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A  Christmas  Carol

November 19 to December 30, 2016

Theatre Three presents A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens
Adapted for the stage by JEFFREY E. SANZEL

“I will honor Christmas in my heart …” Celebrate the season with Long Island’s own holiday tradition. Follow the miser Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey that teaches him the true meaning of Christmas—past, present and future. As described by Newsday—“There could scarcely be a finer tribute to [Dickens’] legend than A CHRISTMAS CAROL at THEATRE THREE”—join us for our for our 33nd annual production of the immortal classic in all of its thrills, music, joy, and spirit.

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Ebenezer Scrooge   JEFFREY SANZEL
Fezziwig/Topper   GEORGE LIBERMAN
Fred Halliwell/Ghost of Christmas Future   DYLAN ROBERT POULOS
 First Seeker of Mercy/Old Joe    ANTOINE JONES
 Belle/Second Seeker of Mercy   EMILY GATES
 Ghost of Christmas Present/Dick Wilkins   BOBBY MONTANIZ
Mrs. Dilber/Mrs. Fezziwig GINGER DALTON
Jacob Marley/Poulterer   STEVEN UIHLEIN
 Ghost of Christmas Past/Janet   JESSICA CONTINO
Mrs. Cratchit/Schoolmatron   SUZIE DUNN

Production Design   RANDALL PARSONS
Lighting & Sound Design   ROBERT W. HENDERSON, JR.
Stage Manager   Peter Casdia
Original Musical Conception & Sound Effects Design   ELLEN MICHELMORE
Associate Musical Director   STEVE McCOY
New Musical Design & Musical Direction   WILLIAM ROSLAK
Adapted & Directed by   JEFFREY SANZEL
Thu Fri Sat Sun
3 & 7pm
3 & 7pm
3 & 7pm
3 & 7pm
3 & 7pm
3 & 7pm
3 & 7pm
3 & 7pm
Wed. Matinee: Dec. 7 @ 2pm
Wed.  Dec. 28 @ 3 & 7pm
Behind the Curtain with A CHRISTMAS CAROL
(Full buffet supper and talk with Jeffrey Sanzel)

Thursday Dec. 8 @ 5pm
Please call the Box Office to purchase tickets for this event

Adults $35
Seniors (65+) $28
Students (13+) $28
Children (5-12) $20
(under 5 not permitted)

Interview with Doug Quattrock

Theater Talk with Douglas Quattrock
November 17, 2016, by Melissa Arnold

Acting has been a part of Douglas Quattrock’s life for decades now, but like a kid at Christmas, he waits all year to take the stage for Theatre Three’s “A Christmas Carol,” which opens this weekend. Quattrock, 52, of Selden, is director of development, group sales and special events coordinator for the theater. On stage, he’s Bob Cratchit, the long-suffering clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge and the father of Tiny Tim. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Quattrock as he prepares to play the quintessential character for the 27th year.

How long have you been with Theatre Three?
I performed in my first show at Theatre Three in 1982 and became an official part of the staff in 2004.

What got you interested in acting?
I grew up in New York City and then moved out to Long Island in high school. I had to take an elective, and they had a spot open in chorus, but I didn’t realize I could sing. After that I spent a lot of time in the music room and taught myself to play piano. From there I got involved with the school’s productions and discovered I had a passion for it, whether I was acting or on the stage crew.

When did you first appear in ‘A Christmas Carol’?
Back in 1989, I was doing a show in East Islip, and (director) Jeff Sanzel saw me perform. He came backstage and asked me if I would audition for Bob Cratchit for the upcoming production at Theatre Three.

Did you hope to play Bob Cratchit from the beginning?
Absolutely. I’d seen the production before and a few friends had done the role before me. I’ve loved the story for as long as I can remember. I love [Cratchit’s] hope and connection to his family — he comes from a large family, just like I do. We grew up in a small apartment and my parents always struggled to make Christmas special for us, even if they couldn’t afford much. They taught us it was all about family.

