News: Czech-American Marionette Theatre's "A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa" Returns 12/22

Vit Horejs and Scrooge puppet. 2020 live performance. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

After the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre's (CAMT) "A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa" was offered virtually last year, with a series of "pretend" out-of-town performances at venues historic and exotic that were created with virtual backgrounds, it returns for live audiences this December, updated to contemporary sensibilities and restaged for this new Theater for the New City production.

You can read our 2020 review of a live production of the show here.

"A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa," aimed at audiences aged 5 to 105, will run from December 22, 2021 to January 2, 2022. The show is an adaptation of Dickens' classic with Old World accents and New World inclusiveness. Adapted, directed and reinvented by Vit Horejs, it features over 30 puppets by Milos Kasal, including a quartet of Rockettes in Slovak, Moravian, and Ruthenian folk costumes and holiday songs in Czech, English, Hebrew, Slovak, Spanish, and Swahili.

This toy-puppet theater extravaganza is a new take on Charles Dickens' classic with a few twists and digressions. Into the familiar story is woven a surprising and delightful blend of English, Jewish, African, American and Czech winter rituals and customs, all performed by over three dozen marionettes ranging in size from four to twenty-four inches as well as found objects and toys. Horejs operates the whole cast of puppets, backed up by a live chorus: an "a capella monumentale" choir of Katarina Vizina (a transplant from Slovakia) and Valois Mickens (West African/Celtic/Native American origin). The piece is still set in Old London, but with Czech accents. Imagine that the familiar tale was told to you not by an English serial novelist, but by your Czech grandmother.

The set uses a century-old toy marionette theater donated by Madeleine Albright, and Horejs uses a Bob Cratchit character from his mother’s identical set that he played with in his childhood. There are ghost puppets by Horejs and unknown folk carvers and a Camel marionette that has played an intruder in several CAMT shows. Set and costume design are by company member Michelle Beshaw, a two-time Innovative Theatre Awards winner.

"A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa" plays evenings at 8:00 PM: Dec. 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 & Jan. 1; matinees at 3:00 PM: Dec. 26 & Jan 2 (eight performances). The running time is 75 minutes, and Theater for the New City is located at 155 First Ave. (at E. 10th Street).

Tickets: $18 gen. adm., $12 seniors/students/kids

Come dressed as character of Dickens' Christmas Carol or any seasonal holiday and use discount code SCROOGE for $2 off all tickets (advance sale and box office).

Box office 212-254-1109, www.theaterforthenewcity.net

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