The big musical of Repertory Philippines this year is “Scrooge,” a takeoff on Charles Dickens’ beloved novel “A Christmas Carol,” with formidable character actors Miguel Faustmann and Chinggoy Alonso alternating as the cantankerous, usurious old man whom everybody hates.
It’s the same story as “A Christmas Carol” but with a different script, although some lines are the same. The big difference is the music by Leslie Bricusse, who also wrote the book and lyrics.
Directed by Baby Barredo, “Scrooge” will be mounted at OnStage Theater, Greenbelt I, Makati City on Nov. 21-Dec. 14 (tel. 8435370).
The cast numbers about 30, representing colorful townspeople swirling around the main characters: the wretched Scrooge; the poor but happy Cratchit family; the affecting, handicapped little boy named Tiny Tim; and the three Ghosts of Christmas who make Scrooge see the light.
The production numbers are also different from “A Christmas Carol.”
Everyone may be familiar with the character and may have their own interpretations about who Scrooge is, notes Alonso. “But don’t be surprised that when we stage it, they’ll find little things, new things they’ll discover, new colors in the character as interpreted.”
He adds: “I’m still grumpy, still grouchy and a miser and all that, but I see my transformation as a bigger thing. That’s really where I want my interpretation to focus—on a deeper level, becoming outgoing, friendly, generous to all the people around.”
Says Faustmann: “Chinggoy’s interpretation is very different from mine.”
Faustmann had previously played Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” but the songs in this musical, he says, are much more difficult.
“I’m more a character singer, but the songs in ‘Scrooge’ are really singer-singer songs and that is what made me so nervous, because I sing in character,” he explains. “If I’m an old man, I sing like an old man. But these songs are so beautiful. You know, even Tony Bennett recorded the song ‘Let Me Sing’ and when I heard his version—wow, beautiful! Even Sammy Davis Jr. sang it.”
Adds Alonzo: “At the beginning the songs are grouchy, then they become more lively. That’s one thing about this musical. The music is so touching, you can relate to it. It’s very easy to understand.”