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NMSU Theatre Arts and ASTC present Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol'

New Mexico State University's Department of Theatre Arts, in collaboration with the American Southwest Theater Company, will present an adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Nov. 30 through Dec. 16 at the Hershel Zohn Theatre on the NMSU campus.

Tom Smith, playwright, actor and assistant professor at NMSU, has adapted one of the most beloved tales of all time, "A Christmas Carol," the classic story of the curmudgeonly miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his magical redemption.

"The story transcends the specifics of time and place," Smith said. "That's why it has lasted so long. You don't have to be a specific religion, or age, or anything to get the idea that we should always keep joy in our heart."

Originally written just a few weeks after Dickens' visit to America in 1843, the story has been specially adapted for local artists and audiences.

"It has become a Las Cruces holiday tradition, and, as with all the best traditions, the production has familiar elements with new twists," Smith said. "This year's production features a new director, new Scrooge, and all new ghosts."

Another new element of this year's production encourages audiences to join with the cast and crew in celebrating the message of giving at the heart of "A Christmas Carol." ASTC is holding a gift drive to coincide with the production and asks that audience members bring a new, unwrapped toy or book to the theater during the run of the show.

"A Christmas Carol" is the third production of the 2007-08 NMSU Theater Arts/ASTC season. It is directed by NMSU student and veteran director Zachary Bannister. Bannister leads an experienced production team that includes NMSU faculty members Deb Brunson, costume designer; Jim Billings, scenery and lighting designer; Dave Hereford, props designer; and Mike Wise, stage manager. Carrie Oliver serves as music director for the show while Marisa Ortega is the choreographer. Aside from adapting the script, Smith also will be appearing in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Filling key roles are current NMSU students Michael Anderson, Denise Castaneda, Sean Darragh, David Driscoll, Grady Easterling, Mandy Guitar, Seleena Hoban, Matt Jones, Rebecca McCallum, Dan Mulkerin, Sarah Shannon, Josh Tafoya, Sarah Vannest, and Helene Waldemarson. Local actors Molly Stryker, Josh Shakra, Cole Myers, Stephen Markham, Lauren Anderson, Griffin Buck, Mason Marks, and Madison Rowlison complete the cast.

"One of the unique things about this production is that it was written especially for NMSU," Smith said. "The spirit of the holidays will fill the theater!"

Ticket prices vary from $10 - $15 depending on performance dates. Call the ASTC box office at (575) 646-4515 or 1-800-646-ASTC for details.