JCJC Theater department debuts, “A Christmas Carol”

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2013-11-18 09:50:32

ELLISVILLE – Christmas at Jones County Junior College is taking on a new look with the JCJC Musical Theater Department’s premiere of an original version of the play, “A Christmas Carol.” Guest director, Rob Mulholland has written his version of the classic Charles Dickens’ tale, which remains the same with a few modern twists.  Themusic for the play was arranged by Tammy Mansfield of Hattiesburg. The JCJC version of “A Christmas Carol” will be presented at the M.P. Bush Fine Arts Theater on Friday and Saturday, December 6, and 7, at 7 p.m., and on Sunday, December 8, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased in advance at the Fine Arts Office, or at the door before performances. JCJC students get in free with a valid ID. 
This is the first time a show has been written especially for JCJC’s musical theater students.   Musical Producer, Nikki Johnson explained, “As we prepared for a Christmas themed show, we discovered they were long and somewhat boring. So, we decided to create our own! We’ve chosen our favorite Christmas tunes to include in the show and catered the characters and the music, to the unique abilities of our students.”
Some of those favorite tunes include, Joy to the World, Deck the Halls, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, and some not-so-Christmassy tunes covering a variety of style periods and genres. 
Johnson added, “We thought our area needed a beautiful Christmas show that would remind people of the true meaning of Christmas and get us in the holiday spirit!”

The familiar redemption story takes place in London in 1863, and features a talented cast of two dozen singers and actors. Being British didn’t come easy for these native Southerners. To help sound more authentic, Johnson said they turned to a British dialect coach to help students sound like they came from England. 

 “They are having a blast working on it, but it has been a challenge to stay committed to the British in every single word of the script and not let our Southern slip in,” said Johnson.
“I love being a part of such a wonderful theatre department. Being in ‘A Christmas Carol’ has given me one of the greatest learning opportunities,” said JCJC Theater veteran, Hillary Smith of Lucedale who plays Martha Cratchit.
Newcomer to the JCJC Theater from Hattiesburg, Harlan Mapp will set the tone as the main character, Scrooge. The Forrest County Agricultural High School graduate however, is not new to the stage.

“Of all the productions I have been a part of none have been so open and respecting of every level of talent that make up our cast. It is a great privilege to be a part of such a well-oiled program here at JCJC,” Mapp said.  “A special thank you goes to Rob Mulholland and all he does for the arts here at JCJC and abroad. Of all the Christmas Carol performances ever done, be prepared to witness something new and truly spectacular!”

Another cast member from JCJC’s spring play, Laci Wynn of Moselle, said making the transition from the small and intimate cast in “Smoke on the Mountain,” to a cast that is significantly larger in a Christmas Carol was a little tough but rewarding.
“I believe the audience will fall in love with all of the characters and the magical world of London during the most wonderful time of the year. I have loved every moment of rehearsal with the cast, and I can't wait for opening night!” said Wynn who plays the Ghost of Christmas Past.
Also joining the JCJC cast is seven year-old, Jayden Myrick who plays Tiny Tim and Little Ebenezer Scrooge, and eight year-old, Gracie Travis of Laurel who plays Lucy Cratchit and Fan. As the group continues practicing, the enthusiasm surrounding this show is evident as though it was Christmas Day. Johnson said she is expecting the largest turn-out we've ever had to attend a play, at this Christmas show.  Hopefully, all 1,300 seats will be filled in every performance because she said, “This is another JCJC production you won’t want to miss!”
For more information contact the JCJC Fine Arts department at 601-477-4094.
Cast of Characters:
Scrooge- Harlan Mapp of Hattiesburg
Bob Cratchit- Brian Doyle of Taylorsville
Fred- George Hensarling of Petal
Marley, Goose Lad- Ricky Chambers of Wayne County
Fezziwig, Ghost of Christmas Present- Karston Smith of Hattiesburg
Young Scrooge, Peter Cratchit- James Cooley, Jr. of Hopkinsvillle, Kentucky
Beggar, Martha Cratchit- Hillary Smith of Lucedale
Belinda Cratchit- Hanna Lester of Magee
Collector for the Poor, Mary- Victoria Smith of Chicora (Wayne County)
Mrs. Cratchit- Morgan Scott of Meadville
Tiny Tim and Little Ebenezer- Jayden Myrick of Laurel
Lucy Cratchit and Fan- Gracie Travis of Laurel
Belle- Katelyn Smith of Myrick/ Laurel
Mrs. Fezziwig- Caitlyn Shows of Hattiesburg
Collector for the Poor- Hannah Hodges of Ellisville
The Ghost of Christmas Past- Laci Wynn of Moselle
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come- Erin Brady of Ellisville
Stage Manager- Kristen Hallman of Raleigh
Assistant Stage Manager- Taylor Thrash of Hattiesburg  
Arianna Harrison- McComb
Carrie Lee Harrison- Raleigh
Stephanie Smith- Petal
Ashley Longino- Hattiesburg
Rohini Malakani- Hattiesburg
Kaci Beasley- Hot Coffee
Haley Mabile- Petal
Michael Clark- Ellisville
Moses Anderson- Columbia
D'Quan Varnado-Hattiesburg
James Mahalak-Petal


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