A Christmas twist: Cape church putting on musical version of 'A Christmas Carol'

Saturday, December 6, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ kdoyle@semissourian.com
Bethel Assembly of God's production of "From Humbug to Hallelujah" runs from Friday through Dec. 14 at the Central Junior High High School auditorium. Admission to the musical comedy is free.

The Orphan Chorus, the Cratchet Family, Cockney-speaking narrators and the Moochers are among the favorites featured in the upcoming Christmas play presented by Bethel Assembly of God Church in Cape Girardeau. The Christmas holidays are always filled with various Christmas plays, musicals and pageants. Some are performed so professionally as to be close to a Broadway production.

One such pageant is "From Humbug to Hallelujah," by Bethel Assembly. The play has been adopted from the Charles Dickens story "A Christmas Carol." The cast of 95 people presents the story of the old miser Ebenezer Scrooge and the angels who visit him, with a bit of "flair," according to pastor Phillip Roop from Bethel Assembly.

Roop and wife Denise said they are proud of the cast and crew.

"They put their whole heart and soul into this musical," Denise said. She credits the actors, actresses, soloists and ensemble with doing a great job. This will be the third time that Bethel Assembly has presented the musical comedy. It was brought back this year because of the many requests from Bethel Assembly's congregation and from other people in the community who have seen the production before.

"The actor who plays Mr. Scrooge has been so committed to his part that in 2005 and 2006 he shaved his head bald, leaving only enough hair to attach the long sprigs of gray hair needed to complete Mr. Scrooge's look. This year, who knows?" Denise Roop said.

"'From Humbug to Hallelujah' is a delightful musical comedy that brings the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge to life -- with a twist," she said. She refused to tell what the twist is, though.

This version of "From Humbug to Hallelujah" portrays Ebenezer Scrooge being visited by three angels rather than three spirits or ghosts. Scrooge's journey with the angels eventually brings him into the Christmas story where he witnesses the Nativity shortly after the birth of Jesus.

Some of the lyrics in the songs are original. They were written by a pastor friend of the Roops when Philip worked in Southern California before moving to Cape Girardeau. The other songs in the play are the classic Christmas songs.

The producers of the Christmas play even ordered a Dickens backdrop from New York.

"The backdrop will be a wonderful addition for the play this year," she said. "In years past the musical has been produced at Bethel Assembly of God Church, and there has been absolutely no room for a backdrop."

This year, the play will be at Central Junior High auditorium where the stage can accommodate a large scene. The backdrop is Camden Town on a snowy night in the 1840s.

The Christmas musical-comedy will start at 7 p.m. Friday; 6 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14. Admission to "From Humbug to Hallelujah" is free with a ticket. Call Bethel Assembly, Cape Christian School, Gospeland or Medicap Pharmacy for tickets.

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