For many it would not be Christmas without those famous words said by Tiny Tim, “and God bless us, everyone!” Your opportunity to hear those immortal words will be available again as the Sampson Community Theatre brings the Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” to its stage beginning Friday, Nov. 30 and continuing Saturday, Dec. 1, Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. The production is sponsored by Matthews Drugs and Jordan Shopping Plaza. The Sampson Community Theatre is located at 115 Fayetteville St., in Clinton.
Veteran director Dan Holland said he was pleased with preparations that have been made by all to have the show ready for opening night Friday.
“Bringing ‘A Christmas Carol’ to life on the stage of SCT has been a joy and a delight. We have so many first timers and many veterans for this production and they have combined their resources to entertain us with this seasonal favorite. Because Christmas carols are such a vital part of the celebrations and traditions we have incorporated several into the production to enhance the telling of our story,” expressed Holland.
“A Christmas Carol” is the Charles Dickens’ classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s reclamation. The three spirits of Christmas, Past, Present and Yet to Come are all there to help Scrooge find the truth of life.
Catherine Smith has been cast as Christmas Past. She is the daughter of Curtis and Ingrid Smith and younger sister of Curt Jr. Catherine is 13 and is in the seventh grade at Sampson Middle School. She is not new to the SCT stage having performed in seven productions prior to “A Christmas Carol,” including “Winnie the Pooh” and “The Elves and the Shoemaker.”
“I am so excited about having such a main character part in the play. I enjoy acting and I truly like this play. I think the reason I like it so much is because it is about such a special time of year…Christmas, and it puts us all in the Christmas spirit,” remarked Smith.
The ghost of Christmas Present has been cast to a new arrival in Clinton, Chad Lewis. In fact, Lewis moved to Clinton early due to getting the part. This will be his first production at SCT but it is certainly not his first show.It will be his 68th production filling many roles in theatres in Robeson County and Fayetteville. Lewis expressed his gratitude to his aunt and uncle, Don and Gail McClanahan, for allowing him this opportunity. He dedicates his performance to the memory of his mother. He works at Ruby Tuesday in Clinton.
“I am so glad to be here in Clinton. It is even more exciting to get cast in the part of Christmas Present and getting to know so many people here at the theatre. I was surprised to get such a major role but Mr. Holland has done a great job with the cast. This is the first time in five productions of “A Christmas Carol” that I have been in that I have had such a great role. This production is going to be great and I encourage people to come and out and see the abundance of talent here in Clinton” asserted Lewis.
Another veteran of SCT, Randolph Barnes II, a freshman at Clinton High School, will be playing the role of Christmas Yet to Come. Barnes states that he loves to entertain and acting is just a part of the many things he loves to do. “A Christmas Carol” is his fourth production at SCT.
“The spirit of Christmas Yet to Come is a very interesting and challenging part, but it a great part and fun for me to do. I am surprised to cast in such a vital role in this production because there are just so many talented people in the cast. Mr. Dan has done a fantastic job with choosing people for the right role. The play is going to be great and people should really come out and see it. They will be entertained,” stated Barnes.
The role of Bob Cratchit has been filled with a first timer on the SCT stage, John Lowe. Lowe was director of bands at Clinton High School for 15 years and is currently an instructional technology facilitator for Clinton City Schools. He has directed the pit orchestra for several past productions at SCT but this will be his first on stage performance. His acting experience includes the roles of Luther Billis in South Pacific and Sky Materson in Guys and Dolls.
“It exciting to get back on stage. It has been a while. The boys, (Carter Lowe, Turkey boy; and Jackson Lowe, Tiny Tim Cratchit), both wanted to be in the play so I decided that we should make it an entire family affair,” explained Lowe. “It has been a real challenge to learn all the music and lines with our hectic schedules. But I am truly enjoying doing this together will my family,” added Lowe.
John’s wife, Vevlyn Lowe is also in the production in the role of Mrs. Cratchit. It will be her first one stage performance at SCT.
Holland added to his earlier comments by saying that preparing for this production has been greatly facilitated by the use of computer technology in that the lighting and sound effects will have a greater dimension during the production.
“I would like to personally thank John Lowe and Angela Martin for their aid to the director in ways to numerous to mention. Special thank yous also go to Wayne Hobbs of The Woodshed for the scenery frames assembly; Fran Lerkes of Smithfield Foods for the dry ice fog technical assistance; John Garton for serving as narrator; Tom Wilbur for poster and program creation and design; Tommy Herring of Hog Slat for the new stairs and handrails to the stage and to my brother Fred Holland for the use of his barn for props and set development,” asserted Holland.
Holland encourages the entire Clinton and Sampson County community to come see this year’s SCT production of “A Christmas Carol.” A cast of over 45 individuals are ready to entertain their audiences and to bring the Christmas spirit to all who attend.