Mundelein Arts Commission to present 'Christmas Carol' as a 1940s radio show

It's the time of year when many theater groups pull out their annual offering of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." The Mundelein Arts Commission's show bends the stereotype a bit, though, with an original musical production of the story, this year presented as a 1940s radio broadcast.

Helmed by MAC Commissioners Jon Matousek and Joyce Lee, who adapted the story and created the music, the show is a gift to the community, with free admission to all five shows, which will be presented in the Mundelein Village Board Room, 300 Plaza Circle.

"It's our third presentation of this show," Lee said. "Our first year was also a radio broadcast, but last year we presented it as a Reader's Theater, with costumes and backgrounds."

She added that they had hoped to make it a full-scale production this year, but unfortunately, the space doesn't allow for that, but the radio concept fits neatly into the room.

There are a few repeat performers from past years, including Betty Slack, Mike Lieberman, Jeff Griffith and Gary Gunther, who serves as tech director and creates the old-time radio sound effects.

They are joined this year by Kirk Player members Chris and Julie Dietrich Brouton, Patrick Blake, Marilee C.C. Rusiniak, and Susie Hill, along with Mundelein High School student Isabella Hoff.

All play various roles, allowing them to stretch their acting muscles in creating different voices to add to the fun. Jon Matousek takes on the role of Scrooge for the first time, and, again this year, the show is accompanied by Kai Funahashi, whom Lee credits as the musical glue to the production.

In addition, to help create the 1940s feel of a radio broadcast, the show will feature several commercials written by Kirk Players members Patrick Blake, Marilee C.C. Rusiniak, Gretchen Grassl, Jessica Motyka and Barb Salvaggio.

"A Christmas Carol: The Musical" will be presented at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 2, 8 and 9; and 2 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 3 and 10. The show runs about an hour, and is suitable for children.

Lee notes that past shows have been consistently sold out, saying tickets are free, but space is limited. People are encouraged to register at to assure they have seats.

Walk-ins will be seated if there is room. Patrons are asked to bring a donation for the Fremont Food Pantry.

"We are happy to once again present this gift to the community," Matousek said. "And we are delighted to once again work with Kirk Players for a true community production."

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