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Life Arts    H4'ed 12/4/15

How Dickens' Message Applies Today: Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the Arrogance of Wealth

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MAB: Scottish novelist and historical writer Margaret Oliphant said about the book, "in the days of its first publication it was regarded as 'a new gospel' and noted that the book was unique in that it actually made people behave better." What do you think? And what do you want your audiences' "take-home" to be?

CVC: A Christmas Carol is unquestionably a timeless classic that has literally changed society for the better from its first publication. In addition to being highly entertaining as a story and even more so with the addition of brilliant songs, dancing, and performances of VMT's current production, it reminds us as an audience and individuals of what really matters in Life. The love, friendship, charity, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, cheer, that we have been able to experience and express are Life's true treasures. I believe when we pass on from here these values are what we will not only take with us, but also leave behind within the hearts of those we have known.

Chris Van Cleave (Scrooge) in VMT production of A Christmas Carol: A Musical
Chris Van Cleave (Scrooge) in VMT production of A Christmas Carol: A Musical
(Image by Virginia Musical Theatre)
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MAB: Inspiring! Chris, you know this story, but I'd like to share it with our readers. My husband and I attended the Broadway touring performance of JC Superstar in Lake Charles, Louisiana over 30 years ago, I think it was about 1980. It was a big date night for us, the first time we ever got a babysitter! It was an amazing production, and I saved the program. A short time after, my husband died, and my daughter and I moved to Virginia, and attended a little church that was filled with artists and had great music. I remember thinking that the music director seemed so familiar to me, but I didn't make the connection that it was you until I came across the program I'd saved from the show! More recently, I was on the West Coast for a decade, and you spent time in England -- and now here we are, both back in Virginia again, doing this interview!

CVC: Life is certainly full of amazing twists and turns, eh? I'm so glad to have crossed paths with you and your daughter, and now your sweet little granddaughter!

MAB: Thanks, Chris! Me, too! And it's great to be close enough to see you perform again. Whats the schedule for your upcoming shows?

CVC: We'll be performing four shows this weekend at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach, VA: Friday, Dec. 4th at 8 pm; Saturday, Dec. 5th at 2 pm and 8 pm; and Sunday, Dec. 6th at 2:30 pm. The show features more than 30 performing artists, a full orchestra and elaborate scenery! Right after the Saturday evening performance, the cast will have an old fashioned piano party next door at Zeiders American Dream Theater at 10 pm. I'll also be giving a musical concert at Zeiders on December 12: "Songs for the Season," including songs from my musical, "Presence," and traditional Christmas Carols reinterpreted.

MAB: I'm looking forward to being at most of these! Thanks for taking time out for this interview, Chris!

CVC: Thank you, Meryl Ann, for your interest and all that you do as a writer, artist, and human being towards making a positive difference in world.

MAB: Aw, thanks, Chris! And you, too! And I'd like to extend a very "Merrie", Christmas to you, and to our OEN readers!

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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