Do you feel you’ve brought anything new or different to the role?
As I’ve gotten older, I come to appreciate more the value of family and what really matters in life … I focus so much on that in the role. I hope people can see that, and that my family knows how much I love and appreciate their support.

Tell me about the cast.
While Scrooge, Mr. Fezziwig and myself have been the same for many years, there are also new people that come onboard every year. They bring a fresh, new energy to the show and new dynamics. For example, I’ve (appeared with) many different women who were playing Mrs. Cratchit over the years. Each of them has her own way of playing the role, which affects our relationship on stage. It’s really exciting to see how it changes with time.

What is it like working with the young people in the cast?
The children are just amazing. It’s fun to watch them grow up and go on to other roles in the show or other productions over the years. [Director] Jeffrey [Sanzel] works so hard to instill good values and responsibility in them, to let them know how important they are to the show. If they’re not on stage, they’re either watching rehearsals or doing homework — they need to keep up with every aspect of their lives. Theater provides such a wonderful outlet of expression and education for children.

What is it like working with Jeffrey Sanzel as both director and Scrooge?
He has so much passion and warmth not only for this story, but for everything he does here professionally. I consider him a friend. It’s amazing for me to watch him make the transformation into Scrooge — he’s very scary. It’s especially so because he’s also my boss in real life! But we have a unique relationship.

Is the show scary? Are there any special effects?
Yes, it is scary — we don’t recommend it for children under five, and if they’re five, they shouldn’t sit in the front. There are fog machines, strobe lights, loud noises, darkness, voices from below, a 14-foot ghost and much more. We recommend that they watch other versions of “A Christmas Carol” first so they have an idea of what the show’s about.

Is this your favorite time of year?
Without a doubt!

‘A Christmas Carol’ will be adding extra shows during the Port Jefferson Dickens Festival, which falls on Dec. 3 and 4 this year. What do you most enjoy about the Dickens Festival weekend?
It’s amazing seeing how the whole village embraces this production. They decorate [Port Jefferson] so beautifully and everyone comes together to support what we do. It’s like the whole place comes to life.

What is so special about community theater?
It’s about taking limited resources and creating the best productions from that. We create with heart, imagination and a lot of hard work. That comes from within. And when a show goes well, it’s that much more exciting and valuable.

People have said that you always make them teary-eyed in your last scene with Scrooge. How does that make you feel?
That’s my favorite scene, even though it’s the shortest between us. From Bob’s perspective, the whole story has been building up to that moment, when Scrooge says (Bob’s) son, Tim, will walk again. Scrooge has so many redemptive moments in the last few minutes of the show, and it’s so powerful. I love knowing that moves people. I want people in the audience to see that even the tiniest gestures of kindness can mean so much to someone. That is Christmas to me. If the audience can walk away with that message, and capture the spirit of the season, then I’ve done my job.


Scenes from A Christmas Carol

  • Cr Alex shoulder 4
  • Cratchit Scrooge Fred 1
  • Fezziwig toast
  • Group 1 serious
  • Ivy Cratchit 2
  • Past 1
  • Present Children 1
  • Scrooge 5
  • Scrooge Future 1
  • Theatre Three A CHRISTMAS CAROL Bobby Montaniz as the Ghost of Christmas Present & Jeffrey Sanzel as Scrooge'
  • Yes & No Ivy 1

Read the Dan's Papers Review of A Christmas Carol

Not a humbug to be had at Theatre Three’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

by Michael Tessler -November 23, 2016

Though the holidays are usually filled with joy, they’re certainly not without their own special breed of stress, which seems to melt away as Theatre Three gifts our community with a profound and magical experience that allows us to escape into the marvelous imaginative world of the late, great Charles Dickens. Theatre Three provides more than just a distraction — it provides unparalleled delights that will stir up the best childlike emotions in each of us.

