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Songs leave you feeling good about Christmas in DSU musical 'Scrooge!'

Press Photo by Linda Sailer Scrooge (Kevin Moberg) receives a warning from Jacob Marley (Michael Landbloom) in a rehearsal scene on Wednesday from the Dickinson State University musical production of “Scrooge!” Additional photos are on / 2
The Cratchit family sits down for dinner in a rehearsal scene from Dickinson State University's musical production of "Scrooge!" The family includes Mrs. Cratchit (Betsy Devero), Martha Cratchit (Catelyn Devero), Tiny Tim (Connor Devero) and Bob Cratchit (Layne Brandvik.)2 / 2

By Linda Sailer The Dickinson State University Stickney Auditorium stage will be transformed into a city full of London shopkeepers and street vendors for the opening of this year’s musical production of “Scrooge!”

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The musical is a re-telling of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” sure to entertain the whole family, director Ron Gingerich said.

The musical has a cast of 40 on stage, 10 musicians and others working behind the scenes.

“Our theater family has grown to include local children, teens and adults from around Dickinson,” he said.

The title role of Scrooge is played by faculty member Kevin Moberg, who is chairman of the DSU Education Department.

Cast as Scrooge has been both a challenge and fun, he said.

“It’s so different for what I do for my day job,” he said. “It’s a break from my routine.”

Moberg has participated in theater during his university days and he sings at church, but “Scrooge!” has been an opportunity to do both.

“The songs and dance helps move the story along,” Moberg said. “The songs leave you feeling good about Christmas.”

He will be joined on stage by his family, including wife, Susan, and daughters, Suzanna, Hillary and Abigail.

“It’s a chance to see my family because we rehearse together,” he said.

Another integral part of the show, the Cratchit family, is made up of real-life family members — Layne Brandvik and Betsy Devero, who are engaged and DSU graduates, along with Connor Devero as Tiny Tim and Catelyn Devero as Martha Cratchit.

Brandvik said the production was an opportunity for them to audition as a family.

“We take turns doing shows,” Betsy Devero said. “This time we can all be together instead of one show at a time. It’s such a classic story. It’s a lot of fun for us to be in it and for the audience too.”

“This is actually the first time I’m doing a musical-slash-play,” added Connor, who recently presented a tap dance during a recital. “It’s pretty fun and sometimes creepy.”

His sister, Catelyn, also has been on the DSU stage with her ballet performance. She thought the acting experience has been fun.

DSU students have key parts in the play. Damon Fichter from last year’s musical “Lucky Stiff” is on the forefront of several musical numbers as Tom Jenkins.

Previous actresses also include Dinah Ridl, Brianna Peterson, Rachelle Bliss and Samantha Holzer.

You’ll find Jarvis Jahner, assistant professor of theater, working behind the scenes. He is creating the Dickensian London scenes.

“Jarvis is working his magic,” Gingerich said. “We work within the limits of the stage and will let the audience use their imagination fill in the blanks. Our goal is to keep the show going without a lot of interruptions.”

Cheryl Hewson is in charge of music and will be conducting the show.

Stage manager is student Tim Rosin. Costume and choreography help comes from Chris Moe, Lydia Dworshak and Pattie Carr.

“Scrooge!” the musical was written in the 1960s and aired on television in 1970.

“I picked ‘Scrooge!’ because it’s a holiday story we haven’t done and it’s a big-named musical,” Gingerich said. “It’s been a few years since we involved the community. We were due to bring the community back into the theater.”

Gingerich said the audience will know the story.

“The music is the big thing,” he said. “Even when we held auditions, it was whether you could sing or not. There’s a song, ‘Thank you very much,’ that you get into your head. If the audience isn’t humming that song out the door, we haven’t done our job.”

The performances are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 5-7, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children and senior citizens.

Large crowds are expected for this production, so reservations are encouraged. Call 701-483-2154 on weekday afternoons.