A Winter's Tale


By Chanin Victor November 17, 2017

A totally sold out performance this past Sunday for "A Winter's Tale" must mean it's a good show, right?  Well actually, "The Musical Dickens of a Christmas Carol", based on "A Christmas Carol" by Charles DIckens turned out to be a show that we thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely recommend as a fun thing to do on the weekend with your family  I would say kids from ages 4-5 and all the way up , including teenagers would find it to be entertaining at the very least.  

Waiting for the show to start, we saw a street scene on stage that would easily transform into Scrooge's bedroom, where the ghosts would visit him... and the two houses of the Cratchits and Scrooge's relatives.  The sets were very realistic of the time period as were the costumes and even the lovely British accents the cast used with ease.  

The story, music and lyrics written by David Patrick Taylor and additional lyrics by Kelli and Douglas James, included 15 original songs, all good, some very 80's rock anthem or ballad-esque.  I mean, this was written back in 1984, but is so loved and adored by Anne Gesling, the director, that they've reprised it over the years.  To be honest, the same story of a Christmas Carol that we've heard every year over and over needed a little "pump it up" and "breathe new life into it" action.  I mean, we already knew that Scrooge would see three ghosts, say "Bah Humbug" a lot, and correct the error of his ways to save his soul as well as the sweet little Tiny Tim, played by Lexi Sexton, her first Y.E.S. show and she stole the show.  I also really liked the performances by Bob Cratchit (Hollister Starrett), and I truly cannot believe that Scrooge himself (Quinn Robinson) is a junior in High School; he had me fooled.  The vocal talents of the entire cast were spot on and impressive.  Anyway, this musical version makes the story way more interesting....sorry Mr. Dickens.  

The cast of the Santa Monica Morgan-Wixson Theatre's 22nd Annual Youth Musical is the talented kids and  young adults of the Youth Education Entertainment Series, AKA Y.E.S.  There have been 22 youth musicals so far and they have many more coming up.  This was the BIG Y.E.S. Fall musical that happens every year.  It has the biggest cast and the most expense, so it is a tad more to buy a ticket than the other Y.E.S. shows of the year, but totally worth it.  Last year, Y.E.S. did four musicals and one play.  The same is planned for this year.  The next musical will be "The Velveteen Rabbit" (Saturday/Sunday - 11am - February 3-17.  The next ones will be "Curious George: The Golden Meatball" and "The Little Mermaid Jr."  Finally, the play this season will be "Junie B. Jones Is Not  A Crook".  

Y.E.S. is committed to promoting children's literacy by bringing books to life.  99% of the time, the Y.E.S. shows are based on children's literature.  The Mainstage also has two musicals based on children's literature coming this season: "Little Women" (March 17 - April 14) and "Mary Poppins" (June 30- Aug 4).  FYI: Parents and Teachers...a great idea would be to read the book together and then go see the show.  Read the Book!  See the Show!  There is no other musical theatre program for kids like this in West LA.  The kids here are really serious about musical theatre.  The audition process (including rejections!), rehearsal schedule, and expectations for professionalism all reflect what it's like to do musical theatre as an adult.  Many Y.E.S. kids may do MWT Mainstage shows as well, such as "Seussical the Musical", which I also saw and reviewed, or they may choose to instead work behind the scenes on tech or even direct for some shows.  So, it's an amazing opportunity for these kids.  MWT is the perfect place to expose young children to musical theatre as audience members as well.  I think after bringing my daughter to these shows, she is starting to sing the songs and just more interested in general in the theatre (and uh-oh maybe even a little acting herself!). If you think your child might be interested in being a part of the  Y.E.S. productions, they are open to all and there are no fees or membership dues for participation. To perform or work behind-the-scenes, please sign up to receive audition information by joining their mailing list.  Also, most of these kids take a three-hour dance workshop (jazz, tap, ballet) each Sunday afternoon that, although open to all but not required, was specially designed to fit the dance needs of Y.E.S.  For more info on the Winter Dance Workshop, click HERE

The Morgan-Wixson Theatre has been around since 1966, after the "old" Morgan theatre burned down.  Like anything that ages, it gets a little shabby and needs some good old rejuvenation.  So...Fixin' the Morgan-Wixson is in the works.  There will be two phases and "Phase One" is the seats.  They plan to replace the seat cushion and seat backs, as well as replace the cork on the back of the house and possibly replace the house and side lights and expect to have that completed sometime next year.  "Phase Two" is still a little up in the air since they are still in planning stages, but the general plan is to renovate the lobby, bathrooms, create an outside lobby space in the alley, and completely change the look of the front of the theatre.  They are hoping to keep the theatre open during the major "Phase Two" renovation, but they may need to delete one show in the season to accommodate the renovation.  It is still to be determined.  

A documentary being shown this weekend on Saturday, November 18th at 5:30PM and 9PM will be a special fundraiser in support of Fixin the Morgan-Wixson.  Following the documentary will be a reception as well. To see a trailer for the documentary click HERE.  Tickets to each screening are only $30 each and include a buffet reception.   The schedule is: 5:30 screening #1 / 7:30 - 8:30 buffet reception and then second screening is 9pm screening #2.  All ticket holders are invited to the reception.  BUY TICKETS HERE!

The Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica will be presenting "A Winter's Tale" every single Saturday and Sunday @2PM until December 16th.  You can get tickets at the Box Office by calling 310-828-7519 or going online at  I would get them soon as they are probably going to continue having sold out performances, as they should.  

Convenient free parking is available at the Venice Family Clinic at 2509 Pico Boulevard, just one block west of the theatre.

A MUST-SEE this holiday season!

Photo Credits: Miriam Billington 

The Santa Monica Theatre Guild at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre is a not-for-profit volunteer community theatre that provides a balanced, varied and challenging season of published plays. Their mission is to entertain, educate, enrich, and inspire all ages – engaging the community in live theatre experiences which reflect dramatic and cultural diversity.  They serve the community by producing plays which reflect its cultural diversity and allow all who participate the opportunity to grow in their abilities.