Jeffrey Sanzel, the show’s director, faces the unique challenge of annually reimagining “A Christmas Carol.” He seamlessly completes this task with his usual grace and confidence. For over 30 years the show has been a must-see tradition for Long Island families and visitors. Sanzel’s vision shines brighter than ever as he masterfully directs his cast. While the story remains the same, its characters are all the more captivating because of the great direction he provides.

What’s most impressive is that not only does Sanzel direct, but he also stars in the iconic role of Ebenezer Scrooge. For those unfamiliar with the classic Dickens novel, Scrooge is a man whose greed supersedes his humanity. One night he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley (Steven Uihlein) who informs him that hell awaits him if he doesn’t change his ways. This propels him on an unlikely journey of self-reflection and change.

Sanzel plays not only an older Scrooge, but a younger more lively version of himself. His ability to change physicality and characters instantly is one of his most impressive qualities, and there are plenty!

Douglas J. Quattrock as Bob Cratchit & Jeffrey Sanzel as Scrooge in a scene from ‘A Christmas Carol’. Photo by Brian Hoerger, Theatre Three Productions, Inc. Bob Cratchit, played by the ever-so-gentle Douglas Quattrock, is beyond endearing. There’s a righteousness and goodness about this man that can be felt genuinely by the audience. Cratchit, who works as a clerk for the elderly Mr. Scrooge, endures considerable workplace trauma to make sure his family is fed and taken care of. Despite his hard work, his youngest son, Tiny Tim, remains at the precipice of death. Quattrock will have you grinning cheek to cheek as he embraces his wife played with love by Suzie Dunn and the rest of the family.

Jeffrey Sanzel as Scrooge & Jessica Contino as Ghost of Christmas Past in a scene from ‘A Christmas Carol’. Photo by Brian Hoerger, Theatre Three Productions, Inc. Alongside Cratchit is the kind-hearted and abandoned nephew of Scrooge, Fred Halliwell. There’s a certain glee in Dylan Poulos’ performance. He’s almost infused with the spirit of Christmas itself, which I suppose would make sense as he also plays the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come! Halliwell seeks nothing more than to rekindle a relationship with his past by getting to know his only living relative, dear Uncle Scrooge. What he doesn’t realize is that his eyes are the same eyes as his departed mother, a painful reminder for old Ebenezer. Fan Scrooge Halliwell (Megan Bush/Sophia Knapp) lives and breathes in certain sequences, and perfectly portrays the love between two close siblings.

Among my favorite cast members is the larger-than-life Fezziwig, played with great fervor by George Liberman. He’s joined alongside his stage wife, played by Ginger Dalton. These two form a comedic pair that will have you smiling as wide as the horizon! There’s something so whimsical about watching Fezziwig’s ball unfold on-stage: the dancing, the singing, everything. Watching you can’t help but feel that you’re up there with them. My favorite part of this sequence is watching the curmudgeon Scrooge transform into a spruce young man who woos and proposes to Fezziwig’s daughter, Belle, played by a belle of extraordinary talent, Emily Gates.

Scrooge (Jeffrey Sanzel) with a very ‘cheeky’ Ghost of Christmas Present (Bobby Montaniz). Photo by Brian Hoerger, Theatre Three Productions, Inc. All three spirits are truly splendid. Jessica Contino shines as the Ghost of Christmas Past, bringing Scrooge on a journey that forces him to reconcile many of the mistakes and heartbreaks a long life will bring. Bobby Montaniz nails perfectly the essence of the Ghost of Christmas Present, and while he’s not a giant, his impressive voice certainly sounds like he is! His deep laughter will echo in your belly all through the evening!

Finally the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come may be the most visually impressive puppetry I’ve seen at Theatre Three yet (and they pulled out an actual dragon for “Shrek!”). This massive and haunting figure must be at least 15 feet tall and is adorned in a black tattered cloak and hood and is perfectly embellished by the brilliant lighting layout by Robert Henderson.

In addition to an incredible cast and superb lighting, this is one of the most beautiful sets I’ve ever seen. There’s a craftsmanship that far exceeds your usual stage show, and not only does it show but genuinely adds to the ambiance of the production. I’ve got nothing but praise for Randall Parsons, the show’s production designer and his costume counterpart Bonnie Vidal.

