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“A Christmas Carol,” is a Northern Essex Tradition

Submitted by on November 21, 2013 – 11:05 am
Theatre professor Jim Murphy will once again take on the role of Scrooge during NECC's annual production of "A Christmas Carol".

Theatre professor Jim Murphy will once again take on the role of Scrooge during NECC's annual production of "A Christmas Carol".

While some may think of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” as a classic, at Northern Essex Community College it is a tradition.

What started as a department fundraiser for the college’s performing arts nearly 15 years ago has evolved into an annual, holiday affair that is shared with the entire community. The cast is comprised of an eclectic mix of NECC students, faculty, staff, as well as their family members.

Each year, it is performed in the 75-seat Chet Hawrylciw Theater on the third floor of the Spurk Building on the Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St. This year is no different. Performances will be held Friday, December 13, at 7 p.m., Saturday, December 14, at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 15, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for students and senior citizens and $5 for children 6 and under. They can be purchased at the door or through

The adaptation of the story written in 1844, is one that longtime NECC theater professors Jim Murphy and his wife Susan Sanders are very familiar with. For nearly all the 15 productions Murphy has acted and/or directed in the production while Sanders has overseen the set direction and costuming, as well as playing smart parts.
Murphy and Sanders, with precision time-management, can execute the production in just three weeks.

“What happens at the end of those three weeks, in the span of two hours, is a gift to the community,” Murphy says. “It is pure magic. The story is simply told and advanced with the assistance of four Madrigal singers in a very intimate space.”

Murphy, who has played the dialogue heavy role of Ebenezer Scrooge many times, acknowledges that the theatrical event has taken on a life of its own, attracting aspiring thespians from the classroom and the boardroom.

The production is family friendly, he notes. A family of four can attend the production for less than the cost of one ticket to a larger regional production of the same play, he says.

“It is a very intense three weeks followed by an intense weekend. The camaraderie that develops among the cast members is wonderful,” says Murphy. “The audience sees and feels that energy.”

Cast List:
Assistant Stage Manager – Rowan Andriotakis
Belinda Cratchitt – Zoë Glenn
Party Guest – Thomasina Glenn
Undertaker – Dustin P. Kelly

Belle’s Husband – Erik Mueller

Madrigal-Coty Lennon Markee

Chester, NH
Party guest- Alex Spinelli

Mrs. Fezziwig – Thera Driscoll

Derry, NH
Young Scrooge – Paul Kelly
Stage Manager – Amanda Kehoe

Christmas Present – A.J. Mayo

Hampstead, NH
Ebenezer Scrooge – Jim Murphy
Designer – Susan Sanders

Party guest – Tori Lessard

Christmas Past – Christine Murphy
Fred’s Wife – Anastasia Michitson

Martha – Skye Augustonovich
Maid – Faith Gregory
Boy in the Street – Hunter Augustonovich
Madrigals – Alisa Bucchiere

Bob Cratchitt – Dave Charest
Mrs. Cratchitt – Maurisa Charest
Tiny Tim – Emily Charest/Jonnie Charest
Want – Emily Charest/Jonnie Charest

3rd Man – Michael Ross
Fan – Kiaralis Vasquez

Belle – Samantha Wheatley

Christmas Future – Colin Sarff
Laundress – Marilyn Johnston
Charity Man – Karl Chambers

Newmarket, NH
Uncle Fezziwig – Robert Peter Mantegani

Madrigal –Chip Bliss

Salem, NH
Madrigal-Hannah Heckman-McKenna

Fred’s Housekeeper – Alex Canning

Jacob Marley – Matthew James Lewis
Dick Wilkins, Man in Street, and Party Guest – Renan Fontes

York, ME
Fred – Mark Mahoney