; Gene Hicks (Springfield, Ill.) as the young Scrooge; Steven McElroy (Fairmont) as Topper; William Mick (Buckhannon) as the Undertaker; Breigha E. Mugnano (Fairmont) as Fan; Mary Ann Satterwhite (Monongah) as the Laundress; and Brady Dunn (Fairmont) as the Lad with the Turkey.

Members of the cast who are the People of London include Aaron W. Prenatt (Fairmont) a schoolmaster; Amanda Paul (Weirton) caroler; Janie Myles (Shinnston) caroler; Carol Hall (Fairmont) caroler; Jack Jackson (Buffalo), business man; Kimmy Higginbotham (Good Hope) caroler; Michael Corder (Lost Creek) toy vendor; Tricia L. Dunn (Fairmont) caroler; Brandi Farley (Fairmont) Child Watkins; Graham Parks (Fairmont) schoolboy; Elise Pitrolo (Mannington), pastry vendor; and James Pitrolo III (Mannington) match boy.