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Scrooge: The Musical is a 1992 stage musical with book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse.[1] Its score and book are closely adapted from the music and screenplay of the 1970 musical film Scrooge starring Albert Finney and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Bricusse was nominated for an Academy Award for the song score he wrote for the film, and most of those songs were carried over to the musical.

Scrooge
The Musical
MusicLeslie Bricusse
LyricsLeslie Bricusse
BookLeslie Bricusse
BasisScrooge (1970 film) and Dickens' A Christmas Carol
Productions1992 Birmingham
1993 Melbourne
1994 Tokyo
1996 West End
2003-14 UK and Ireland tour
2004 Chicago
2005 West End revival
2012 West End revival
2013 Tokyo revival
2017 Leicester (theatre)

SynopsisEdit

Act OneEdit

The musical opens with the company singing a Christmas carol medley as the city of London begins to reminisce over the coming of Christmas ("Sing A Christmas Carol"). Meanwhile, Scrooge and his clerk Bob Cratchit are visited by Scrooge's nephew Harry, who in contrast to his uncle, is excited for Christmas and deplores how he is making Cratchit still work at 7pm on Christmas Eve. Scrooge asks him to leave. After work, Bob Cratchit, his disabled son Tiny Tim and his daughter Kathy go Christmas shopping on the streets of London ("Christmas Children"). Later, Scrooge walks around London, demanding the money that is owed to him by the businesspeople of London, and we learn of Scrooge's negative reputation throughout the people of London, especially soup caterer Tom Jenkins, who leads the angry crowd in despise of Scrooge ("Father Christmas"/"I Hate People").

Scrooge is visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley, his business partner who has been dead for the past seven years, who tells Scrooge to ("Make The Most Of This World") or else the afterlife will be bad for him. He informs Scrooge that he is to be visited by three spirits at 1am, 2am and 3am respectively. Marley also explains the significance of a chain he is wearing - the chain has been built up of sins in life. As Marley leaves, Scrooge is angry at the thought that he is in the wrong for hating Christmas ("It's Not My Fault").

He is visited by the first spirit - the Ghost of Christmas Past - who takes Scrooge back to when he was a small boy who preferred not to take part in Christmas activities and carols ("Sing a Christmas Carol (Reprise)"). The child Ebenezer is visited by his sister Jenny, who takes Ebenezer, who is reluctant to go home to his father due to a troubled relationship, back home. Scrooge is confused as to why the visions are not communicating with him, to which the ghost replies that these are shadows of the things that have been. Scrooge is then taken forward to his teenage years, to a party held by his then boss, Mr. Fezziwig ("December the 25th"). Scrooge reminisces of his relationship with Fezziwig's daughter, Isabel ("Happiness"), but we learn that she eventually leaves Scrooge as she feels their love has been negated by his desire for wealth. Scrooge and Young Ebenezer reflect on the situation ("You...You"). The Ghost of Christmas Past reveals to Scrooge that she is the ghost of his sister Jenny, who died young. She tells a heartbroken Scrooge to ("Love While You Can") before leaving him in a state of anguish ("It's Not My Fault (Reprise)").

As the bell tolls 2, Scrooge is visited by the next ghost, the Ghost of Christmas Present. He tells Scrooge that he is part of a group of brothers who, each year, send one down to Earth to spread the joy of Christmas - and this year is his turn. He is appalled by Scrooge and teaches him to find the joy in living ("I Like Life").

Act TwoEdit

Scrooge is taken by the Ghost of Christmas Present to Bob Cratchit and his family, who are preparing for Christmas ("Good Times") and listening to Tiny Tim sing ("The Beautiful Day"), while Scrooge wonders if the ill Tiny Tim will survive. Scrooge is then taken to his son Harry's Christmas party, where he learns that a tradition at the party has become to drink to the health of Scrooge, as well as playing a singing game called ("The Minister's Cat"). Because the song was often sung at Fezziwig's parties, Scrooge is again reminded of his failed relationship with Isabel ("Happiness (Reprise)"). As the Ghost of Christmas Present leaves, Scrooge wonders if he can truly find ("A Better Life") to live.

Finally, Scrooge is visited by the mute Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, who silently communicates via pointing in the direction he wants Scrooge to travel. First, they visit Tom Jenkins and a chorus of people who owed Scrooge money, who are all singing about an unusually generous thing that Scrooge has done that has made them all thankful to him. Unbeknown to Scrooge, they are actually celebrating his death, yet Scrooge is oblivious ("Thank You Very Much"). The uplifted Scrooge is now taken to the Cratchit household, which is sitting in silence, with the absence of Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. The ghost takes Scrooge to a graveyard, where Bob is mourning the death of Tiny Tim and reciting the song he sung the Christmas before ("The Beautiful Day (Reprise)"). It is then revealed that Scrooge is buried in the same graveyard, and Scrooge realises his own imminent demise with shock. He is visited again by Jacob Marley, who reveals that Scrooge has gone to Hell, and Lucifier has appointed Scrooge as his personal assistant, before revealing Scrooge's chain, that was so big that it was not immediately ready for his arrival to Hell. Scrooge is mortified as he is dragged away by demons.

