By Doris Christelis, Contributing Writer
Region – Kicking off the holiday season, The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts in Worcester will once again be presenting Dickens” “A Christmas Carol,” New England's largest production of this celebrated holiday favorite. It features myriad special effects and its famous Might Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ. Three lucky locals are part of this year's cast.
“A Christmas Carol” tells the tale of curmudgeonly miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future, hoping to change his destiny and save his soul.
“This energizing musical, packed with dazzling effects, timeless music and colorful costumes and scenery, follows Scrooge through a series of strange and magical journey, where he ultimately discovers the true spirit of Christmas,” said Executive Director of The Hanover Theatre Tony Siebels, who adapted and directed the play.
Premiering Friday, Dec. 16, this year's production will have a few local actors returning and others debuting in the show. Returning for the third consecutive year is Marlborough's Samantha Keville who will continue in the youth ensemble, and this year, will also play the role of Scrooge's beloved sister, Fan.
Keville, a 16-year-old junior at Hudson High School (HHS), has been performing for over six years in theater and according to her parents, has been dancing since she could walk.
“I love being able to give people a night they can forget about everything else going on because when you'se watching our show you can get so involved in the story that you stop worrying about other things that may be troubling your mind,” Keville said.
She enjoys the camaraderie between the actors and appreciates all the pointers she gets from the adults on the stage.
Keville's prior performances include “High School Musical” at the North Shore Music Theatre, and several productions in Sudbury at the Performing Arts Connection. Along with singing, dancing, acting and a part-time job, Keville is a varsity cheerleader at HHS, an assistant coach for the Hudson Pop-Warner cheerleading squad, and a summer camp counselor.
“I'se had to audition every year for this production. At first I was really nervous, but the third time around I wasn's nervous at all because I was so comfortable in the theater. It was like a second home to me.”
Debuting this year as Tiny Tim Crachit is Shrewsbury's Peter Stamoulis, a 7-year-old second-grader at the Spring Street School.
According to his mother, Lena, Peter is a natural on stage.
“Peter has been performing since he was in the cradle,” said his mother. “He has always enjoyed making people laugh and loves to perform for people so finally being on a professional stage is a great achievement for him. His father, Dean, and I are so excited about his performing in this role.”
This will be Peter's first large-scale production as part of a cast of 32. He was encouraged to audition by close family friend Natasha Colonero.
“Natasha has always joked that Peter is a natural, and needs to audition for something…anything!” added his mother.
“The audition was fun but I had to work really hard to do a good job,” Peter said. “I was a little nervous because it was my first audition ever but I was so excited when I got the role of Tiny Tim. My favorite part of this role is having to act sad, happy and normal all in a couple of minutes” time.”
Besides acting, Peter has been studying Greek for the last two years, likes math and history, plays soccer, and enjoys tae-kwon-do.
Also debuting this year is Tess Herdman, a 12-year-old from Northborough and a seventh-grader at Melican Middle School. Herdman, who has been performing since she was 6, will join the production's Youth Ensemble.
Prior to her auditioning for A Christmas Carol, Herdman was in two shows at the Hanover – “Children of Eden” and “Oliver.” She is also in her school's select chorus and enjoys writing, drawing and reading.
“I love everything about performing,” Herdman said. “But if I had to pick one thing, it is probably the people I meet; they are all so friendly.”
A Christmas Carol will run from Dec. 16 to Dec. 23. Recommended for children ages 8 and up, tickets to all six performances are $25 to $48 and are available online at www.thehanovertheatre.org, by phone 877-571-SHOW (7469), or at The Hanover Theatre Box Office located at 2 Southbridge St. in downtown Worcester. Tickets for children and students are half price.