Much like Christmas itself, Madison Square Garden's lavish A Christmas Carol has become a perennial event. For the eighth consecutive year, Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens' holiday musical will fill the Theater at Madison Square Garden: Nov. 24-Dec. 29. (The Theater at Madison Square Garden is a 5,600-seat house in the greater MSG complex.)
Syndicated columnist Liz Smith reports (Sept. 9) that Tim Curry, filmdom's Frank `n' Furter in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," will play Ebenezer Scrooge this year. The timing is especially precipitous, since Rocky Horror is back on Broadway, and the current Rocky, Terrence Mann, played Scrooge in 1995. Mann has long been something of an artistic doppelganger for Curry, from their similar facial features to their growly baritones.
Curry's New York stage appearances have been rare, his last being the musical My Favorite Year. He also sang the music of Kurt Weill in a November 2000 all-star Actor's Fund benefit in Los Angeles.
Past Christmas pennypinchers have included Frank Langella (2000), Tony Roberts (1999), Roger Daltrey (1998), Hal Linden & Roddy McDowell (1997), Tony Randall (1996), Terrence Mann (1995) and Walter Charles (1994).
For tickets $29-$69 and information call (212) 307-4111. Carol's authors Menken and Ahrens had a busy 1999; Menken helped adapt Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame to the stage, while Ahrens and her co-writer Flaherty (Tony-winners for Ragtime) wrote Seussical. Even busier is choreographer Susan Stroman, whose Contact and The Music Man went head to-head at the 2000 Tonys, followed by her winning Tonys for directing and choreographing The Producers. Original Carol director Mike Ockrent died in late 1999.
Designing the spectacle of A Christmas Carol are Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer (lighting), William Ivey Long (costumes), Tony Walton (sets) and Tony Meola (sound). Flying is by Foy, musical direction by Paul Gemignani, with orchestrations by Michael Starobin and Douglas Besterman.
Based on Charles Dickens' novella, A Christmas Carol tells of a miserly businessman visited by three ghosts — Past, Present and Future — on Christmas Eve.
— By David Lefkowitz