Artists’ Ensemble presents new take on an old classic

From press release

Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol is the story of Jacob Marley’s heroic behind-the-scenes efforts to save old Scrooge’s soul—and in the process, save his own. Aided by Bogle, a mischievous imp with an agenda of its own, their journey takes them from the Jaws of Death to Victorian London and beyond! This irreverent, funny, and ultimately, deeply moving story retells Dickens’ classic with warmth and infectious zest.

Much like Wicked is a revisionist version of The Wizard of Oz, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol is a fresh take on the familiar Christmas Carol. We meet many of the same characters; however, there are also new characters and an inventive new twist to the story of how things really happened that night.

Written by Chicago actor/playwright Tom Mula, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol received an After Dark Award, as well as the Cunningham Prize for Playwriting.

Stephen F. Vrtol III plays the role of Marley. Steve is an Artists’ Ensemble regular, seen most recently in the double role of Uncle Thomas and Anatole, the homicidal French chef, in Jeeves in Bloom. Amber Gray, a senior at Rockford College, plays Bogle, Marley’s guide in the netherworld. Jamie Button, last seen at AE as Dr. Gibbs in Our Town, plays Scrooge. David Causey plays multiple roles including the Record Keeper and Bob Cratchit. Causey was also in AE’s production of Our Town and was seen as the Lion in Starlight Theatre’s production of The Wiz. AE Artistic Director Richard Raether directs.

Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol runs Dec. 4-20 in the Cheek Theatre at Rockford College. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Thursday tickets are $18. All other shows are $26, $24 for seniors, and $10 for students. Students can take advantage of AE’s 5@5 program—unsold tickets will be sold to full-time students at 5 minutes before curtain for only $5. To purchase tickets, visit or call (815) 394-5004.

Artists’ Ensemble is the professional theater in residence at Rockford College. For more information about AE’s production, contact Richard Raether at (815) 540-4717 (cell).

From the December 2-8, 2009 issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!