“Carol:” A unique new take on the classic tale for Dickens Festival

            Every year Cornerstone Theatre brings a unique version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” to the stage. The musical production showcases the talented local thespians each year and this year they’re bringing a completely original production – including music – to the stage with “Carol.”

            For Jesse Twietmeyer – a long time member of Cornerstone Theatre, ideas for a revamped version of the story had been coming to him over the years, but logistically he wasn’t sure how to make it come to life.

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            “The idea for this particular adaptation came to me about three years ago,” Twietmeyer explained. “I had a lot of ideas stewing, but about three years ago it started coming together.”

“It was very specific and I finally realized the only way it would work was to make the music entirely original to fit the story I wanted to tell.”

With that, he began writing a week after the 2016 production concluded and enlisted the help of his mom, Dianne Twietmeyer, in writing the music.

“Mom is an excellent song writer, so she came up with the music,” Jesse stated. “My sister Sam contributed to the lyrics – while she was in Ireland – and Clay Johnstone wrote one song.”

Dianne added, “They’re catchy tunes and the cast loved the songs when we first played them for the cast. They’re instantly familiar, so even though they’re original songs, the audience will feel like they know them.”

She explained that the genres throughout the production ranges including Latin, a hoedown, rock and roll, pop, blues, jazz, and even old style Broadway/Vaudville; so, there’s something for everyone.

The playwright describes the play as “a modernized version that takes place on Wall Street and the Scrooge character is named Jonathan Anderson and he’s a big Wall Street guy. The purpose of the story is to look into the events of his life that led a person to make the decisions he made. There’s a focus on his relationship with his sister and nephew and how those elements affected the way he treats people and the way he views the world.”

Efforts to learn the music and script started earlier than usual, as the entire production is original. They’ve been learning the music since September and are just beginning rehearsals with the script.

“We’ve got a really great group here and they’re really into the new music,” Dianne added.

“Everyone’s been really supportive,” Naomi Twietmeyer, Jesse’s wife, added.

Tickets are currently on sale at Fengche Flowers on Main Street in Carlyle. The production will be held on Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m., as well as a matinee on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m. Locals are encouraged to reserve tickets for the Friday and Sunday productions if it works for their schedule in order to save seats for those coming in from out of town.

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