FAIRFIELD — This holiday season it appears there is a production of “A Christmas Carol” for nearly everyone in Solano County.
No less than three local theatrical companies are staging adaptations of Charles Dickens’ classic tale about a Christmas curmudgeon getting a yuletide attitude adjustment.
InVision It Productions and Bliss Dance Company’s “A Hip Hop Christmas Carol” just may be the most unique in its telling of the story. The play is returning to the local stage for its third straight year and seemingly is making its way methodically to each city in the county.
It was first staged at Missouri Street Theatre in Fairfield and last year’s production was at Bliss’ studio in Vacaville. The 2012 version will run for two weekends at the Fetterly Playhouse for the Arts in Vallejo.
Bliss Dance Company owner Fae Salfiti wrote the script with actor/director David Rodgers Jr. The idea was to offer a slice of theater to locals that may have a different flavor than what many other companies are doing. In a press release, they describe the show as a “modern Christmas comedy with a hip-hop twist.”
“I have been doing theater since high school and it’s always been traditional theater, but I have always been involved in the hip-hop culture and the hip-hop community, so we wanted to make the play modern and exciting,” Salfiti said. “We use contemporary slang and lots of humor and pop culture references. And, of course, I am choreographing it, which is like breathing to me. I can do that all day, every day.”
The changes from Dickens’ original story are significant. Instead of being a penny-pinching moneylender, Scrooge, spelled Skrooge, is an unscrupulous record producer. He is visited by the ghost of his former partner, Bob – not Jacob – Marley and the subsequent respective Ghosts of Christmas, including Michael Jackson. Every year the script is reviewed and updated to remain current. Lady Gaga, who was the Ghost of Christmas Future last year, has been replaced by the irrepressible Nicki Minaj.
One of the biggest changes is the addition of a fourth ghost – the Ghost of Christmas Reality, played by veteran actress Jackie Middleton, who returns after being introduced last year.
“Her role is to not make the whole show a comedy but, at the end of the day, let people know that this is real,” Salfiti said. “There are people out there who are really struggling and who are homeless and that’s the reason why it’s important to be helpful and not selfish.”
With a celebrated dance company involved in the show’s production, it’s no surprise that dance numbers will be incorporated and popular songs, such as Gang Starr’s “Battle,” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and Nicki Minaj’s “Starships,” will be featured as well.
Marcus Thompson, who played Marley last year, will now be playing Skrooge. Other returning cast members include Jamie Roman, Kimberly Dayrit and Angie Hardy.
Salfiti hopes that the glut of adaptations of the same story aren’t seen as competition, but as options.
“That’s what makes it cool – that anyone can go see any version they are interested in. People more into a traditional show can go and see that and people who may prefer hip-hop culture can come see ours,” Salfiti said.
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.