Adapted from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, this one-man show grows and grows each year!
Now in its 12th year of touring all over Texas! It's Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol with an amazing twist — one actor plays all the roles in this powerful tale of hope & compassion! Award-winning stage actor J. Damian Gillen transforms before your eyes into all those beloved characters...from Scrooge to tiny Tim, in this magical and imaginative re-telling of the holiday classic! Complete with numerous costume changes, special effects and traditional Celtic Christmas tunes! Great fun for the whole family! The tour kicks off each year at the Dickens-on-Main St, event in Boerne, TX (on the Friday & Saturday after Thanksgiving.) Makes a stop at the famous Arneson River Theater on the Saturday before Christmas every year at our SCROOGE ON THE RIVERWALK event! The tour continues through Dec. 23rd! With a record-breaking 30 shows in 30 days!!
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Reviews & Articles from the San Antonio Express News:
Forthe past few years, actor/director Damian Gillen has spent this timeof the year on the road, performing his one-man version of "A ChristmasCarol" all over the state.
For the fifth anniversary of the show — titled "Bah, Humbug!" — he set agoal of 30 shows in 30 days, which, if all goes well, he'll achieve at the Saturday finale at the Arneson River Theatre. (The rest of this week is being filled with performances at private parties and fundraisers.)
This year's performances included a few spins at Ruben's Bakery and Café, home base for The Company, the theater troupe for which Gillen serves as managing artistic director.
The café's intimate performance space served the show well and allowed Gillen to interact a bit with the audience.
Gillen manages to squeeze Charles Dickens' familiar story of Ebenezer Scrooge's overnight change from a mean-spirited miser into an openhearted soul into a brisk 60 minutes. His adaptation hits all of the big turns in the tale — Scrooge's reputation as a crank, the visitation by the three ghosts, the soul-crushing poverty of the Cratchits, the sweetness of Tiny Tim, and Scrooge's transformation just in time for Christmas.
Gillen moves effortlessly between all the parts, including the narrator. He sometimes switches out accessories (a festive green hat for Scrooge's nephew Fred, chains for Marley's ghost, a floppy bonnet for Mrs. Cratchit) to help make the changes clearer. He also makes good use of lights and some sound effects.
For all the speediness of the storytelling, he never neglects the emotional heart of the story, making the show a holiday treat.
firstname.lastname@example.org Posted: 12/17/2007 05:40 PM CST
By Deborah Martin - San Antonio Express-News (12/25/2009)
At the end of last year's run of "A Christmas Carol: The Musical" at the San Pedro Playhouse, actor Byrd Bonner was surprised by how attached he had become to Ebenezer Scrooge after playing the transformed crank for a month.
"I sobbed through the entire performance that final show, which caught me totally by surprise," Bonner said. "Part of it was this wonderful opportunity and wonderful cast and this combination of wonderful things coming to an end."
And so, Bonner didn't really need to be sold when director Frank Latson offered him the chance to return to the role this year. (Technically, it's Bonner's third go-round as Scrooge. He first played it in a junior high production that was, he said, "probablythe very first show I ever played in.") He'll wrap up this run on Jan. 3.
Damian Gillen knows precisely how tough it can be to let go of Scrooge. Gillen's been playing character for seven years in "Bah Humbug!," his one-man adaptation of "Carol."
"I really would do this show all year round if I could," said Gillen said, artistic director of The Company Theatre. "It's hard to say goodbye."
Gillen just ended the 2009 edition of his annual attempt to do 30 shows in 30 days at the Arneson River Theater earlier this week — "It really gets me in the spirit for Christmas, doing this story and seeing how it affects other people," he said.
Over the past month, he did the show in theaters, schools, jails, restaurants and anywhere else that would have him.
This was the first year he ventured to New York for a pair of performances up there, one of which was given in a space so small that he was just a few feet away from the audience: "I could see the tears in their eyes," he said. "To see a woman in the front row crying during the dead Tiny Tim scene, it's tough, but it's also a blessing. It means a lot to me that the message is so effective."
Gillen still finds the story deeply moving, particularly the scenes in which Scrooge takes all that he has seen to heart and actually changes.
