James Taylor will swap his guitar for a pot of greasepaint as he makes his theatrical debut in the classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol, presented by the Berkshire Theatre Group. He will be joined onstage by his wife Kim, and children Henry and Rufus. It’s going to be a true family-style tale as they go up against the original Scrooge created by Charles Dickins.
“I know that James will bring his inherent charm and gentleness to bear in his portrayal of Bob Cratchit, a good and unpretentious man. So it’s a thrill to direct James Taylor in his theatrical debut. The process for A Christmas Carol is one of celebration and sharing of our common humanity on a community level. And to work with Kim, Rufus and Henry Taylor again will only add to the joy.” – Kate Maguire, Artistic Director
A Christmas Carol will have a limited run of eleven performances from December 17–30 at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield. An annual production that previously was performed at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, it is a community production that sees friends and neighbors come together – this year for the first time on the Colonial stage.
Adapted by Eric Hill and co-directed by Hill and E. Gray Simons III will co-direct again feature not only James Taylor, but fellow company members Kim Taylor, Michael Brahce, Ralph Petillo, Gail Ryan and Chris Vecchia.
In addition to the award-winning musician and Berkshire local, it boasts of four graduate students from BTG’s partner academic institution, Brandeis University: Sarah Elizabeth Bedard, Sam Gillam, Brandon Green and Eddie Shields; plus three of Berkshire Theatre Group’s Artists-in-Residence, Rachael Balcanoff, Jacob Gold and Lauren Stanek; in addition to 20 children, representing nine different schools and seven different towns in the Berkshire area.
As if anyone needs reminding, A Christmas Carol is the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is reformed and shown the error of his ways by four spirits. It takes its audiences on a journey back to Victorian England to experience the suspenseful and sometimes scary story filled with terrific turns and infused with holiday music.
Kate Maguire, the Berkshire Theatre Groups CEO and Artistic Director said that this community production is dedicated to the memory of Jack Fitzpatrick. A Christmas Carol’s founding sponsor is The Fitzpatrick Family. Additional sponsors include Greylock Federal Credit Union and Berkshire Life, A Guardian Company.
Maguire explained that “My long-time collaborator, Eric Hill, and I recently engaged in a lively discussion regarding plays that may best serve the times we live in. As we spoke we recognized it is indeed this play, A Christmas Carol, which may be one of the greatest stories ever written about goodness and greed. We seek, in the theatre, to understand what it means to be human. We are honored to work with this diverse company to celebrate the spirit of Dickens, in this most perfect setting, at this most treasured time of year.”
Of working with James Taylor, director Eric Hill said, “It’s a thrill to direct James Taylor in his theatrical debut – the process for A Christmas Carol is one of celebration and sharing of our common humanity on a community level. I know that James will bring his inherent charm and gentleness to bear in his portrayal of Bob Cratchit, a good and unpretentious man. To work with Kim, Rufus and Henry Taylor again will only add to the joy.”
Details and Tickets
A Christmas Carol runs December 17–30 at The Colonial Theatre. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children. There are also sponsor tickets available for $100 for adults and $50 for children, which include a donation to the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Education Program.
Tickets will be on sale via phone at 413-997-4444 and walk up at 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201 to Berkshire County residents exclusively on Saturday 11/12 from 12pm-5pm, Sunday 11/13 from 10am-5pm and Monday 11/14 from 10am-5pm. On Tuesday 11/15 tickets will go on sale for all and will be available online at www.JamesTaylor.com as well as via phone and walk up. A maximum of four tickets may be purchased in any one transaction. Standard Ticket Office hours are Monday-Friday 10am–5pm, Saturdays 10am–2pm or on any performance day from 10am until intermission.
28 tickets from each performance will be donated to Charity Partners, a national fundraising platform dedicated to supporting the world’s most admired charities and a regular charitable platform for James Taylor tours and concerts. Charity Partners tickets are available on www.ticketsforcharity.com. 100% of the donations from this community production will be evenly split to benefit Berkshire National Resources Council and Berkshire Theatre Group. Donors will receive a premium seat to A Christmas Carol as well as guaranteed parking, a CD/DVD of James Taylor’s One Man Band, filmed at the Colonial, a copy of Nicholas Whitman’s book The Colonial Theatre: A Pittsfield Resurrection and a special holiday reception complete with cookies, hot chocolate and holiday cheer.
