“Scrooge: The Musical” opens Dec. 16

This busy Christmas season there are likely many things on the to do list. One thing that could be added to that list is the performance by the Arts and Mentoring Project (AMP) of “Scrooge: The Musical,” which is set to take the stage at the Pipestone Performing Arts Center (PPAC) Dec. 16 through 18.

AMP was founded and focuses on fostering positive relationships with the arts in bringing them to youth of the community. This production is slightly different than previous projects as this time both adults and youth have been cast to bring this story to life as more of a community production. The blended cast of all ages allows for a great collaboration both on and off the stage.

The large cast of 50 members took the stage for rehearsal at the Pipestone Performing Arts Center (PPAC) for the first time last week. The busy schedule at the PPAC has just been one of the challenges for this large cast production. Despite the challenges, the cast and crew have put in a lot of time preparing for the show and opening night is expected to be grand. T. Stangle

“This play has been on my bucket list and I am so excited to finally bring it to the stage here in Pipestone,”said Reggie Gorter, the musical director of the production and one of the founding members of AMP.

“Scrooge: The Musical” was first planned in 2020, but the pandemic changed everyone’s plans. The production is finally taking place now two years later.

Previous productions by AMP have been in the spring and summer. This is the first time they have taken on a production in the winter season. The winter season has proven to have some difficulties for the cast. Practices have competed with busy school schedules, weather, sicknesses and extra-curricular activities.

The Pipestone Performing Arts Center, where the show will take stage, has been very busy with other events making practices even more challenging. The large cast of 50 members has held practices regularly at the Historic St. Paul Episcopal Church when they were not able to get into the Performing Arts Center. Although the building is beautiful, the large cast proved to be a challenge for the smaller quarters requiring directors and cast to be creative.

The director of the show is Pipestone’s very own Brenna Jones. Jones now calls San Jose, Calif. her home full time. However, when she was asked about directing this production, she took the opportunity.
“I love doing theater in more rural areas,” Jones said. “Bringing something that isn’t always here is so fun. There is great talent here.”

Jones, a 1996 Pipestone Area Schools graduate also said, “this is an enormous cast with amazing costumes, sets, live orchestra, and just a lot of fun music with choreography. Yes, coming to a rural area you are working with novices and working from scratch, but it has turned into an amazing production.”

Jones was also drawn back to Pipestone in 2016 to direct the production Mary Poppins, but this was her first time getting to work with Gorter. The two together, along with the rest of the AMP board, volunteers, creative team, live orchestra and crew have created a dream team for this production.

Part of the cast is Erica Boomgaarden and her two children Brynley and Isaac. After joining her worship team at Cornerstone Church for the first time last year, Boomgaarden said that she has really enjoyed learning how to sing. As the wife to Pipestone Area Schools head football coach, Boomgaarden said that the timing for this production was a perfect fit for her and her two children to join for the first time. She said that football season was still in full swing when play practices started. Now, she is excited to have family and friends come to see all their hard work as a production this size requires a lot of time commitment.

“We are having so much fun and it has been a really great experience to do with my children and build those memories with them,” Boomgaarden said. “They are seeing me try something new which is singing and dancing in front of people. But it is never too late to try something new and do it for fun because you can find joy in things that you never knew you could.”

“Scrooge: The Musical” takes place in a 19th century London town where Ebenezer Scrooge undergoes an experience of redemption over Christmas Eve night after being visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

Scrooge the Musical will take the Pipestone Performing Arts Center stage on Dec. 16 through 18. Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinee is at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Pipestone Performing Arts Center website at www.pipestoneperformingartscenter.com or by calling the box office at 507-825-2020.