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Stage set for seasonal transition
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MONROE - Experience the magic of the season when the Monroe Arts Center and Monroe Theatre Guild's production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," now one of Monroe's beloved holiday traditions, returns for its third consecutive year.

Six performances will be presented at the Monroe High School Performing Arts Center. Evening performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on December 12, 17, 18 and 19, and matinee performances at 2 p.m. on Dec. 13 and 20.

This favorite Christmas tale set in 1843 London is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the heartless miser who discovers the true meaning of the holiday season after a Christmas Eve haunting by the ghosts of Jacob Marley and three other spirits. Through a series of dreamlike adventures, the spirits show him the true meaning of the holiday and the true spirit of humanity. This festive production is brought to life under the direction of David Bristow and assistant director Joe Peters, both of Monroe. Featuring all of Charles Dickens' well-known characters (Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future), Father Michael Klarer's all-new adaptation of this beloved masterpiece is a heartwarming holiday event for the entire family. Klarer serves as pastor of St. Victor Parish in Monroe.

This season the central role of curmudgeonly miser Ebenezer Scrooge is played by Monroe's own John Baumann, president of The Swiss Colony. Baumann has been seen in previous "A Christmas Carol" productions as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Marley, and Old Joe. His other recent stage appearances include roles in MTG's productions of "Fiddler on the Roof" and "The Gold Files," and this summer he co-directed "The Odd Couple."

A total of 73 individuals, from young novices to seasoned performers, were selected to appear in this production. The cast also includes Neal Minogue as Bob Crachitt, Roy Berrey as Jacob Marley, Morgan Franson as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Jim McNeill as the Ghost of Christmas Present and Future, and Henry Schluesche as Tiny Tim.

The stage set and lighting for this production have been given a magnificent treatment by theater veterans, Suzanne Miller (set designer) and Mark Miller (technical director).

"This production will have many more scenes than in previous years," Suzanne Miller said. "In addition, we will be able to focus on lighting as a design element due to the extensive lighting system at the Performing Arts Center, thus giving this show a whole new look and feel."

As a special gift to the community, all children 12 and under are admitted free to the performance when accompanied by an adult. Adult general admission tickets are $15. Tickets may be purchased at the Monroe Arts Center box office, located at 1315 11th St. or by calling (608) 325-5700.

This event has been underwritten by Corporate Underwriter The Swiss Colony, and Media Underwriters Monroe Publishing, LLC, and Big Radio. Additional underwriting has been provided by Craig Carter D.D.S. and Janelle Eckdhal, D.D.S.; Lance and Daphne Sathoff; Wisconsin Community Bank; Precision Drive and Control; Bob and Gaida Vickerman; Adair Najat; and Peg Stiles.