Pec hosts auditions for Wild Christmas Binge

Christmas will come early this year for live theater-goers in the Rockford area as Pec Playhouse Theatre will stage its summer production of the comedy Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge this July and August.

The play is a twisted look at Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with homages paid to other popular family favorites, such as Touched By an Angel, Oliver Twist, It’s a Wonderful Life and more.

Author Christopher Durang, known for his darker satires such as Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All to You and Betty’s Summer Vacation, pens this play as a light parody—a kind of “what if” version of the classic Christmas story.

In this version, there is a rebel in the midst of A Christmas Carol—Mrs. Cratchit—who hates the suffering of her life and tries to escape it, confounding the ghost’s attempt to teach Scrooge his good lesson.

Instead, Scrooge begins to admire Mrs. Cratchit for her orneriness, and the ghost has to try to find a moral in a message that no longer makes sense. Flustered, the ghost makes errors jumping through time with Scrooge—to scenes from the orphanage in Oliver Twist and from The Gift of the Magi, even calling upon Monica from Touched By an Angel and the angel Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life to try to straighten things out.

The play is directed by Mark Kann, who most recently directed Pec Playhouse’s summer musical, Man of La Mancha, last year. A long-time volunteer for the organization, he has also directed several other plays, as well as appearing onstage in more than a dozen productions in the group’s 15-year history. Back in the director’s chair, he is eager to put together a cast of 12-20 actors to bring this relatively new work to life.

Auditions will be Saturday-Monday, June 3-5, at 2 p.m., 7 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. Wonderful roles of all sizes are available to men, women, boys and girls of all ages, including various characters from other well-known works. These include the angel Clarence and George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life; Monica (Scottish voice) from Touched By an Angel; the husband and wife of The Gift of the Magi; the Beadle and his wife from Oliver Twist; Jeffrey Skilling, Kenneth Lay, Harry and Leona Helmsley and others. Durang has also written the part of the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future for a sassy African-American actress. It is a major role and a centerpiece to all of the action.

Anyone interested in being part of this unique production, either on- or off-stage, is encouraged to attend any of the auditions, or call to make an appointment. For more information, contact Director Mark Kann at 543-7255, or visit the Pec Playhouse Theatre Web site at

From the May 31-june 6, 2006, issue

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