PRESS RELEASE: A Chrismas Carol Comes to Lowell with Live Music and MRT Favorite Joel Colodner

DATE: November 8, 2017
PR CONTACT: Taryn Kimel,
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7595
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678


This inventive small-cast version of the Dickens classic will delight the whole family
November 29-December 24, 2017

Lowell, MA – Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) continues its 39th season with a beloved Christmas story, A Christmas Carol.

MRT favorite Joel Colodner (It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Going to See the Kid) uses his dexterous voice and inventive acting to bring Ebenezer Scrooge and the rest of your favorite characters to life. Inspired by Charles Dickens’ own live storytelling performances—and with your favorite carols played by live onstage musicians—we’ll remind you of the true meaning of Christmas: the singular joy of fellowship and compassion.

Directed by MRT Director in Residence Megan Sandberg-Zakian (The Royale, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play) and adapted from the Charles Dickens novella by Tony Brown, this beloved classic has not been performed at MRT in over 20 years.

Sean Daniels, MRT’s artistic director, believes that this Dickens tale is particularly relevant right now: “It’s a timely, urgent story for 2017 - what is our responsibility to take care of others if we have ‘enough?’ Scrooge at the beginning wants to know why the poor don’t pull themselves up by their boot straps. Do we hear that same argument in our modern day rhetoric? The question that Dickens asks—how can we improve the lives of our fellow man? It’s the most important question we should be asking right now—and the joy we see in Scrooge in the end, when he invests in others, should be a lesson to us all.”

“I’ve always loved this classic story of redemption and the rediscovery of joy in our fellow humans. This is my first time directing A Christmas Carol, and I couldn't be more thrilled to be doing at MRT with artists I love and admire. It's also been really exciting and moving to read about Dickens’ visits to Lowell. I think he would approve of the simplicity and sincerity of our production, which is inspired by how much joy he himself took in reading his words and sharing them with audiences,” explained Sandberg-Zakian.

Daniels believes that the production will have particular resonance with the local audience, saying, “A Christmas Carol is one of the great stories of our time—and the fact that Dickens also came to Lowell and may have been inspired by the Mill Girls only cements it as THE show to be telling at Christmas time in Lowell.  Add in all the music that Megan Sandberg-Zakian and Nathan Leigh are putting in, and I’m sure it will be the holiday family event of the season.”

The approximately 2-hour show will be performed with one intermission. Performances are November 29-December 24, 2017. Press performances are at 8:00 PM on Saturday, December 2 (Opening Night) and 2:00 PM on Sunday, December 3. All performances will be held at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre located at 50 East Merrimack Street in historic downtown Lowell. Tickets range from $26 - $73 and are on sale now at or by calling 978-654-4678.

More information is at

More About the Play

A Christmas Carol was originally written by Charles Dickens in 1843 and stands as one of the most beloved and well-known Christmas stories today. The play tells the story of wealthy miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by a series of ghosts on Christmas Eve that take him through the past, present, and potential future of his life. By the end, Scrooge’s view of the world, his community, and himself is left profoundly and permanently changed.

A Christmas Carol has had countless adaptations for virtually every medium, including stage, television, film, opera, and radio. Tony Brown’s adaptation draws on the tradition of Charles Dickens’s public readings of the novella, which he performed aloud over one hundred times between 1852 and 1870 (the year of his death).

This production will feature Joel Colodner as Charles Dickens performing his work, as well as live musicians performing the traditional carols of the time.

Creative Team and Cast

The cast is led by Joel Colodner, seen previously at MRT in It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Going to See the Kid, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Mrs. Whitney. Colodner’s credits span Broadway, Off-Broadway, film, and television.

The cast also features Rebecca White (Musician).

The creative team headed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Director, includes Randall Parsons (Sets), Miranda Kau Giurleo (Costumes), Devorah Kengmana (Lighting), and Nathan Leigh (Sound and Music Direction).


