‘A Christmas Carol’ back at Geva Theatre Tuesday

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A holiday classic is returning to Geva Theatre. “A Christmas Carol” returns to the stage Tuesday night.

Ebenezer Scrooge will be visited by the ghosts of Christmas in the heartwarming tale of family and generosity. News10NBC’s Hailie Higgins went to Geva Theatre Monday morning to see how the show’s coming along.

Stagehands have spent all day inside Geva Theatre putting the finishing touches on the lighting, background, and props for “A Christmas Carol.” Ahead of opening night, Hailie caught up with Ebenezer Scrooge and, his nephew Fred.

“A Christmas Carol” is a holiday classic. The penny-pinching curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge has no time for Christmas cheer. He sees no problem with this, until he gets a visit from literal holiday spirits.

And, they bring a lesson.

“He will be alone walking the Earth as a ghost covered by chains unless he changes his way,” says Michael Preston, who’s playing Scrooge at Geva for the second year in a row.

He came in from New York City, along with most of the adult actors. That’s also where Barnaby Reiter is based.

“This is a crash course into American holiday tradition. As an Australian, this is not part of our growing up, our Christmas,” says Reiter.

Reiter plays Scrooge’s much merrier nephew, Fred.

“Fred is kind of the antithesis of Scrooge. He is the eternal optimist and he keeps trying to get Scrooge to see the good in the holiday season and the good in other people — see the good in the world around him,” Reiter says.

That world is comprised of about 30 people. While Geva brought in some folks from New York City, you’ll also see performers from right here in Rochester.

Students from SUNY Geneseo and 10 local children will help bring Victorian-era London to life. To help them, they have some surprises on set.

“There’s some things hidden in the audience. There’s some things hidden on the stage. There’s some things hidden around the place that you would never expect, and it’s really cool that when it happens you go, ‘Oh god, I didn’t even notice that was there the whole time,’ but when it happens, it really takes the audience by surprise,” says Reiter.

While most of us know the stories from our childhoods, the actors say this show is for folks of all ages.

“This is absolutely for everyone,” says Reiter. “And I think that’s kind of indicative of the cast that we have on stage. I think our youngest is six, all the way up to Michael who’s 106, (laughs) and I think it appeals to everyone in between.”

Their very first performance is Tuesday night at 7 p.m., and shows run through December 30.