Hale Center Theater performance gives something to carol about

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A long standing Christmas tradition, the Hale Center Theater presents "A Christmas Carol" this December. Actors and actresses take the audience on journey with Tiny Tim, complete with elaborate music, sets and costumes. (Photo courtesy of Dianne Lewis.)
A longstanding Christmas tradition, the Hale Center Theater presents “A Christmas Carol” this December. Actors and actresses take the audience on journey with Tiny Tim, complete with elaborate music, sets and costumes.
(Photo courtesy Dianne Lewis)

This December, “A Christmas Carol” is brought to life on the stages of the Hale Center Theaters in West Valley City, Salt Lake City and Orem. This is the 29th year that the theaters will present this Christmas play, running Dec. 7–24.

“A Christmas Carol has become not only one of Utah’s longstanding Christmas traditions, but it’s ranked in the top Christmas traditions in the country,” said Brent Lange, Hale Center Theater vice president and treasurer. “It’s ranked in the top as far as longstanding traditions, attendance and reputation go.”

The Hale Center Theater, now a chain of theaters across Utah, first started when Nathan and Ruth Hale created their own theater in 1947. The ownership of the theater has been passed down through the family, and now grandson Mark Dietlein and his wife Sally run the Hale Center Theater in West Valley City together. The creation of the first Hale Theater sparked a westward movement, with community theaters now found around Utah, Arizona and California.

The theater runs on a year-round production schedule, and “A Christmas Carol” is just one of many productions and events offered to the community throughout the year.

“Hale Centre Theater is a community theater in every sense of the word,” Sally Dietlein, vice president of the West Valley City branch of the theater, said. “From the actors and crew, to the patrons, volunteers and donors, everyone feels a sense of family when they walk through these doors.”

Brooke Wilkins, a graduate from BYU, works for the Salt Lake City Hale Theater. Wilkins manages the costume rental shop and explained that the elaborate costumes in “A Christmas Carol” are reused each year; however, every year the costume department works on updating and embellishing costumes from a single scene. This year, the department is working on Fred’s party scene involving ghosts.

“Designing the ghosts is probably the most fun,” Wilkins said. “They are the most imaginative costumes in the show.”

“A Christmas Carol” contains original scores and traditional carol arrangements by Utah composer Barlow Bradford. In addition, director John Sweeney, music director Anne Puzey and choreographer Marilyn May Montgomery have worked together on the production of “A Christmas Carol” for 10 years. New actors are pulled in each year to make each performance fresh.

All Utah Hale Center Theater locations offer “A Christmas Carol” through Dec. 24. Tickets for adults range from $29 to $35. No children under age 5 are permitted, but tickets for children ages 5–11 are $16. Performance times are at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Monday–Saturday and at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for Saturday matinées. Tickets can be ordered online or by phone. Visit the Hale Center Theater website here.

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