LUMBERTON — Purple Door Productions this week will share its holiday tradition with Robeson County.
Each year for four years, the semi-professional production company has put on a musical performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
It has become a Christmas-time custom for the company’s players, says artistic director Jeanne Koonce.
“The main core of my company has been with the show since the beginning,” Koonce said. “As they get older each year they shift through parts. I’ve got a girl who started out playing one of the younger daughters and will now play Scrooge’s love when he was younger.”
Dickens’ 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol” tells the tale of a bitter old man, Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
“It becomes this little tradition all to its own, not only to the audience but to the people in the show,” Koonce said.
Koonce said the script for the show was adapted by a North Carolina playwright for Fort Bragg families to perform. The dialogue in the show is taken directly from Dickens’ book.
“It’s basically a play with music added. The songs are traditional carols and traditional madrigals from the Victorian period,” said Koonce, who tweaks the songs occasionally. “… From year to year the music is not always the same and it creates this great little play.”
Actor Denver McCullough has played Scrooge every year, Koonce said. The cast is rounded out my elementary, high school and college students as well as adults, including parents who hit the stage with the children.
“That’s always been the fun of it, is having families participate,” Koonce said.
Performances are scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday and Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m. The 2:30 p.m. show on Dec. 3 will have free admission, as well as two shows on Friday specifically for students, at 10 a.m. and noon.
Purple Door Productions decided to offer free admission to those shows recognizing that many families are still struggling in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which hit Robeson County on Oct. 8.
“This is a show that is delightful and happy and gives a moment, I feel, that allows everybody to forget about that,” Koonce said.
Teachers should call 910-224-4000 to make reservations for their classes at the free Friday shows.
Tickets for the non-free shows are $10 for adults, $6 for students and $5 for all Robeson Community College staff and students. Pre-sale tickets are available by calling 910-258-0787 or online at brownpapertickets.com.
Guests at the Thursday show can also enjoy a three-course dinner prepared by the chefs and students of the Culinary Department of Robeson Community College.
The RCC Foundation’s Cratchitt Family’s Sumptuous Christmas Dinner begins at 6 p.m., before the musical performance. The meal will be accompanied by traditional carolers and Victorian music. Tickets for the dinner are $30 per person, with proceeds supporting the foundation.
Dinner tickets may be purchased at the Foundation Office, building 14, 1407-A, on the college campus or by calling 910-272-3735.
Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.