Last night, the Toledo Repertoire Theatre presented “A Christmas Carol” at the Valentine Theatre.
Based on Charles Dickens classic story, the Toledo audience watched an adaptation for the stage. Director Debra Ross Calabrese, David Jex and James M. Moran revised the story, but it is still faithful to the original story. The performance tells the story of greedy Ebenezer Scrooge and the spirits who visit him on Christmas Eve. One delightful difference was the music.
The talented cast danced, sang and kept the audience tapping its toes to the music. The ensemble cast comes from many different backgrounds and theatrical experiences. In this year’s production, 23 people make their first appearance in the annual “A Christmas Carol,” four people have been in it over 20 years, but only one has been involved every single year for 28 years: Eric Hillenbrand.
Hillenbrand is proud to have been a part of the show since its inception in 1985. He played Fred, Scrooge’s Nephew, in the first production. In yesterday’s performance, he played The Ghost of Christmas Present. Hillenbrand has extensive stage credits in the Greater Toledo community. His many leading roles include: “Beauty and the Beast” (Beast), “Pirates of Penzance” (Pirate King), “West Side Story” (Tony), and in last season’s “The Drowsy Chaperone” (Aldolpho). These are only a few of his roles, so you may think he has little time for anything else. Actually, off-stage, Hillenbrand is a successful developer and renovator of historic properties.
Paul Causman plays the lead role (Scrooge) this year and for the past 11 years. Acting has been a lifelong passion for Causman. He received his degree in theatre from Bowling Green State University, and he has had leading roles in many plays. Some of his credits include “Gypsy” (Herbie), “Our Town” (Stage Manager) and “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"(George). Currently a marketing director and graphic designer, Causman said he looks forward to this time of year, so he can reunite with old friends and make new ones while performing in “A Christmas Carol.”
Tickets still remain for tonight’s performance and the show tomorrow. Ticket prices are $27 for adults, $17 for children and seniors are $22. To purchase tickets and get show times, visit the Valentine Theatre’s website.