News & Notables from the Division of Performing Arts

Act 1 Rings In the Holidays with a Twist on a Timeless Classic

by Roseann Damico Schatkowski | Dec 03, 2013

Act 1, Desales University Theatre kicks off the holiday season with a hilarious family-friendly production of “The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge” by Mark Brown. Brown’s uproarious sequel to Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” runs from December 4 through December 15, 2013 on the Main Stage theatre of Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley, PA.

Act 1 previously produced “The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge” during its 2006-2007 season to positive audience response. “We presented this holiday play seven years ago,” says John Bell, head of the division of performing arts. “We had heard that it played very well at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and, knowing that our audiences always enjoy something new and different for the holidays, we gave it a try. It became one of our highest-selling shows of all time.”

Brown has written a continuation of Scrooge’s story without sacrificing its moral message. Set one year after that fateful Christmas Eve in Dickens’ original novel, this deftly written play shows us what happens when Ebenezer Scrooge files suit against the Spirits who once came to his aid, charging them with kidnapping, assault, and even attempted murder. Witnesses at the trial include characters from Scrooge’s past, present, and future: Bob and Mrs. Cratchit, Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s nephew Fred, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Yet to Come. Added to this cast of favorites with whom Scrooge must contend are a tenacious defense attorney, Solomon Rothschild and the no-nonsense Judge Stanchfield R. Pearson.

“Mark Brown has said that he was inspired by how people tend to interact during the holidays, thinking not of themselves but of their fellow man and the greater good.” says Bell. “He figured that must have been how Scrooge felt at the end of Dickens’ tale, but how difficult it can be to sustain such a charge of heart over time. Brown said he wanted to write a play that said, ‘Hey, the spirit of caring and giving has to be all year long, not just one month.’ It’s a good reminder for us all. “

The production is directed by associate professor of theatre, Steven Dennis, who relished the prospect of bringing to the stage a courtroom comedy with supernatural spectacle. “I like a good challenge now and again, and the premise of Scrooge having relapsed to his old self, one year after his transformation, and hauling the four magical spirits into court on charges of emotional pain and suffering, reckless endangerment, attempted murder, and kidnapping was fresh, silly, and entertaining,” says Dennis. “Even the thought of the manmade judicial system clashing with ethereal entities made me laugh, reminiscent of Santa Claus testifying in court in the film “Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street.”

The expert DeSales design faculty rises to the challenge of the technical demands and special effects with sets by Will Neuert, costumes by Amy Best, and lights by Elizabeth Elliott. Junior design/technical theatre major Karyn Bohli serves as stage manager. 

“The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge” runs December 4 through December 15, 2013 on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, Center Valley, PA. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. There is an added Saturday matinee on December 7 at 2:00 PM. A talk back with the director and cast is scheduled for Sunday, December 8 following the 2:00 PM performance, and there will be a morning matinee on Tuesday, December 10 at 9:45 AM, also followed by a talk back.

In an effort to improve accessibility for all patrons, the Saturday, December 7, 2:00 PM performance will feature Open Captioning for patrons who are deaf or hearing impaired and Audio Descriptions for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. During Open Captioned performances, all dialogue and sound effects are presented in real-time on an LED screen that is adjacent to the stage. During Audio Described performances, all action and physical appearances are described live through a headset. Tickets are half price for patrons using these special services on this date. Please call box office manager Dael Jackson at 610-282-3654, ext. 1 for more information.

The Labuda Center is fully accessible and equipped with a listening enhancement system. Special seating is available for our patrons using wheelchairs or requiring other assistance. Please inform the box office of your needs when ordering tickets.

Ticket prices are $23 for adults and $21 for students and seniors on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and $26 for adults and $22 for students and seniors on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Group discounts are available for all performances.

Get tickets now or call the Act 1 box office at 610.282.3192 or by visiting

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