Tickets to A Christmas Carol have already been donated to The Academy at Charlemont, Berkshire Benevolent Association for the Blind, The Little Red School House, NA Women’s Softball League, The Berkshire Botanical Gardens, Berkshire Medical Center, The Richmond School, St. Helena’s Chapel, the Rudolf Steiner School, Berkshire Bank Foundation, Hillcrest Commons, Berkshire County Kids’ Place, Berkshire Health Systems and First United Methodist Church.
Eric Hill (Co-Director, Adaptor) will return to direct and play Scrooge for the sixth year in a row. This past summer Mr. Hill directed Berkshire Theatre Group’s production of The Who’s Tommy as well as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Neil Ellenoff Stage at the Mount. Additional BTG directing credits include Macbeth, Endgame, Faith Healer, The Einstein Project, Amadeus, The Glass Menagerie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Caretaker. Previous acting credits include A Man for All Seasons, Dimetos, and The Father. Mr. Hill also serves as the Louis, Francis and Jeffrey Sachar Professor of Theater Arts at Brandeis University.
E. Gray Simons III (Co-Director) has worked at Berkshire Theatre Group for more than a decade as an actor, playwright, teacher, and director. He most recently directed over 150 local community members in BTG’s production of The Wizard of Oz. Mr. Simons’ previous BTG directing credits include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Babes in Arms, Peter Pan, Oliver!, Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone, and Holiday Memories. Previous acting credits include One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Moby Dick Rehearsed and Wilder, Wilder.
Members of the Company
Rachael Balcanoff (Mrs. Fred, Chorus)
Sarah Elizabeth Bedard (Belle)
Lindsay Belair (Chorus)
Michael Brahce (Narrator)
Caroline Fairweather (Female Party Guest, Chorus)
Britt Faulkner (Ghost of Christmas Past)
Emma Foley (Fan, Chorus)
Daniel Garrity (Peter Cratchit)
Sam Gillam (Fred)
Jacob Gold (Dick Wilkins, Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Chorus)
Brandon Green (Ghost of Christmas Present)
Eric Hill (Scrooge)
Amy Kane (Martha Cratchit)
Hanna Koczela (Dorit Cratchit)
Emilee Logan (Tiny Tim)
Michelena Mastriani (Want, Chorus)
Connor McNinch (Chorus)
Ralph Petillo (Solicitor, Fezziwig, Man of Business)
Lydia Richardson (Chorus)
Gail Ryan (Mrs. Fezziwig, Charwoman)
Paul Santerella (Undertaker)
Brighton Sawyer (Chorus)
Abby Schilling (Chorus)
Reeve Schroder (Chorus)
Samuel Schroder (Ignorance, Chorus)
Eddie Shields (Young Scrooge, Topper)
E. Gray Simons III (Marley, Old Joe)
Lauren Stanek (Laundress, Chorus)
Henry Taylor (Student, Turkey Boy, Chorus)
James Taylor (Bob Cratchit)
Kim Taylor (Mrs. Cratchit)
Rufus Taylor (Younger Scrooge, Chorus)
Marcella Tenuta (Chorus)
Sophia Tenuta (Chorus)
Emelyn Theriault (Belle’s Daughter, Chorus)
Chris Vecchia (Belle’s Husband, Solicitor, Male Party Guest, Man of Business)
Members of the Design Team
Scenic Design by Carl Sprague, co-costume design by David Murin and Arthur Oliver, with original costume design by Jessica Risser-Milne, lighting design by Matthew E. Adelson and sound design by J Hagenbuckle.
Performance Dates and Times
Saturday, Dec 17 at 7pm (Opening Night)
Sunday, Dec 18 at 2pm
Tuesday, Dec 20 at 7pm
Wednesday, Dec 21 at 7pm
Thursday, Dec 22 at 7pm
Friday, Dec 23 at 7pm
Monday, Dec 26 at 7pm
Tuesday, Dec 27 at 7pm
Wednesday, Dec 28 at 7pm
Thursday, Dec 29 at 7pm
Friday, Dec 30 at 7pm