There are many additional names in the cast and crew who are deserving of praise, especially the incredibly talented children who alternate each night and demonstrate a professionalism and talent well beyond their years. Give yourself and your loved ones a gift that is truly made of magic. Go see “A Christmas Carol.”

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present “A Christmas Carol” through Dec. 31. All tickets are $20 in November and range from $20 to $35 in December. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit

Theatre Three's Annual Production of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL

November 23, by Melissa Giordano

The show is wonderful to begin with; that you can be sure. Theatre Three's 33rd annual production of the beloved Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol has certainly become a beautiful tradition on Long Island. Even with slight changes throughout the years, this ageless production is as spectacular as ever.

Jeffrey Sanzel, the Artistic Director of the Port Jefferson venue, directs the dazzling show running through December 30th. Additionally, Mr. Sanzel stars as our favorite miserable miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. As we know, the story takes place on the night of Christmas Eve through Chrismas morning when... shall we say... frugal Mr. Scrooge is visited by three ghosts to save his greedy soul from an eternity of shackles and chains. Among the ghosts that visit are Mr. Scrooge's deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet To Come. Mr. Sanzel's performance of the role from being crotchety to ultimately finding the Christmas spirit is truly inspiring; really the best around.

Mr. Sanzel leads the extraordinary, large cast filled with Theatre Three vets - with some newbies mixed in - many of whom hold several roles. Among the children, they even have two casts; "The Ivy Cast" and "The Holly Cast". At the crux of it, everyone in the company is outstanding.
In one of the more noticeable switches this year, Theatre Three favorite Steve Uihlein takes a turn as Jacob Marley in a boffo performance. The Ghost of Christmas Past is strongly portrayed by Jessica Contino whose powerful and commanding performance is one you will remember for quite some time. Furthermore, Long Island theatre vet Bobby Montaniz is hilarious as the Ghost of Christmas Present. As for the The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, that costume is operated this year by Dylan Robert Poulos. Yes, I said operated. In one of the most elaborate and amazing of costumes, the faceless undertaker-like ghost stands almost to the top of the stage. A ragged, black wrap drapes around him as he maneuvers back and forth. Unnerving fog surrounds him and his arms open brusquely to the sound of thunder as he is taking Scrooge through his potential future.

As for Mr. Sanzel's creative team, Randall Parsons' set is well done. The large stage has concealed sections and rolling pieces that are cleverly enhanced by Robert W. Henderson, Jr's atmospheric lighting. Over the years, Mr. Parsons has also coordinated the gorgeous costumes with the brilliant Bonnie Vidal who sadly passed away this year. You'll notice the costumes change very slightly from year to year, but you still get that 19th century aura.

And so, if you haven't seen this incarnation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in a while - or if you haven't seen at all - go see it. The classic story and this superb cast will surely get you into the Christmas spirit.

Review: ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Theatre Three: Broadway on Main Street

by Lori Speiser on November 21, 2016

Theatre Three: Broadway on Main Street opened its 33rd annual production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Written in 1843, A Christmas Carol is a story which has endured throughout the years. It has been retold many times in text and film, and is filled with themes which are still relevant today. There is a danger in retelling a story this well-known, as the audience knows what to expect next, but there is no boredom in this version.
Cleverly adapted and directed by Jeffrey E. Sanzel, this performance is filled with humor from dry wit to good fun, sweet family moments and scary ghostly appearances which keep the tale moving. Once again Theatre Three’s interpretation does not leave the audience wanting.

The sets, by Randall Parsons, were well done and added to the story telling. While in Scrooge’s office, a bridge in the background displayed characters coming and going, two side balconies had characters moving and speaking at other times, and the sets changed location with ease as the story continued.

Randall Parsons and the late Bonnie Vidal were responsible for the wonderful period costumes which helped create character and set tone. Many of the actors portrayed different characters, a task well done, and skillfully aided by the changes in costume.

