Bah Humbug! One-man show of ‘A Christmas Carol’ returns to Howmet Playhouse

Local actor and Muskegon Community College professor Tom Harryman will perform a one-man rendition of "A Christmas Carol" at the Howmet Playhouse on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. (MLive.com file)

Local actor and Muskegon Community College professor Tom Harryman will perform a one-man rendition of “A Christmas Carol” at the Howmet Playhouse on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. (MLive.com file)

By Tony Wittkowski | Reporter | MLive – Muskegon Chronicle

WHITEHALL, MI — As an instructor of theater at Muskegon Community College, Tom Harryman knows his way around a stage.

One of his signature performances will be coming to the Howmet Playhouse for a 3 p.m. show Sunday, Dec. 7. Adapting Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” into a one-man show, Harryman will tell the story of Ebenezer Scrooge through a new narrative.

“It’s a challenge doing what is essentially a 70-minute presentation,” Harryman said. “It’s certainly a well-known story. The first time I did ‘A Christmas Carol’ was in 2006 or 2007. It’s been very popular around the area.”

The MCC faculty member has taken his one-man show out of the box and dusted it off every few years. Two years ago Harryman performed at the Howmet, in Big Rapids and later in Grand Haven.

This year he is expected to perform at the Howmet on Dec. 7 and the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 19 and Dec. 20.

“I’ve been in theater pretty much all of my life and the preparation is just getting the story down in my head,” Harryman said. “I like solo performance work. I’ve done a couple of shows that way. Plus, I love the story.”

One of the main things that come into play for choosing to do “A Christmas Carol” for Harryman is how spooky it can be, as well as its abundance of great characters.

With no costume or set changes, Harryman finds a way to take on more than one persona through the narrative.

“You come to hear a story and use your imagination,” he said. “It’s a little more direct contact with the audience.”

Beth Beaman, director for the Howmet, said she first began talking with Harryman about coming back for another show a couple months back.

Beaman first saw the college educator perform his one-man show at the Frauenthal, where he chose another production that combined several pieces of work from Edgar Allen Poe.

“It was amazing to watch him perform and see that after a short amount of time it was Edgar Allen Poe on that stage,” Beaman said.

Harryman said he gets requests for his shows all the time. However, it’s his love of the craft that keeps him coming back to the stage.

“I think that a lot of the themes that are addressed in ‘A Christmas Carol’ are probably as relevant today as they were when Dickens wrote them in terms of helping people, in terms of how we treat one another.”

Harbor Light Credit Union is sponsoring the event as tickets are being sold at $10 for adults and $5 for students. Attendees can get tickets at Whitehall City Hall or at the door. For more information regarding the show or tickets, visit the Howmet’s website at http://www.howmetplayhouse.org.

Tony Wittkowski is a staff reporter at MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at twittkow@mlive.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Dec. 1, 2014)

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