Chicago actor Larry Adams has been in the holiday spirit since the heat of the summer months, when he was cast to play the most unhappy and stingiest characters on the stage.
"Playing Scrooge is a new role for me, and it's one you have to wait for until a certain time in your career when it's right," said Adams, who is playing the miser with a musical slant for Theatre at the Center holiday run of the show "Christmas Carol: The Musical," which opens today and runs until Dec. 22 at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster.
"It's a great tale of the ages and when set to music and told with songs, it reaches another level and connection with audiences."
Adams credits Disney Composer Alan Menken, the man behind the music of "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin," who also created this musical and one of the many reasons it's so adored by theater audiences. Theatre at the Center's production is directed by Theatre at the Center Artistic Director William Pullinsi.
In the fall of 2005, Adams also starred in a musical version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," opposite Richard Chamberlain in the main role of Ebenezer Scrooge for the Broadway national tour of "Scrooge: The Musical," which played Chicago.
"For that tour, I played the Ghost of Christmas Present," Adams said.
"It was a great experience to have brought this story and the songs to audiences for the holiday season."
Adams recently appeared in "Oliver!" and also as Captain Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook.
"My last time at Theatre at the Center in Munster was playing Julian Marsh in 42nd Street," Adams said.
"A Christmas Carol: The Musical" was a smash hit in New York for nearly 10 years, presented annually at Madison Square Garden every December from 1994 until 2003.
Based on Dickens' beloved novel, "A Christmas Carol: The Musical" is set in London in the 1800s. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is confronted by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. The ghosts, hoping to change his destiny and save his soul, reveal the possible results of his selfish, uncaring life, as audiences travel with Scrooge as he sets off on a strange and magical journey, where he ultimately discovers the true spirit of the holiday season.
Joining Adams is Matthias Austin as Bob Cratchit, Shelley Crawford as Mrs. Cratchit, David Hathaway as Fred, Patrick Tierney as Young Scrooge, Megan Long as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Jonathan Butler-Duplessis as Ghost of Christmas Present, Jen Donohoo as Ghost of Christmas Future, Brian Duncan as Young Marley, Kristin O’Connell as Emily, Ron Keaton as Marley's Ghost, Kathleen Gibson as Mrs. Fezziwig and Killian Hughes as Tiny Tim, also with other cast and ensemble members.
The artistic team features choreography by Linda Fortunato and musical direction and orchestrations by William A. Underwood. The design team includes Scenic Designers Jackie and Richard Penrod with Lighting Designer Shelley Strasser-Holland, Sound Designer Barry G. Funderburg and costumes designed by Brenda Winstead.
Since the story is set during the chilly December months in London, heavy coats, hats and scarves are used in many scenes, which is difficult for actors and actresses performing under hot stage lighting.
"I'm fortunate, since for most of my scenes, Scrooge is in his bedroom wearing his nightshirt instead of all of the other layers in the earlier scenes," Adams said.