Jeffrey Sanzel’s portrayal of Scrooge was excellent. When visiting the past he seamlessly changes from the younger Ebenezer to the older Scrooge. While there is a musical chime to highlight the change, his body language and demeanor change with the character. As he views the scenes shown to him by the ghosts, he starts to soften, then snaps right back to the hard-hearted Scrooge when questioned.

Jessica Contino was both assertive as The Ghost of Christmas Past as she took Scrooge back to look at his beginnings, and sweet and kind as Fred’s young wife.

Bobby Mantaniz, as The Ghost of Christmas Present, was boisterous and mischievous He brought high energy to his scenes with infectious laughter as he teased and mimicked Scrooge, mocking him with his own words, yet displayed impressive ire when angered. A true highlight of the show.

Steven Uihlein’s Marley was intensely unsettling as he forcefully expressed his frustration while warning Scrooge to not follow his path.

Dylan Robert Poulos’ Fred is alternately joyful and melancholic as he reveals his exasperation and sadness with his uncle as his overtures are continually rejected.

Douglas J. Quattrock played the meek and long-suffering Bob Cratchit effortlessly. Balancing his love for his family with the unjustness of his situation, he made the patient clerk a truly likeable character.

The first act culminated in a notable business scene in Scrooge’s office. This busy scene powerfully epitomized the theme of greed. Other highlights include Marley’s (Steven Uihlein) dramatic entrance, the jolly banter between Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig (George Liberman and Ginger Dalton), and the chilling appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Dylan Robert Poulous).

This A Christmas Carol has laughter, chills and sentiment. The Christmas spirit is certainly present as carols are sung throughout the play. From scary ghosts to Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, everyone!” this wonderful interpretation is sure to be a terrific addition to your holidays.
Also, be sure to arrive early to delight in the cast, in full costume, while they regale you with some wonderful Christmas caroling!

Running Time: Two hours, with a 15-minute intermission.
Advisory: Strobe lighting, and some startling/scary moments.

A Christmas Carol plays through December 30, 2016 at Theatre Three: Broadway on Main Street– 412 Main Street, in Port Jefferson, NY. For tickets, call the box office at (631) 928-9100, or purchase them online.

Commentary by: Jeb Ladouceur, November 27, 2016

All actors know something that probably escapes the ken of the average theatergoer: Audiences have a lot to do with the molding of a performer’s delivery, and ultimately they affect the success of a show. The reaction of patrons to a stage artist’s interpretation, whether to vocal inflection or on-stage activity, will invariably tell actors and their director what works, and what doesn’t. Of course, the experienced director, standing in for the audience during rehearsals, sees to it that performer and attendee will usually be in sync come opening night, but not even the most accomplished director can be a perfect audience-surrogate for an entire play.

Accordingly, it has been my experience that because of this interconnection, stage shows generally tend to get better with each passing performance … and by the time a production is ready to close, it will likely be at its polished and satisfying best.

But there are some shows that are so timeless, so expertly conceived, and sufficiently audience-friendly that the curtain never really comes down on them permanently. And such a one is Theatre Three’s annual production of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ a theatrical legend that’s in its 33rd year at the grand old playhouse in Port Jefferson.

Naturally, it’s impossible for all cast members in such rare plays to remain in specific roles over the years. Indeed, the players change … and thus interpretations of a production’s various characters change along with the new faces. Different actors obviously bring varying métiers to the parts that were played by someone else the season before. This is where the insight and adaptability of a perennial show’s director becomes supremely important. For while the artistic mentor enjoys the advantage of knowing what’s worked well with audiences in the past, he (or she) is still charged with evoking the best performances that this year’s actors are capable of delivering. One thing is certain—they’ll never be identical to the preceding ones.

With ‘A Christmas Carol,’ Director Jeffrey Sanzel enjoys a distinct advantage in that he wrote the stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic, and he also plays the lead character, miserable Ebenezer Scrooge. With those dual linchpins in place, Sanzel manages, year after year, to offer up satisfying productions that Long Island audiences have come to expect from the master director. Amazingly, he succeeds simultaneously in showcasing new talent in abundance.

