This time of year there is a plethora of holiday-themed shows and performances. Some stories never go out of style, such as Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. I recently got to see a Harlem version, aptly named A Christmas Carol in Harlem. This thought-provoking show was especially endearing, partly due to the three adorable children who played like seasoned pros and were a delight to watch.
In this version, Scrooge is a stingy Harlem real estate mogul who gets a visit by three ghosts and sees what his life was like in the past, what it is like now and what will happen in the future. As expected, in the end he becomes generous and helps those around him.
The show, created by the Classical Theatre of Harlem marks the beginning of the 100 year anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. I took my kids to see it and they all really liked it, for various reasons. My youngest, who is seven, was enthralled by the music and dancing, as the show is a little bit like a musical, where characters sing original modern songs, as well as Christmas carols. My older kids liked the message that the story conveys, about sharing and being a part of a community.
Scrooge, portrayed by Charles Bernard Murray, doesn’t sing until the end but it’s definitely worth the wait; what a voice – he sounded amazing! The three kids who portray Tiny Timothia, young Scrooge and his friend (played by Emery Jones, Kaden Jones and Reed Harris Butts, respectively) were so talented – on top of their incredible voices they were amazing dancers as well and just so adorable (Tiny Timothia did not dance as she has crutches).
The adult performers in the show also did a fantastic job – most notably Gabrielle Djenne who played Belle, Scrooge’s love interest when he was a young man, and the dancers, who were top-notch.
Overall, the show, directed by Carl Cofield and adapted by Shawn Rene Graham, was very nicely done and portrayed life in Harlem today and the day-to-day struggles such as affordable housing and health insurance that are prevalent there and in other parts of our country. My older kids seemed to understand some of those issues while younger son enjoyed the basic story. I loved that the show is very affordable – it’s not easy to find a lot of well-done shows in our area where the price is $10 per child!
The show is 70 minutes long with no intermission. I would recommend it for kids ages 5 and up. (It’s also helpful if they are familiar with the story before the show). The theater is pretty small and has a thrust stage, so there is no bad seat in the house.
When: Through December 21, 2019
Where: Aaron Davis Hall
115 Convent Ave. (corner of 135th St.) NYC
Price: $35 per person; $10 students/children/seniors
To purchase tickets call (866) 811-4111 or click here.
Photos by Jill Jones
I was not compensated for this post. I received tickets.
Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman is a freelance writer and has written for several blogs, including The Huffington Post. She has been living in the New York City area for nineteen years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree. Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to three kids, ages 12, 10 and 7.