Gregory Burgess (left) as Ebenezer Scrooge in a previous Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” Burgess will reprise the role of Scrooge this year in CSC’s live Zoom reading of the holiday classic on Dec. 21.
Gregory Burgess (left) as Ebenezer Scrooge in a previous Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” Burgess will reprise the role of Scrooge this year in CSC’s live Zoom reading of the holiday classic on Dec. 21.

The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC) is bringing music and merriment this holiday season with two free, virtual performances.

The theater company will kick things off with a special variety program, called “Be Merry! Make Holiday!” The free, virtual event will premiere on Dec. 18 at 8 p.m., and will run for a limited time on CSC’s social media platforms through the new year.

People will be able to view the performance on CSC’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

The program will feature performances by CSC members and other Baltimore artists, including songs from the theater company’s previous productions of “A Christmas Carol”; readings of poems and stories; and a special arrangement of “Silent Night,” performed by members of the CSC Veterans Ensemble, Olive Branch and Laurel Crown.

CSC is pre-recording and producing the program with Keystone Productions of Baltimore.

“Since performers—and audiences—cannot safely gather en masse to enjoy traditional holiday presentations or local choir recitals, our artists were determined to find a way to lighten holiday spirits at home,” Producer and Director Ron Heneghan said in a statement.

Then next week, CSC will present a live Zoom reading of “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. People will be able to view the performance on Facebook Live and Zoom. Registration is required to participate on Zoom.

CSC has presented “A Christmas Carol” since 2014, with an adaptation by the theater company’s Founding Artistic Director Ian Gallanar. The adaptation is set in some of Victorian Baltimore’s neighborhoods, such as Fells Point and Mount Vernon, and infuses the holiday classic with Baltimore flavor.

For this seventh year, Gallanar adapted the production for virtual audiences. The performance will be filmed live in the CSC theatre.

CSC Associate Artistic Director Scott Alan Small will direct the virtual adaptation, with actors reading their roles over Zoom with ample social distancing to ensure the cast and crew’s safety, the theater company said.

Gregory Burgess will play Ebenezer Scrooge for the seventh consecutive year, and the rest of the cast will feature actors from the previous six productions.

Laura Boydston, chair of CSC’s board of trustees, said the events are “a gift to the community.”

“We cannot gather in our beautiful theatre to revel in our annual production of the Christmas spirit and redemption,” Boydston said in a statement. “We still wanted to share this tradition to let our audience know we miss them.”

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...