The Palace has once again put a gigantic effort into the casting, preparation and playing of its holiday musical. As with Annie last year , Scrooge the Musical by Leslie Bricusse has a big cast -- 24 bio'd players plus 23 charmers in the three children's casts (designated Nickleby, Copperfield and Pickwick, recalling characters from Dickens). Except for six principals, the roles are double- or triple-cast, a policy of sharing out that must have made coordination of the 26 performances akin to writing up a railway timetable. Plus there's a live five-musician orchestra playing somewhere backstage.
Director Ron Watson cast some of my favorites -- the engaging and talented Joe Penrod as Scrooge; Justin Langford doubling as both young Ebenezer and as Scrooge's nephew; and Dale Schultz as the roundly epicurean Ghost of Christmas Past. These three played together in Watson's staging of Man of La Mancha on the same stage just over a year ago, and the most moving sequence in Scrooge the Musical features them. Penrod the baritone sings about Happiness and Langford the tenor replies; shortly afterward, Schultz the bass adds his reflections.
The audience had a fine time, and inevitably they rose to applaud when Penrod appeared at the curtain call.
From me, a couple of words for Leslie Bricusse, composer & librettist of this 1992 musicale, adapted from the 1970 Albert Finney film that Bricusse scored (and for which he won an Academy award):