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“It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol” comes to the California Center for the Arts

This December, the award-winning North County Players (For Best live presentation at the S.D. International Kids’ Film Festival) will present their 2017 holiday show, “It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol,” at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

The play, written and directed by author and longtime local journalist, Charles Carr, recounts the tale of one family and the small town in which they live, both trapped in the web of a heartless, greedy tycoon. Sound familiar? Don’t be so sure, because just when you think you know how everything is going to turn out, the story adds twists and surprises straight from the mind of none other than Charles Dickens. “It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol,” conveys powerful messages about love of family, faith, and redemption that will resonate with any audience member of any age.

The North County Players theater troupe will be a decade old in 2018. “It’s been a fun and rewarding ten years,” said the group’s vice-president, Marsi Carr. “Over that period, we’ve done a couple hundred shows at some fascinating venues: a hundred-year-old theater, a museum, an art gallery, a charity arts center — even outdoors in a big tent at Bates Nut Farm.

For the past few years we’ve performed our own adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol’ but, after a great run, we thought it was time to give Mr. Scrooge a couple years off. We’re thrilled that the California Center for the Arts has chosen to sponsor ‘It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol’ as part of their exciting holiday event lineup.”

The show features some of the Southland’s best actors and production talent — people you’ve enjoyed in television and movies: Fred Gaines, Jr. (“The Young and the Restless,” “All My Children,” “Annie Get Your Gun”), Paul Uhler (“Criminal Minds,” “Glee,” “CSI: Las Vegas”), Amber Stroyer (“Passage Into Fear”), and Ford Neha Curtiss (“Waiting for Godot,” “Clybourne Park”). The cast is rounded out by Milburne Stevens (Valley View Casino commercials), Marsi Carr, David Ross, Betsy Toker, John Aviles, Lexsy Mckowen, Jeff Makey, Andrew Janusek, Audrey Linder, Jacob James, Nella Lewark, Mike Janusek, and Don Hall.

“It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol” is complimented by memorable holiday music, exciting sound and video effects, state-of-the-art lighting, and colorful period costumes and sets.

Shows take place in the California Center for the Arts’ intimate 100-seat ‘Studio 1 Theatre,’ located near the Center’s Museum and Sculpture Courtyard. There’s plenty of parking in the lot adjacent to Woodward Ave (off Escondido Boulevard.) Refreshments will be available before the show and during intermission.

“We love Studio 1 because it gets the audience as close to the action as possible,” Marsi Carr noted. “You’re so close it almost feels like you’re on stage with the actors. That feeling of immediacy is something theater offers that you just can’t get at the movies. A classic show like this is the perfect way to get in the mood for the holidays and to treat young ones to the joys of great live theater.”

“It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol” will be performed over eight shows Dec 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 (7 p.m. evening shows) and 10 and 17 (2 p.m. matinees). Tickets are movie theater-priced, perfect for families looking for a traditional holiday experience that is both extraordinary and affordable.

Buy tickets and get complete info at northcountyplayers.org or artscenter.org.

You can also learn more about “It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol” at the California Center for the Arts Escondido’s Winter Wonderland Festival event taking place 3-8 p.m., December 2 at the Center. Kids can drop their Christmas wish list on Santa, play in real snow, decorate their own Christmas cookies, and even visit with live reindeer. Holiday-themed entertainers include carolers, stilt walkers, and even hula dancers. Food and drink will be available. The Winter Wonderland Festival is free and open to the public.

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