For over 150 years Charles Dickens' supernatural tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his enlightening odyssey through time has warmed the hearts of generations and sparked embers of Yuletide benevolence in the most ardent Scrooges among us.

This holiday season, the Sam Houston State University Department of Theatre and Dance will once again raise the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they present Israel Horovitz's stage adaptation of Dickens' timeless tale, "A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley."

The Mainstage Theatre production is set for 8 p.m. Dec. 4-7 and 2 p.m. Dec. 7 at the University Theatre Center on the SHSU campus.

The play, set on Christmas Eve in mid-19th century London, chronicles the extraordinary spiritual transformation of the miserly old curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge, into a kind and caring gentleman. His profound and initially recalcitrant change of heart is aided by the visits of three Christmas spirits who take the bitter old man on a journey through his life and beyond.

The SHSU production promises to provide the audience with a visual feast incorporating over 40 actors, a huge, elaborate set, a wondrous wardrobe of Victorian era costumes, gratuitous use of special effects and a few "hidden surprises."

Tickets for "A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley" are $7 and may be purchased through the SHSU Theatre Center ticket office at 409-294-1339. Tickets for students and senior citizens are $5. Group ticket sales, purchased in blocks of 20, are $5 each and must be paid for 24 hours in advance of the performance date.


Storybook characters will come to life Dec. 10 at Sam Houston State University's Bernard Johnson Coliseum when the curtain rises on the American Family Theater's production of the holiday favorite, "Babes in Toyland."

The colorful musical by Victor Herbert is touted as a full-scale family event complete with unforgettable music, a fun-filled story and spectacular sets.

Part of the American Family Theater's "Broadway for Kids" series, "Babes" follows the exploits of Mary, the unwitting fiancee of a nefarious banker named Barnaby. Mary is in love with the charming young Alan, but to save her home she agrees to wed the old banker.

The couple end up fleeing to Toyland with Jack and Jill, of nursery rhyme fame. Along their way, as the group encounters a variety of well-known storybook characters, the children in the audience are invited to join in the fun. They help Jack lean his ABC's and help Mary decide whether or not to marry Barnaby.

In the end, after pursuing the fugitives into Toyland the evil banker sees the error of his ways and cancels the wedding and, of course, they all live happily ever after.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. Dec. 10 production of "Babes in Toyland" can be purchased at the Johnson Coliseum box office or charged by phone. Tickets cost $6 for adults and $4 for SHSU students and children age 12 and under. For more information or to order tickets call the coliseum at 294-1740.


A fanciful glimpse into a little girl's Christmas Eve dream, "The Nutcracker Ballet," with all its joyful holiday pageantry, is a perennial Yuletide favorite.

On Dec. 11-12 at 8 p.m. the dance theater at Sam Houston State University will be transformed to the ethereal land of the Sugar Plum Fairy as the Department of Theatre and Dance presents Act II of this classic Christmas dance composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

The 40-minute production, which will include many of the ballet's most loved divertissements, or short dances, is a prelude to what Dana Nicolay, coordinator of SHSU's dance program, hopes will become a Huntsville holiday tradition.

The SHSU production starts with a "storybook summary" of Act I where the Nutcracker is presented as a Christmas gift to a little girl, Maria, and later comes to life in her fanciful dream.

Act II of "The Nutcracker" begins with a Fairyland festival honoring Maria's gallant Nutcracker Prince. During the celebration a variety of short dances -- Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, Russian, Toy Flutes, Clowns and Flowers -- are performed.

Following these famous divertissements is the Grande Pas de Deux which includes the Nutcracker's dance and the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy."

For ticket information on SHSU's holiday performance of "The Nutcracker Ballet" call Gail at 294-1875.


Media Contact: Phillip Rollfing

Nov. 22, 1996