Comic ‘Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge’ holds court at Prince William Little Theatre

Prince William Little Theatre tackles a holiday sequel inspired by A Christmas Carol, a comedy by Mark Brown: The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge. The play premiered in 2004 at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. It has since been performed at schools, colleges, and community theaters. Directed for Prince William Little Theatre by Terri Ritchey, the play focuses on Ebenezer Scrooge, nicely played by Cliff Rieger, one year after the events of Christmas Eve and all that transpired that night. Scrooge is back to his old ways and is suing Jacob Marley (Garth Porter) and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future for breaking and entering, kidnapping, slander, pain and suffering, attempted murder, and causing emotional distress.

Christmas Past takes the stand. Heather Fife (front center) as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Jon Radulovic (front left) as Solomon Rothschild, Clifford Rieger (front right) as Ebenezer Scrooge, and Scott Olson (right side) as Mr. Connolly the Bailiff in ‘The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge.’ Photo by Amanda Elena Photography.

Scrooge represents himself (to save money), and Solomon Rothschild, finely acted by Jon Radulovic, represents the ghosts. Presiding over all of this and giving commanding performances are Michael Mehaffey as Judge Pearson and Scott Olson as the Bailiff, Mr. Connolly. The best comedic performances were from Matthew Scarborough as Frederick Fitzpatrick and Heather Fife as Mrs. Fan Scrooge Fitzpatrick/Belle/Ghost of Christmas Past.

I found the scene with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Matthew Scarborough) and the Translator (Ellen Woodstock) somewhat repetitive, however. It was funny the first few lines and then seemed distracting.

This was my first time seeing The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge. The concept of the play taking place one year after the events of Christmas Eve in A Christmas Carol was intriguing.  There were similarities in both about having to take inventory of past behaviors and how they affect the people around you. I am always for a chance at redemption, and both plays do a good job of this. I prefer the storytelling in A Christmas Carol, but I understand the more comedic take in The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge.

The technical components were all executed quite well by Peter Ponzini, lighting design; Wil Taft, sound design; and Kurt Gustafson, special effects. There were some unbelievably cute little helpers with the evidence presented in a slide show (names not mentioned in the program). The courtroom set design was cleverly done by Nick Mastrangelo.

Marley on the stand. Garth Porter (front) as Jacob Marley, Michael Mehaffey (back) as Judge Pearson, Scott Olson (right side) as Mr. Connolly the Bailiff in ‘The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge.’ Photo by Amanda Elena Photography.

The theme of the play still fits the holiday spirit, and all the actors are to be commended for bringing this play to life. There were various ages in the audience, with young children generating quite a few laughs. And there was a sing-a-long printed in the program, which didn’t happen but would have been a fitting way to close the show.

Running Time: Approximately two hours, which includes a 15-minute intermission.

The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge plays through 18, 2022, presented by Prince William Little Theatre performing at the Gregory Family Theatre at Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, VA. Purchase tickets ($20 adult; $17 senior, student, active and retired military; $13 youth) online or over by phone, 703-993-7759 (Tuesday to Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM).

Upcoming performances
Sunday, December 11 at 2 p.m.
Friday, December 16 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 17 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, December 17 at 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 18 at 2 p.m.

COVID Safety: Face coverings are recommended for indoor events at the Hylton Center.

The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge
By Mark Brown

Cast: Cliffe Rieger (Ebenezer Scrooge), Michael Mehaffey (Judge Pearson), Jon Radulovic (Solomon Rothschild), Garth Porter (Jacob Marley), Scott Olson (Mr. Connolly the Bailiff), Matthew Scarborough (Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come), Ricardo Padilla, Ellen Woodstock (Translator), Heather Fife (Ghost of Christmas Past), Erika Horton, and Keith Scarborough.

Director: Terri Ritchey
Asst. Director: Robert Jordan
Producer: Chrissy Mastrangelo
Stage Manager: Jason Crosby
Asst. Stage Manager: David Ritchey
Backstage Manager: Vincent Calhoun
Set Design/Master Contractor: Nick Mastrangelo
Set Construction: Nick Mastrangelo, Mia Villani, Tim McCleery, and Cast
Costumes: Michelle Matthews, Susy Moorstein
Lighting Design: Peter Ponzini
Sound Design: Wil Taft
Special Effects: Kurt Gustafson
Sound Engineer: Skyler DeGroot
Props: Becky Gould-Levine, Melanie McCleery
Dialect Coach: Carol Strachan
Hair and Make-up: Erin Briner
Publicity/Marketing: Becky Gould-Levine
Photography: Amanda Elena Photography
Graphic Art: Kathryne Mastrangelo
Program: Chrissy Mastrangelo

Scrooge and Rothschild in the Trial of the Century. Jon Radulovic (front right) as Solomon Rothschild and Clifford Rieger (front left seated) as Ebenezer Scrooge in ‘The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge.’ Photo by Amanda Elena Photography.