December 23, 2008

A Christmas Carol

Tonight, I went to the opening night of A Christmas Carol, starring John Goodman, Jane Leeves (Daphne from Frasier) and Christopher Lloyd as Scrooge at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood & Highland. Jane Seymour was supposed to be apart of the cast as the Ghost of Christmas Past, but she had to back out of the week long show due to a severe cold.

This adaptation stayed true to Dickens’ tale with a narrator reading direct dialogue and the cast speaking in old English. However, this showing soon turned into an episode of I Love Lucy or a scene out of Noises Off, due to a series of mishaps caused by the stage hands. In some cases the set didn't change at all, causing the actors to continue the scene despite still being in the wrong setting. Christopher Lloyd saved the show though with his enthusiastic performance and witty one-liners much to the audiences’ amusement, while I threw my hands over my mouth in embarrassment for him and the cast. It was as if the theater staff was either too early or ten minutes too late in their transitions--it was painful, but the show must go on!

The acting and the show itself would have been great if not for the above mishaps. It definitely got me into the Christmas spirit! I especially love when Scrooge says, "But you were always a good man of business, Jacob." Upon which the Ghost of Marley cries out: "Business! Mankind was my business!" Always a good reminder.

A Christmas Carol runs until Sunday January 4, 2009 and you can score mezzanine tickets for just $30 via Goldstar.


Looks like I'm going to see the performance again for free along with those who attended the first show too. Kevin Von Feldt, Adaptor-producer-director of “A Christmas Carol” wrote in an email:

After we had already begun production, we had a loss of investment money and did not secure our financing until December 16. We made the tough call to proceed rather than give up. With only five days of rehearsal and one day on the stage at the Kodak, we managed to get through the performance you saw, which for us was an achievement by the cast and crew. As expected, the show has improved each day and we know that if you could come to see the show again, you would not recognize the current production.

The reception this show receives from current audiences is rousing and enthusiastic. No show in history with name talent, a major venue, thirty-two scene changes and a cast of twenty-three has attempted to open with only five days of rehearsal. It simply can't be done - lesson learned.


  1. Good grief, how embarrassing. I'm cringing for the actors. I was thinking of going to see this, but now I'm not so sure. LOL

  2. Wow... for such a professional show with such professional actors, you'd think the stage hands would be more on top of it.

    I wish I lived close to go see that show! I live in Atlanta. *sigh*

  3. Karen- you should still go it was worth it, just painful for the actors. Also, it was opening night and I'm sure they all got an earful afterwards and hopefully things will be fixed soon.

    Leah- I've always wanted to see Atlanta.

  4. Saw this in today's LA Times and thought of your post!

  5. That sucks about all the mishaps but I'm glad you were still able to enjoy the show!

  6. Wow--I wonder if it was actually the crew or if it was the stage manager. I miss the "joy's" of live theater! The best are when the sound cues are wrong :)

  7. Didn't anybody bother to research the history of this Kevin von Feldt producer guy? Sheesh... " According to reports published from 1985 through 1992 in the Los Angeles Times, Von Feldt has run afoul of the law more than once by placing misleading ads and promoting nonexistent entertainment packages, as well as selling tickets and charging training fees for an airline that existed only on paper.

    Von Feldt confirmed the court judgments against him as reported in the Times but said he typically refunded ticket money when projects didn't materialize. Detective Richard Levos of the Los Angeles Police Department, who investigated a season of plays and musicals Von Feldt advertised in 1991, confirmed that he knew of no ticket-buyers at the time who failed to receive refunds.

    Levos said that Von Feldt "wants in the worst way" to be a successful producer and that in the past he appeared to suffer from poor organization and insufficient capital.

    In 1991, Von Feldt pleaded no contest in municipal court to charges of misleading advertising stemming from a proposed series of plays and musicals. Among them was Arthur Miller's dark classic "Death of a Salesman," which was to have starred comedian Don Rickles.

    Von Feldt was fined and placed on three years of probation. City attorneys at the time said Von Feldt used the name of Rickles and other stars in his ads without authorization.

    "No customer lost any money," Von Feldt said. "I escrowed every dollar.

    In 1992, Von Feldt came close to getting "A Christmas Carol" up and running in Los Angeles. After 11/2 weeks of rehearsals, however, he discovered the theater he had rented lacked proper zoning for an extended theatrical run. The show never opened.

    According to officials of Actors Equity Association, the union for stage actors, Von Feldt still owes it more than $12,900 in connection with the abortive 1992 production.

    By union rules, Von Feldt cannot hire Equity actors - including the stars in the recent newspaper ad - until he pays the debt and posts a bond for the new touring production of "A Christmas Carol."

    He said he would pay the old debt and post the new bond - about $60,000 - within a few weeks.

    "All of this stuff up to 1992 is true," Von Feldt said. "I was living on the edge and trying to do things and was undercapitalized."

    Maybe next time someone in Hollywood will check up on this fraud before he strikes again.

  8. Let it be noted that I am aware of printing services, stage rental, and contractors who were either not paid or only partially paid by doing business with Kevin Von Feldt. It is my understanding that the 2008/2009 Kodak production of "A Christmas Carol" was disappointing at the box office for this project. However, this fact alone does not excuse Mr. Von Feldt from mishandling good faith verbal agreements and his way of doing business.

    Hopefully others will google Mr. Von Feldt to learn about his background. Please consider these facts before doing business with Mr. Von Feldt and accept only front end payments.


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