Stadium’s ‘A Christmas Carol: The New Musical’ has Broadway feel

Stadium’s ‘A Christmas Carol: The New Musical’ has Broadway feel

WOONSOCKET – There’s a new captain at the helm of the Stadium Theatre’s long-held annual tradition of presenting “A Christmas Carol.” Say hello to William Deschenes, this year’s director of the Dickens classic.

“The version produced in previous years was a play with period Christmas songs added in,” says Deschenes. “This year, we are honoring that tradition but producing a new musical version.”

The basic plot and characters are true to the original story, but the format is more in the style of a Broadway musical with a tuneful score elevating the emotional level, he said.

Deschenes spends his days as a theater teacher in the public school system in Milton, Mass.

“I’ve directed students in many plays and musicals throughout my 21-year tenure,” he said. “In recent years I started directing productions at community theaters in Massachusetts, namely The Umbrella in Concord and Hovey Players in Waltham. This eventually led me to the Stadium, which has become a great artistic home to so many.”

Last year, he directed “A Chorus Line” at the Stadium.

“I had such a great experience with that cast and production team that I was eager to direct another show at the Stadium,” he said.

Deschenes seems to enjoy the challenges that come with such a big undertaking.

“In addition to the usual concerns of designing sets, costumes, props, lights, and sound, this production also calls for a full orchestra, flying, fog, and snow,” he says, calling himself fortunate to have “an amazing team of designers and technicians who are dedicated to creating a show with the highest production values.”

And he very much enjoys working with his cast.

“The talent on display in the rehearsal hall is phenomenal,” he said. “I am awed by the quality of their acting and singing. This cast is filled with genuinely great people. Their willingness to embrace this new script and reimagine the material has been truly heartening.”

While the story was written in the mid 1800s, it still has at its heart “a universal message that still speaks to us in the modern age,” said Deschenes. Keeping the story fresh for a contemporary audience is not something I’ve had to worry about because this new musical version drives the tale along in a way that is compelling, entertaining, relevant, and surprisingly emotional.”

Deschenes finds a lyric in one of the songs sung by Scrooge captures the show’s essence perfectly. “Life is the present, the past and the future. No one is bound by what’s come before.” What an empowering notion. Yes, our present experience might be defined by our past, but that doesn’t mean our future is beholden. In a moment of grace, we always have the ability to choose again, to start again,” he said.

The Stadium Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol: The New Musical” Dec. 14-23. For tickets and information, visit www.stadiumtheatre.com, or call 401-762-4545.

“A Christmas Carol – The New Musical,” a brand new retelling of the Charles Dickens masterpiece, will be presented at the Stadium Theatre, 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket, Dec. 14-23. Tickets $21, $26 and $31. Visit www.stadiumtheatre.com for showtimes.