To his shock, Scrooge wakes up in his bedroom on Christmas Day - still alive and not in Hell. He is grateful and vows to change his ways in the time he has left ("I'll Begin Again"). He begins going around London, forgiving people of their debts and giving out Christmas presents while dressed up as Father Christmas. Everyone in London who was previously against Scrooge is now massively grateful to him for changing his ways ("Finale"). Scrooge reinstates his vow to celebrate Christmas and be kind to people ("I'll Begin Again (Reprise)") before a reprise of Thank You Very Much is sung during the bows ("Curtain Call"/"Thank You Very Much (Reprise)").

ProductionsEdit

UK and Ireland productionsEdit

Leslie Bricusse spent several months with the director Bob Tomson adapting the screenplay for the stage. Tomson recommended appointing designer, Paul Farnsworth, to the team and established a Victorian theatre style for all the locations, illusions and characters. Initially the ghost illusions were entrusted to Paul Daniels, but he was replaced after the first production with Paul Kieve.

The original production starred Anthony Newley as Scrooge and opened on 9 November 1992 at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.[2] The cast also included Stratford Johns, Tom Watt and Jon Pertwee. The production later transferred to the West End, starring Newley, at the Dominion Theatre from 12 November 1996 to 1 February 1997.

Bill Kenwright produced a remount of the original production which toured the UK and Ireland for the Christmas seasons between 2003 and 2013 starring Tommy Steele in the title role (with the exceptions of Shane Richie in the 2005 and 2007 tours and Michael Barrymore in the 2006 tour. The show was on hiatus for the 2008 Christmas season). The production transferred into the West End starring Steele for the 2005 (while Richie toured an identical production) and 2012 Christmas seasons at the London Palladium, making Steele the record-holder for the most performances headlined at the Palladium.

A brand new production will be presented at the Curve Theatre in Leicester from 18 November 2017 to 14 January 2018, directed by Curve artistic director Nikolai Foster for the musical's 25th anniversary. It will also be produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian and is expected to tour the UK in the Christmas 2018 season.[3]

Australian productionEdit

After premiering in Birmingham, the original UK production traveled to Australia featuring Keith Michell, Max Gillies, Tony Taylor and William Zappa, ran from November 1993 to January 1994 at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne.[4]

U.S. productionsEdit

The American premiere opened on 26 October 2004 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre in Chicago. This production was produced by Bill Kenwright and starred Richard Chamberlain in the title role.

It has also been performed by the Spring Lake Theater Company in Spring Lake, New Jersey, every Christmas season since 1982. Mark E. Fleming originated the production at Spring Lake and has staged the production at the Premier Theatre Co since its founding in 1987.

Another production of the show has been performed since 1982 by The Players Of Utica, located in Utica, New York. Director Peter Loftus has been the only director for the show during the entire run, which celebrated its 30th year in 2012. The production has become an annual community event during the holidays, in terms of both audiences and casts. The 2012 cast was one of the largest of its 30-year run, with over 250 members. The show regularly does a community performance for local schools and senior programs. Turnout for this annual performance has exceeded 1,500 students from area schools.

Japanese productionEdit

CharactersEdit

Musical numbersEdit

Cast recordingsEdit

The original London cast recording featuring Anthony Newley as Scrooge was released by JAY Productions Ltd on 14 October 1997 and is currently available to purchase on iTunes.[6] A second cast recording of the 2005 London Palladium production with Tommy Steele was also released by Bill Kenwright Records and was available to purchase in the theatre foyers, however is currently not available to purchase or download.

A BBC recording of the Palace Theatre, Manchester, production, starring Anthony Newley in the title role, with Stratford Johns and Barry Howard, was first broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in 1994, and is occasionally rebroadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra.[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Bricusse, Leslie; Mark St Germain; Charles Dickens (1998). Scrooge (libretto). Published by Samuel French, Inc. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
  2. ^ "Scrooge". Musical Heaven. Retrieved 2011-07-20.
  3. ^ "Curve Theatre / CURVE ANNOUNCES BRAND NEW PRODUCTIONS OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER'S MASTERPIECE SUNSET BOULEVARD & LESLIE BRICUSSE'S MAGICAL FAMILY MUSICAL, SCROOGE". Curve Theatre / CURVE ANNOUNCES BRAND NEW PRODUCTIONS OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER’S MASTERPIECE SUNSET BOULEVARD & LESLIE BRICUSSE’S MAGICAL FAMILY MUSICAL, SCROOGE. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  4. ^ https://www.ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/20791
  5. ^ "Scrooge!". Scrooge!. Samuel French. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Scrooge (Original London Cast) by Scrooge & Various Artists on Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  7. ^ "Leslie Bricusse - Scrooge: The Musical". BBC iPlayer Radio. Retrieved 2017-12-26.