Tickets range from $26 - $73 and are available at or by calling 978-654-4678. A senior discount is offered for 10% off adult ticket prices. Student tickets are $15. Group discounts are available for groups of six or more by calling 978-654-7561.

Special Events

$5 NIGHT: November 29, 7:30 PM Patrons may purchase tickets for $5, cash only, at the Box Office between 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Limit 2 tickets per person.

WINE DOWN FRIDAY: December 1, 8:00 PM Enjoy a complimentary glass of wine with the cast and crew in the lobby following the 8:00 pm performance, as well as with the Western Avenue Studios Artists Association members whose work is currently on exhibit in the lobby.

LOWELL NIGHT: December 6, 7:30 PM Lowell residents may purchase tickets for $10, cash only, at the box office from 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Proper ID required, limit 2 per person.

ASK THE ARTISTS POST-SHOW DISCUSSION: November 30 and December 14 Post-Show Discussions will provide an opportunity for the audience to hear directly from the actors and other artists who created the show.

FREE CHILD CARE: December 9, 4:00 PM MRT will offer Free Child Care provided by licensed professionals from Acre Family Child Care at the 4:00 pm October 28 performance. (Reservations required, visit for more information.)

EDUCATOR DISCOUNT DAY: December 9, 4:00 PM and MILITARY DISCOUNT DAY: December 9, 4:00 PM MRT will also offer Educator and Military Discounts of 50% off tickets to the December 9, 4:00 PM performance using the discount codes ED50 and MIL50. (Please show ID when picking up tickets.)

LADIES NIGHT: December 14, 6:00 PM Enjoy Complimentary wine, gourmet cheese from Mill City Cheesemongers, and handmade confections from Sweet Lydia's before the show.


A Christmas Carol has received support from Arts Consulting Group, the production sponsor, and Merrimack Valley Magazine, the media sponsor. MRT’s 2017-18 Season Sponsor is Circle Health. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

About MRT

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre company since 1979 and is an integral part of Lowell’s identity as the cultural heart of the region. MRT produces vibrant, contemporary plays that explore what it means to be alive today. A seven-show season runs from September through May in the intimate 279-seat Nancy L. Donahue Theatre. The company is known as a leader in producing new plays, especially world and regional premieres. MRT is one of 72 theatres nationwide (one of three in Massachusetts) with membership in LORT (the League of Resident Theatres).

MRT 2017-18 Season

The Royale by Marco Ramirez, Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
September 13 – October 8, 2017

Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson, Directed by Sean Daniels
October 18 – November 12, 2017

A Christmas Carol Adapted by Tony Brown, Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
November 29 – December 24, 2017

KNYUM, Created and performed by Vichet Chum, Directed by KJ Sanchez
January 10 – February 4, 2018

Lost Laughs: The Slapstick Tragedy of Fatty Arbuckle by Andy Bayiates and Aaron Muñoz, Directed by Nathan Keepers
February 14 – March 11, 2018

Little Orphan Danny Originally Conceived by Dan Finnerty; Created by Sean Daniels and Dan Finnerty; Book, Music, and Lyrics by Dan Finnerty; Additional Music by Dan Lipton; Directed by Sean Daniels
March 21 – April 15, 2018

The Villains’ Supper Club by Lila Rose Kaplan, Directed by Sean Daniels
April 25 – May 20, 2018

Merrimack Repertory Theatre

Performance Space: The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre 
(In Liberty Hall, adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Box Office: 978-654-4678

Image Download

(Headshots available now, PR photos available November 17, production photos available November 30.)

1. Visit the A Christmas Carol Photo Collection on Flickr (
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3. Click on the thumbnail and let the image load in your browser on the Flickr site.
4. Click the download button and select “View All Sizes.”
5. Select the size you wish to download from the choices listed across the top of the image.
6. Click the "Download the ___ size of this photo..." link at the top. The image will download to your computer.