A Huron County Christmas Carol: Greed, Redemption and Rollicking Tunes.

Rachael King Blog

BLYTH, ON – For the first time in its 45 year history, the Blyth Festival is presenting its inaugural full-out professional Christmas show, A Huron County Christmas Carol. With a star-studded cast, and live original music, this is the Dickens’ classic updated and set in farm country in 2019.

Adapted by Blyth Festival Artistic Director Gil Garratt, with tunes by local songwriter John Powers, the show features rousing toe-tappers like Jacob Marley’s “These Are The Chains I Forged in Life”, and Belle’s bluesy break-up ballad “So Caught Up in the Money”, with the multi-talented cast on piano, guitars, mandolin, concertina, and musical saw.

The story follows Ebeneezer Scrooge, who, together with his business partner Jacob Marley have bought up every feed mill from Windsor to Tobermory, consolidating their empire Scrooge & Marley Mills. With every farmer in the province under his thumb, and millions in the bank, Scrooge (a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner) refuses to give a single dime to charity. High time three ghosts took him out behind the barn to teach him a thing or two.

Alone on Christmas Eve, Scrooge’s miserly ways are challenged, when the ghost of Christmas Past takes him back to his childhood mansion on the bluffs in Goderich, and takes him to see his old boss, Doc Cruickshank, at a CKNX Barndance where he met the love of his life. The second spirit shows Scrooge his own devoted nephew (a sandal-wearing organic farmer) partying without him, and takes him through the window into the home of his employee Bob Cratchit, and his sickly son Tiny Tim.  Just when Scrooge thinks he’s seen enough, the final spirit shows him the business end of Cemetery Line.

Award-winning Canadian actor, Randy Hughson, stars as Scrooge. With thirteen consecutive seasons on the Stratford Festival stage, Hughson’s career has taken him coast to coast and around the world, performing on every mainstage in Canada from Halifax to Victoria. He was last seen on the Blyth Festival stage in World Without Shadows, and The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom. Hughson is joined by veteran performer Marek Norman as Jacob Marley (Billy Bishop Goes to War), Greg Gale (Stag and Doe, Kitchen Radio, Vimy), and Marion Day (Wing Night at the Boot, Beyond the Farm Show, Rope’s End). They are joined by Festival newcomers Graham Hargrove (percussionist and 2018’s 2nd place International Bones Playing Champion), along with rising Canadian country-music star Alicia Toner who plays the heartbroken Belle. Also making his stage debut is 12-year-old Stratford native, Jonah Manley, as Tiny Tim.

Garratt says of the production “I am blown away by this cast, the songs are phenomenal, the story is all heart, this really feels like a Christmas miracle. It’s also a chance for audiences to come see the Village of Blyth at Christmas time, the lights, the decorations. Rumour has it there may even be mulled wine at intermission. I think this is the start of a new tradition.”

The creative team for A Huron County Christmas Carol is: Steve Lucas: set and lighting designer, Jennifer Triemstra: costume designer, Verne Good: sound designer, John Powers & Marek Norman: Co-Music Supervisors. Stage management by Leigh McClymont and Kate Hennigar.

Reserve your seats by calling the Box Office at 519.523.9300, Toll Free 1.877.862.5984 or online at blythfestival.com/ahuroncountychristmascarol

Blyth Festival acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, Season Sponsor Sparlings Propane, and Season Media Sponsor CTV, Season Hospitality Sponsor Cowbell Brewing Company, and New Play Development Sponsor Bruce Power.

AT A GLANCE

A Huron County Christmas Carol | November 28-December 22

Adapted and Directed by Gil Garratt

Songs by John Powers

TICKETS: $43 orchestra | $39 balcony | $15 youth | Preview: $20 adults

BOX OFFICE:  519.523.9300 | Toll Free: 1.877.862.5984 | Online: www.blythfestival.com

DATES OF NOTE

November 28 – Preview at 8pm

November 29 – Opening Night at 8pm

December 22 – Closing performance at 2pm

COUNTRY SUPPERS

Selected Fridays and Saturdays – Enjoy a home-cooked meal served at a local venue at 6:15pm

Tickets are $22 each and may be booked by calling the Blyth Festival Box Office

GALLERY SHOW

In conjunction with the run of the play, the Blyth Festival Art Gallery is presenting a special, first-time venture. The Holiday Show and Sale will give Christmas shoppers a chance to choose from a wide selection of locally-created art works. Show co-ordinator Kelly Stevenson has announced that more than a dozen artists were selected for the show, chosen for the quality and professionalism of their work.

Among the various media on display are fibre art, wood-working, pottery, pastels, drawings, painting, encaustic, photography, sculpture and jewelry. For this event, people will be able to take their items home with them at the time of the purchase.

The Show is a fundraiser, with a percentage of sales going to the Festival. The Holiday Show and Sale will be located in the Bainton Gallery, next to the Festival box office and will operate during the same hours as the box office.

TRANSPORTATION

For two dates only! Leave the driving to us!

519tours will drive you to Blyth and back home from two locations.

Dates:   Wednesday December 4 performance at 2pm. Pick up in Goderich at 12:00 noon.

Wednesday December 11 performance at 8pm. Pick up in Stratford at 5:30 pm.

Stop at Cowbell Brewery for a beer and then the show!

Cost to and from Goderich is $52; Cost to and from Stratford $58. Includes an orchestra ticket, a beer at Cowbell and return transportation. Visit https://519tours.ca/tours for more information.

 Blyth Festival is a professional theatre that enriches the lives of its audience by producing and developing plays that give voice to both the region and the country. The Festival produces a repertory summer season of exclusively Canadian theatre, with an emphasis on new work. The Blyth Centre for the Arts, including the Blyth Festival, was founded in 1975.

Photo: Randy Hughson as Scrooge. Photo by Terry Manzo