42nds Scrooge In Love 216

Scrooge in Love!

Scrooge in Love!  Musical. Music by Larry Grossman, Lyrics by Kellen Blair, Book by Duane Poole. Directed by Dyan McBride. 42nd Street Moon, Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

It’s a year after the fabled story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his fateful meeting with his late partner Jacob Marley and the three Ghosts of Christmas (past, present and future). In this sparkling, clever sequel we discover the root of his bitterness is an empty heart and Scrooge in Love! with its lovely score and creative story, provides just the cure he needs.

Melissa Reinertson as Belle. Photo by Ben Krantz Studio.

Melissa Reinertson as Belle. Photo by Ben Krantz Studio.

Now in its second incarnation, 42nd Street Moon presents an expanded rendition of last year’s smash hit, adding one new song (“How Did I Survive”), an encore of” You Can’t Put a Price on Love” and a larger cast. Dyan McBride once again directs this handsome production that looks like a million bucks, thanks to the creative team that brings to life the Dickensian world of 1840’s Scrooge. Kudos to Music Director Dave Dobrusky, Choreographer Staci Arriaga, Lighting Designer Kevin August Landesman, Scenic Designer Kuo-Hao Lo, Costume Designer Rebecca Valentino and Stage Manager Sara Sparks.

The Cast of Scrooge in Love! Photo by Ben Krantz Studio.

The Cast of Scrooge in Love! Photo by Ben Krantz Studio.

Larry Grossman (Minnie’s Boys, Goodtime Charly, A Doll’s Life) has created a beautiful score with lyricist Kellen Blair. Songs like Scrooge’s lament “A Kitchen Built for Twenty” and “The Hours in Between” and “Sad I’m Dead” are cleverly crafted classics. Duane Poole, writer of A Christmas Memory, based on t Truman Capote classic, is at the top of his game with this crowd-pleasing entry to the holiday season repertoire that last year won two Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards (Original Score and Script).

Great sets, lighting, staging, direction and orchestrations can all go for naught without a stellar cast and Scrooge in Love! has been wonderfully cast. Ryan Drummond reprises his role as the forlorn, shackled ghost of Jacob Marley, having just won a Theatre Bay Area Award as Outstanding Male Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for last year’s production. Heather Orth (Julianna, Mrs. Fezziwig), Mellissa Reinertson (Belle, young Belle), Kalon Thibodeaux (young Scrooge), Will Springhorn Jr. (Ghost of Christmas Present) and Elise Youssef (Ghost of Christmas Past) all return from the original World Premiere cast and are excellent.

Award winner Jason Graae as Ebenezer Scrooge. Photo by Ben Krantz Studio.

Award winner Jason Graae as Ebenezer Scrooge. Photo by Ben Krantz Studio.

But the glue that holds this whole show together is the inimitable Jason Graae. A vibrant musical theater star, Graae demands your attention every minute he’s onstage, creating a relatable and sympathetic character. No wonder he just won the Theatre Bay Area Award for Outstanding Male Actor.  Graae allows us to feel Scrooge’s mended heart and that revelation is at the heart of Scrooge in Love! and makes it one very warm, satisfying theater experience.

Performances run through December 24th, 2016. www.42ndstmoon.org  415.225.8207