Playing that change, he said, "still feels the same as it did the first year. It chokes me up. It's really about redemption and reformation. It tugs at my heart."
Bonner believes the story, in which Scrooge is forced to confront his miserly ways and poor treatment of pretty much everyone in his life, has resonated particularly strongly during the economic downturn. During last year's run, he noted, "we were starting to hear the word ‘recession' more and more commonly in the news, in the newspapers and on TV on the radio. Also, Bernie Madoff was arrested while we were doing ‘A Christmas Carol' last year.
"The sort of life that Scrooge led up until the famous Christmas Eve transformation was very reflective of what we were learning had been going on in the financial system in our country and in the world. That was an interesting time to be doing ‘A Christmas Carol' for all of us; we talked about it as a cast. . . . Now,it's a different day, thank goodness. But we know the rest of the story; it was kind of hard to grasp the gravity last year."
For him, one of the big moments in each performance is when Scrooge re-engages with the community he had shunned for so long. On opening night, he said, he grabbed fellow actor SkudR Jones' hand during the closing number to underscore that message.
"It's meaningful to me to carry that sense of community on and to drive home (Scrooge's) realization of the importance of neighbors and community," Bonner said.
Dec. 4th, 2010 - Gruene, TX – Gruene Market Days
Presented By: The Company Theatre – Featuring: J. Damian Gillen
Even in December, as the leaves on the trees begin to curl and turn brown, Central Texas can still be a relatively warm place. Such was the case on a late fall afternoon in Gruene as temperatures climbed well into the 80’s and the sun beat relentlessly down. It could only have been magic, then… the magic of Christmas and the magic of actor J. Damian Gillen, which transformed a semi-circle of hay bales in the warm Texas sun into the cold, gray, wintry streets of Victorian-era London.
“Bah Humbug!” Gillen’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol”, is currently enjoying its eighth season. The stage production is presented by the San Antonio based Company Theatre (at which Gillen is artistic director). “Bah Humbug!” grows more popular with each passing year. Since 2003 it has been performed at theaters, schools, town centers, prisons, churches, and private functions across Texas. Gillen’s performances have been enjoyed by thousands and have become a holiday tradition for many Texas families.
As the show begins, Gillen enters the stage carrying a large book and opens it to tell the story. Soon, his voice and demeanor are that of Scrooge himself, then the dutiful Bob Cratchit, and so on. Every character in the story, every ghost, every narration, and even Tiny Tim,is portrayed brilliantly and lovingly by Gillen. With the assistance ofa small collection of props (hats, wigs, jackets, and the like), and a few well-placed special effects, Gillen makes seamless transitions from one character into the next.
Each portrayal, whether fun loving, sincere, callous or judgmental, captures the attention and refuses to let go. Gillen’s spot-on comedic timing isthe ideal companion for Dickens’ subtle sense of humor and he laughs, cries, sings, and wisecracks through dialog at a rapid pace. The audience is left breathless, at times, but contented to be so.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the performance is the obvious affection that Gillen has for his subject matter. His belief in forgiveness and the power of Scrooge’s redemption give the old familiar story an air of timeless relevance. As the tale comes to a close, and the audience once again emerges into the bright Texas midday sun, Tiny Tim’s words serve as a reminder of the story’s simple and powerful lesson. “God bless us, Every One!”
by, A. C. Eshleman “Ace”
"Beyond my expectations. this was a wonderful show & Mr Gillen is
incredible, amazing actor. I look forward to the next show."
This show is available for your school, church, fundraising event, town Christmas celebrations, private party or dinner theatre. THIS PRODUCTION IS NOW RESERVATIONS FOR BOOKING FOR 2013 & 2014.
CLICK HERE TO SEE PAST BAH HUMBUG PRODUCTIONS
More Reviews & Testimonials:
"BAH HUMBUG! is sure to delight audiences the world over."
--Rave Reviews Magazine
"He is absolutely amazing."
--San Antonio Express News.
"Bah Humbug is an affirmation of charity and redemption and Christianity that the world needs right now!"
--Dr. Samara Cahill, University of Notre Dame