A Christmas Carol — with a twist of music and laughter
Review by Melanie Nelson

A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol is playing at St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre located in the Hudson House Grand Hotel, Hudson, WI.

It’s Christmas Eve 1943. World War II has been going on for years and the effects of the war are apparent in the lives of 10 part-time radio performers. Tonight they gather at the Hotel Aberdeen in Newark, New Jersey for the Mutual Broadcasting System and WOV’s live broadcast of the favorite Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol.

As they wait for a renown actor from Broadway to play their Ebenezer Scrooge, they learn that their beloved sound effectician has just enlisted in the military and will ship out after the holidays. This news sets up an underlying importance of this last performance for the gang.

WOV’s front man Clifton Feddington is expertly played by Walter Weaver. Weaver not only drives us seamlessly in and out of commercial announcements for BVDs, Lucky Strikes, and Ovaltine, but also back to chapter after chapter of A Christmas Carol. He holds the radio players up with a strong gracious hand that seems to reach through to the audience.

Many of the cast members, including Weaver, are new to this stage, but all have found a real home in the character that they play. Through the direction of Jim Zimmerman, these characters weave in and out of radio characters, jingles, and holiday tunes while moving continuously from mic to mic. Together they create an ensemble that is really fun to watch.

And that synchronization proves particularly important when, two-thirds into their A Christmas Carol radio theatre performance, the story completely derails and they have to pull together to make sense of the story for their radio listeners as if their lives depended on it.

The musical runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings through Jan. 2 with noon lunch matinees on Dec.12 and Jan. 2. The price – $62 for adults, $30 for children ages 6 to 12, matinees $44, and NYE $86 – includes dinner with nonalcoholic beverage, show, tip, and tax/handling fee. A Stay & Play package including dinner theatre with a room at the Hudson House Grand Hotel and breakfast is available. Get your tickets by calling 715-386-2394 ext. 333 or order them online at www.stcroixoffbroadway.com.

St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre

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