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Scrooge Makes Colonial ­Players’ Christmas Carol Sing — and Dance!

By November 25, almost two weeks before opening night, Colonial Players’ musical A Christmas Carol was sold out. That amazing feat speaks to the power of Charles Dickens’ classic and to Colonial Players’ place in the traditions of its community.
    Colonial’s homegrown Carol — with play and lyrics by Richard Wade and composed by Richard Gessner — debuted in 1981. This is its 29th incarnation.
    At a scant 75 minutes, with 11 songs, much of the poignancy and most of Dickens’ social criticism is sacrificed to brevity. The cast of 23 characters throng Colonial’s small, all-the-way-round stage, and none gets much development. The exception, of course, is Scrooge.
    Venerable local talent Duncan Hood makes this Christmas Carol sing. His Scrooge embodies the spirit Dickens wished for his readers, carrying the redemptive power of this tale to us, 169 years after it was penned.
    From a stereotypically mean miser, Hood softens his character as the ghosts show him his past, present and possible future. Once Scrooge has reformed, Hood brings the show home. His prancing is delightful, his joy infectious and his redemption hopeful.
    “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year!” Scrooge proclaims. Isn’t that a wish we all have at this gentler time of year? If someone as far gone as Scrooge can change, isn’t there hope for all of us?
    May laughter, humor and rousing theater be yours throughout 2013.

Playing Th Dec. 13 at 8pm; F Dec. 14 at 7 and 9pm; Sa Dec. 15 at 2, 4 and 8pm; and Su Dec. 16 at 2 and 4pm. Colonial Players, 108 East St., Annapolis. $8: Standby tickets sold first come, first served at the box office. At curtain time, ushers fill empty seats in numerical order with refunds to no-seated standbys: 410-268-7373; www.thecolonialplayers.org.