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Christmas Carol

December 19, 2012 | By Marcia Adair
Caruso, Bjorling, Pavarotti, Carreras, Domingo, Alagna, Kaufmann, Florez and (Eric) Cartman. One of these things is not like the other, 'tis true, but there is one way in which they are kind of the same: They have all recorded versions of "O Holy Night. " In fact it seems there is hardly a singer who hasn't. Most Christmas music is meant for group singing, so, unless you are a soprano singing the descant, Christmas caroling doesn't require a lot of vocal skill. "O Holy Night," on the other hand, written in 1847 by French composer Adolphe Adam as a setting of the poem "Minuit, chrétiens," offers the irresistible combination of operatic drama and technical difficulty.
December 15, 2012 | By Dalina Castellanos, Los Angeles Times
Edgar Bullington stood with a slight hunch on the stage of Bellflower High School's Robert Newman Theater, slivers of gray hair peeking from under his top hat, and sneered, "Bah, humbug!" His portrayal of Dickens' famous crotchety old man was all the more convincing for his graying beard. But the beard was no prop. Bullington's drama career spans more than 50 years and started right here, at Bellflower High. Bullington and other Bellflower alumni have returned this month to put their own spin on "A Christmas Carol.
December 11, 2012 | By Carolyn Kellogg
The Charles Dickens Museum in London has reopened just in time for Christmas, a time of year memorialized by Dickens' widely known work "A Christmas Carol. " It's also just prior to the conclusion of Dickens' 200th anniversary -- he was born in 1812. The museum, located at 48 Douty St. in London, had been closed while undergoing a $5-million restoration. It was Dickens' home from 1837-39; he wrote "Oliver Twist" and "Nicholas Nickelby" there. Although he moved on as his reputation and fortunes grew, 48 Douty St. is the only one of his London homes that remains standing.
December 3, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Christmas obviously isn't for everyone, but it's pretty hard to avoid even if your plan for the 25th involves Chinese food and a movie. Stores break out the decorations right after Halloween, and as for the theater, it's wall to wall productions of "A Christmas Carol" as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are finished. It's enough to put even a Noel-loving drama critic in a "Bah, humbug!" mood. Fortunately, two notable alternatives to the standard holiday fare have arrived to spice up the season: The Second City's "A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!"
December 1, 2012 | By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
"What was merry Christmas to Scrooge? Out upon merry Christmas! What good had it ever done to him?" - Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol. " At the box office there is no "Bah! Humbug!" The recompense that two big Southern California theaters reap from Christmas plays would quiet even Ebenezer Scrooge's scoffing. But the holiday-theater franchises that the Old Globe in San Diego and South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa enjoy have eluded - or gone unsought by - L.A.'s four biggest nonprofit stage companies.
November 24, 2012 | By Lynne Heffley
Theatergoers who prefer "A Christmas Carol" straight up, with language and redemptive message intact, won't find much holiday cheer in "A Christmas Twist," SeaGlass Theatre's satiric treatment of the Dickens classic at the Victory Theatre Center in Burbank. Regrettably, even those who relish their Scrooge, Cratchits and ghostly Spirits played for laughs won't find this mash-up of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and "Oliver Twist" nearly as jolly as it could have been. Taking a sketchy and broad-stroke approach to both classics, writers Doug Armstrong, Keith Cooper and Maureen Morley have turned Oliver Twist into hapless workhouse orphan Tiny Twist, who is adopted by Bob Cratchit after trying to pick his pocket.
November 20, 2012 | By Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
Pretty much all there is to say about "Scrooge and Marley" is that it is a gay-themed adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" made in Chicago. One can more or less imagine the entire film from there. The Ghost of Christmas Past tours Ben Scrooge (David Pevsner) through being kicked out of the house by his bigoted father on to finding acceptance within the local gay community. After becoming a successful nightclub owner, Scrooge and his partner, Jacob Marley (played as a ghost by "SNL" veteran Tim Kazurinsky)
October 20, 2012 | By David Ng
Dan Castellaneta, who voices America's favorite schlub hubby Homer Simpson on Fox's "The Simpsons," has joined the cast of Second City's "A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens"  at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The comedic stage production is set to begin performances on Nov. 24. Castellaneta, a veteran of Second City, will be part of an ensemble cast that includes other recognizable comedy names -- Joe Flaherty, of SCTV fame; Frank Caeti, an alumnus of Fox's "MADTv"; and Larry Joe Campbell, from the ABC sitcom "According to Jim. " The cast also includes Amanda Blake Davis, Brian Stepanek and Jean Villepique.
December 24, 2011 | Steven Paul Leiva, Steven Paul Leiva's latest novel, "Traveling in Space," was published in November by Bluroof Press
Twenty-eight years ago, I was a producer on a film based in Tokyo when, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, I was called back to America to deal with a production emergency. The company I worked for was based in Marin County in Northern California, and there I found myself all alone on Thanksgiving Day. Wallowing in self-pity, I took myself off to one of the charming villages of Marin County, found a Country Kitchen-like restaurant, sat down to the Thanksgiving Special, and gave absolutely no thanks for the mendacious accountant who had run off with some of the production's funds.
December 23, 2011 | By T.L. Stanley, Los Angeles Times
Ebenezer Scrooge was a heartless miser in desperate need of reinvention. It should come as no surprise, then, that he eventually found his way to Hollywood for numerous makeovers spanning more than a half century. Charles Dickens reportedly dashed off the story, "A Christmas Carol," as a way to quickly pay some debts, dreaming up the tight-fisted businessman in 1843. But the writer had more than money on his mind. He was ruminating on heavy issues like consumerism, morality and redemption.
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