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Holiday Happenings Include Musical 'Scrooge' and Classic 'Nutcracker'

by and on December 12, 2014 2:55 PM

Looking for family entertainment to capture the holiday spirit?

Centre Region audiences will have many offerings to choose from, including two popular holiday classics.

FUSE Productions, led by artistic director Richard Biever, will present the 1992 musical hit "Scrooge," a retelling of the classic Charles Dickens story with more than 20 songs written by Leslie Bricusse of "Stop the World I Want to Get Off" fame. The original production starred Anthony Newley. The show is based on the film that starred Albert Finney as Scrooge.

"Scrooge" which is being staged at The State Theatre will run through Sunday, Dec. 14. Tickets are available.

The FUSE production will star local performer Tom McClary.

"He is a real pro," says Biever. "He's a great singer. In fact, I wasn't going to do it if Tom couldn't play Scrooge."

Will Hutton will play Marley and Heidi Biever will portray the Ghost of Christmas Past. Both are also professional actors.

Biever feels FUSE has assembled a first-rate cast of some 42 performers.

As a director, Biever has long been interested in producing this musical. "What sets it apart from other versions of the story is the wonderful score," he says.

Created a little more than two years ago, FUSE Productions is an independent theater company that seeks to combine professional performers with local amateurs and students in the area.

Biever is pleased that local residents appear to be making attendance at "Scrooge" an annual holiday tradition. The company will also offer a Saturday, Dec. 20, performance of "A Charlie Brown Christmas." There will be three shows starting at noon.

Those seeking a beautiful version of the classical ballet "The Nutcracker" will surely enjoy the production of this holiday favorite offered by the Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania.

The dance company includes students of the PASCP at varying levels of experience. Sponsored by The Torron Group, this lovely production will be performed on the stage at Eisenhower Auditorium on Saturday, Dec. 13, and Sunday, Dec. 14.

"This production of 'The Nutcracker' is a classic ballet with all the scenes you expect to see, including the party scene," says Sarah Kopac, executive director of the PASCAP. "In the second half of the ballet you'll see the Chinese and Spanish scenes and, of course, the sugar plum fairy. It's all that you remember from your childhood."

Artistic director and coordinating choreographer Rebecca Maciejczyk  says the production includes 90 dancers, including 15 to 20 adults.

"Most of our dancers are local students," Maciejczyk says.

The dancers begin their training around the age of six and continue through the age of 20 or beyond.

"The students progress through the syllabus of training," says Kopac. "Our most advanced dancers spend 8 to 12 hours a week in class and an additional five hours of rehearsal for 'The Nutcracker.'"

The production includes backdrops and lighting effects designed by Stephen Miles.

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Harry is a correspondent for the Gazette.
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