Significant, surely, is the iconic nature of the novella first published in 1843. In the nearly two centuries since then, the story has so captured the imaginations of millions worldwide that quotations from the book have become household terms (“Bah, humbug” – “God bless us, every one” - etc.). We have a tendency to favor the familiar and the quotable when it comes to our art … and in particular the performing arts. Dickens contributed mightily to establishing that, and Sanzel wisely capitalized on it in his adaptation.

The collaborators might have been separated chronologically by some two hundred years, but artistically they have a lot in common … and Long Island’s theater aficionados are the beneficiaries.

A ‘Christmas Carol’ past, present and future at Theatre Three
by Steve Parks December 16, 2016

While it cannot be said that Theatre Three owns “A Christmas Carol” — the Charles Dickens classic, first published in 1843, is in the public domain — artistic director Jeffrey Sanzel’s stage adaptation is Long Island’s definitive “Carol.”

Not that it lacks competition. A dozen “Christmas Carol” interpretations — from musicals to mock versions — bring Scrooge to life all across the Island every December. But none are observing their 33rd season this year.

We asked Sanzel, who continually rewrites and reimagines his original adaptation, why he thinks the Theatre Three “Christmas Carol” has become such a tradition. He credits his theater colleagues and friends — several of whom have died since he first arrived at Theatre Three in 1989.

Starting in 1990, at age 23, Sanzel has played Ebenezer Scrooge all but one year. “It’s a lot easier now in terms of makeup,” he said in an interview in his basement office at Theatre Three, looking the part with his salt-and-pepper muttonchops. “It used to take me two hours — latex eye bags and beard, shoe-polish gray makeup. Now I just let my hair grow starting around the Fourth of July. It only takes six minutes to get ready these days.”

But growing into the part took decades.

As a Jewish kid growing up in Rochester, Sanzel and his family did not observe Christmas other than as guests in friends’ homes. “We never had a Christmas tree,” he said.

But then, neither did Scrooge.

His first job after college was at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in upstate Somers, where he directed his first “Christmas Carol.” Hired the next year to write and direct children’s shows in Port Jefferson, Sanzel made his Theatre Three “Christmas Carol” debut.

“It’s been my obsession ever since,” he said, sweeping his hand toward an array of “Carol” collectibles on bookshelves behind him. “All of a sudden, it wasn’t enough for me to have a copy of this video or that book. Whatever it was, I had to have it. It was my gateway drug to all things Dickens,” he added, reeling off his other favorite Dickens titles.

As Sanzel sees it, “Carol” is far more than a Christmas tale. “Ultimately, when we get older, we connect with regrets in life. This story is about it never being too late to own your past and make a better future.”

In recent years, his adaptation has let Scrooge’s Christmas morning redemption speak for itself. We see Scrooge interact with those he has hurt with his miserly humbug — more pantomime, less dialogue.
“There’s more joy to it now,” Sanzel said.

But also loss, he added with more than a trace of emotion. This is his first “Carol” since longtime music director Ellen Michelmore died this year. “We’ve lost too many good friends here,” starting in 2008 with Brent Erlanson, who first directed Sanzel as Scrooge. (This season’s final performance, Dec. 30, will be Sanzel’s 1,279th Scrooge.)

“Brent and Ellen bookend my growth and understanding of this show and this theater,” he said. Also this year, the Theatre Three family lost costumer Bonnie Vidal; Sue Anne Dennehy, who played Mrs. Fezziwig in “A Christmas Carol”; and Matt Paduano, who played another supporting role in the play, a Seeker of Mercy.

Paraphrasing Tiny Tim, God bless them every one.

“A Christmas Carol,” 33rd annual adaptation by Jeffrey Sanzel
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Dec. 22 and 23, 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24, with shows through Dec. 30
at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson
INFO 631-928-9100,
Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert