Stage Adaptations of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” are so popular, they can become redundant, so The Hale Center Theater version of “A Christmas Carol” brings some new twists on an old favorite.
The Hale Center Theater located in Orem provides a unique atmosphere known as theater-in-the-round. 306 seats surround the stage, creating an engaging experience for both the audience and cast.
The theater adds a personal touch to the classic story by incorporating original arrangements of Christmas songs composed by Cody Hale, son of Ruth and Nathan Hale, founders of the theater.
Melanie Westcott, one of the cast members’ mothers, said she enjoys listening to original songs, especially, Scrooge’s song,”God Rest, Ye Merry Gentleman.”
“It has that personal quality to it,” she said. “He breaks down at the point when he sang, ‘remember the Christ the Savoir,’ I love that because not a lot of theaters can say that and portray it and make it really emotional and have audience also react in an emotional way because they understand that’s what Christmas is all about.”
Mark Bell, from Orem, has come to see this play with his family for seven years and said the script is basically the same, but they do different staging actions.
“By changing little things up and bringing the new director and new blood, they can keep the show relatively fresh and interesting,” he said.
Jim Murphy, chairman of board of trustees at the Hale Center Foundation for the Arts and Education, plays Mr. Fezzwig, and said this theater makes an intimate theater because none of the seats are more than six rows away from the center stage.
“Everybody in the audience feels a part of the show and a highly emotional story about redemption, Christmas and love,” he said. “It’s a great place to be because everyone in the theater feels that.”
While The Hale Center Theater provides an intimate theater by bringing quality costumes, effects and plays, it also provides a comfortable environment for the casts.
Keith Evans, who’s from Orem and studying mass communications at BYU, plays young Scrooge and said he enjoys performing here because of the environment.
“Really wonderful and fun people perform here,” he said. “It’s always such a warm kind of feeling at the Hale. A lot of people here have the same values and standards that I do. People here understand why we do plays: to laugh and to have fun.”