Songwriters Krieger and Birkenhead to Haul Out the Holly for Christmas Carol 1941 in D.C.

News   Songwriters Krieger and Birkenhead to Haul Out the Holly for Christmas Carol 1941 in D.C. Dreamgirls composer Henry Krieger is pairing with lyricist Susan Birkenhead to pen songs for Arena Stage's holiday world premiere, A Christmas Carol 1941.
Henry Krieger
Henry Krieger Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Adapted by James Magruder from Charles Dickens' durable "A Christmas Carol," the show will be staged by Arena artistic director Molly Smith Nov. 16-Dec. 30 on Arena's Fichandler stage.

"In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Washington, D.C. prepares to celebrate Christmas," according to production notes. "The Schroen family keeps the holiday spirit alive in spite of shortages, a housing crunch and a son who wants to enlist despite his mother's fears. Ensconced in his G Street office, Elijah Strube doesn't care about the holiday or battling tyranny. He can only think about making lots of money. After three local spirits take him on an incredible journey across time, a reformed Strube is committed to serving his community, country and fellow man."

The musical will feature everything from "a high-energy USO dance" to "White House fireside chats.

Smith said in production notes, "Jim Magruder's profoundly moving reinvention of A Christmas Carol is about Washington, D.C. people, places and events during a challenging time in our history. In fact, Jim based the Schroens (his version of the Cratchits) on his own maternal grandparents, who lived near the Navy Yard. Jim's masterful recreation of a well-known tale takes us into delightful and unexpected new territory as Strube learns the importance of shared sacrifice for a just cause."

Magruder penned the Broadway musical Triumph of Love. Krieger wrote the scores of Dreamgirls, Side Show and The Tap Dance Kid. He won a Grammy for the "Dreamgirls" soundtrack and has been nominated for multiple Academy and Tony Awards during his career. Birkenhead wrote lyrics for Broadway's Jelly's Last Jam, Triumph of Love and additional lyrics to High Society. She and Krieger are working on the new musical The Flamingo Kid.

No casting has been announced for A Christmas Carol 1941.

For more information, visit www.arenastage.org.

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