“Scrooge” brings community together

Published 5:00 am Friday, November 25, 2022

West T. Hill Community Theater and the Boyle County Arts Academy are collaborating on a production of “Scrooge! The Musical.” The show dates are Dec. 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10. Friday and Saturday performances start at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday’s show starts at 3 p.m.

The musical is a 1970s adaptation of the famous “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Ebenezer Scrooge is played by Mark Gebert; Bob Cratchit is played by Christopher Meccia; and Mrs. Cratchit by Casey Tibbles.

The show will be at the new Boyle County Performing Arts Center. Dr. Frieda Gebert with Boyle County Schools brought the idea of collaborating on this show to West T. Hill Director Karen Logue. She loved the idea, and is serving as artistic director for the show.

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“West T. Hill is all about collaboration, we love to do things like that, so we formed a dream team and that’s what it is, it’s huge,” Logue said.

The cast consists of 39 people. Auditions were open to not only students at the Boyle Arts Academy, but to all kids and adults in the area. The cast has people from Boyle County and six other surrounding counties. The show is much larger than what West T. Hill has done in recent years.

“It was a challenge, but it’s something I’m used to, just on a much bigger scale,” Logue said. “We have big casts at West T. Hill but nothing like this, and of course we don’t have this size stage.”

West T. Hill seats around 100 people whereas the performing arts center seats 500. Frieda Gebert, who was a drama teacher at Boyle County Schools for almost a decade and now works as arts coordinator for the district, said the show requires people of all ages, something that a high school or middle school can’t provide alone.

“The roles in this play range everything from Tiny Tim, a five-year-old, all the way to old folk, and no high school can do that,” Gebert said.

Gebert is the music director for the show, directing singers, with the school’s orchestra conductor Zach Shelton conducting the orchestra. Most of the 14 musicians are students, with three or four professional musicians. Gebert said the music is difficult, and having professional musicians helps them with the tough parts.

“This is a very hard show musically,” Gebert said. “We have a rock solid foundation.”

Logue said she’s loved working again with people who have been through West T. Hill, including the Boyle Performing Arts Center’s technical director, Kolton Winfield.

“I directed Kolton since he was eight years old in plays, and now he’s a colleague, it’s incredible the way it’s come full circle,” Logue said.

Both Logue and Gebert said they hope Boyle County Schools and West T. Hill will collaborate again in the future.