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A classic Christmas message having a Badlands twist in ' Charley's Ghost Story'

Press Photos by Linda Sailer Drooge (Pat Barnhart) responds to Bob Sackett's request to have Christmas Day off. Todd Selle plays Sacket in a rehearsal scene on Tuesday for "Charley's Ghost Story."1 / 3
Bob Sackett is shown with his children, Little Lisa and Peter Sackett in a rehearsal scene of "Charley's Ghost Story."2 / 3
Fred, right, offers his uncle a gift and wishes him Merry Christmas while Drooge turns away.3 / 3

Although an old play familiar to southwestern North Dakota, a newcomer from the Upper Pennisula of Michigan appreciates the western adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

Marian Bauer has several roles, including the Ghost of Christmas Past and Fred's wife.

"I've been in the original play before -- they've really kept true to it and tweaked it to give that Badlands flavor," she said.

Jeremiah Drooge arrives in Echo Valley, Dakota Territory, to buy land and make as much money as possible. In the process, his heart turns cold, without a care for his family or the community.

Pat Barnhart, who plays the character of Drooge, rewrote the play titled "Charley's Ghost Story," a Badlands Christmas Carol tradition.

Audiences will have an opportunity to see the performance in Dickinson through Sneak Pique Productions.

"We made a few changes, but it's basically the same," Pat Barnhart said.

Drooge is haunted by three ghosts, along with visits by several characters of note -- a young Teddy Roosevelt and Mrs. Villard.

"She comes down from Dickinson to help with raising money for a poor family who has lost their belongings in a terrible fire," Pat Barnhart said.

Directed by Margaret Barnhart, the play was presented last year for Medora's Cowboy Christmas.

"People really enjoyed it and we thought we'd do it in Dickinson this year," she said.

The cast includes veteran actors and newcomers.

Todd Selle, who plays Bob Sackett, describes his character as a hard worker who is down on his luck.

"But he really embraces the Christmas spirit and is truly thankful for the little he gets."

Sackett appreciates his job, working as Drooge's bookkeeper, Selle said.

"Drooge does whatever he can to make a profit -- first and foremost," he said.

Morgan Kadrmas plays Little Lisa in her first appearance on stage.

"I really like it -- it's been fun," she said.

Shaylynn Kadrmas was named stage manager.

"I make sure everybody is in place," she said.

Fox Weiler, who plays Young Drooge, appreciates the opportunity to act. He's participated in the Missoula Children's Theater, but this is his first appearance in a community play.

Margaret Barnhart said the performance is a good-feel event for Christmas.

"I know it's a busy season, but it's a nice thing for people to add to their holidays," she said.

Performances are 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, in the Odd Fellows Lodge, 30 First Ave. W. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at 701-483-2004.