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Gray Areas: Touring ‘Christmas Carol’ features Valley talent

Andy Gray

Assorted rambling from the world of entertainment:

l A touring production of “A Christmas Carol” comes to Youngstown State University on Monday as part of the Donald P. Pipino Performing Arts Series.

Audience members might mistake it for a local production.

The touring company features several people on stage and behind the scenes with local ties.

Emelia Sherin (female swing / townsperson / party guest / puppeteer) is a Howland High School graduate, and Mitchell Sharp (male swing / Topper / helmsman / townsperson) grew up in Beloit and graduated from YSU earlier this year.

Both have plenty of local stage credits, and Sherin choreographed Youngstown Playhouse’s current production of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” and Kent State University at Trumbull Theatre’s recent production of “Escape to Margaritaville” before heading out on tour.

Tech director for “A Christmas Carol” is Grayson McCrory, who also graduated from YSU this year and appeared in Millennial Theatre Company and YSU shows when she was a student. Sound engineer is James Oakry, a 2021 YSU grad who has worked on productions at YSU and the Playhouse.

The tour started Nov. 25 in South Carolina and will do 22 performances in 20 cities in 28 days, which makes for a schedule filled with back-to-back shows in different cities, oftentimes with a drive of up to 8 hours in between.

The tour is created by Perseverance Productions and features an original script by Lowell Williams that takes the Charles Dickens’ tale and explores the relationship between Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley (Scrooge’s former business partner and the first apparition to visit him on Christmas Eve) in greater detail.

It include special effects, puppetry, song and dance, and humor. The songs were composed by Justin Hill, with lyrics by Randall West and Dan Kamin. West also directs the tour, and Kamin stars as Scrooge.

“A Christmas Carol” will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Bliss Hall’s Ford Theater. Tickets are $30 for adults; $25 for senior citizens and YSU faculty, staff and alumni; and $10 for teens. Children 12 and younger and YSU students are admitted free. Tickets are available online at www.tix.com/ticket-sales/ysu/4712/

• Former Tribune Chronicle and Vindicator colleague Renee Fox now works for the public radio station WOSU-FM in Columbus. She is writer and host of the new podcast “The Power Grab,” which chronicles the wheeling and dealing around House Bill 6, which provided a $1.5 billion bailout of Ohio nuclear power plants.

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was sentenced to 20 years in prison for racketeering charges for a $60 million bribery scheme funded by FirstEnergy Corp. that Householder used to rise to power and get his allies elected.

I’ve listened to the first episode so far and it is filled clandestine recordings by the FBI that make the parties involved look even worse, which I didn’t think was possible.

Coincidentally, the fifth episode of the podcast, which focuses on an alleged $4 million bribe to Sam Randazzo just before Gov. Mike DeWine appointed him to lead the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, was released on Monday, the same day Randazzo was indicted for bribery and wire fraud by a federal grand jury.

The final episode will be released on Monday, and “The Power Grab” is available from all podcast providers.

Andy Gray is the entertainment editor of Ticket. Write to him at agray@tribtoday.com

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