News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

'Wild Christmas Binge' adds zany twist on traditional holiday stories

By Patrice Stewart 340-2446

Get your holiday season off to a zany start by watching the comic shenanigans of Decatur's Jeannette Chaney and others in "Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge."

Theatre Huntsville will stage this "slightly musical" parody of Scrooge and "A Christmas Carol" in the Von Braun Center Playhouse. Six performances are scheduled over the next two weekends.

"It's like no Christmas play you've ever seen before," Chaney said.

Mrs. Bob Cratchit is not happy about poverty, hunger and suffering and unwittingly sabotages efforts to teach Scrooge the meaning of Christmas.

"It'll sleigh you," said director Jim Zielinski. This play "takes the old holiday chestnut, roasts it on an open fire and re-decks its halls with howls of jollity."

He said history's "Most Renowned Miser," played by Paul Buxton, and "Most Desperate Housewife" (Enzie Davis) are entangled by a feisty, soulful Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future (Jennifer Simmons) who can't control her yuletide magic.

It will be the Alabama premiere of this play by Christopher Durang, who is an Obie-winning playwright and a recent Pulitzer finalist.

Chaney, who teaches drama and English at Holly Pond High School when she's not performing or directing, will play a Fezziwig daughter, plus a surprise role.

"It's been exhausting because I teach in Cullman County and rehearse in Huntsville," she said, "but I have met a lot of new, funny, interesting and great people on this show."

Chaney said she has also enjoy working with old friends.

"The talent in even the smallest role is amazing," she said.

Since 2003, she has performed with Theatre Huntsville in "The Man Who Came to Dinner," "The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild," "The Diary of Anne Frank," "Dearly Departed" and "Noises Off." For her role in "To Kill a Mockingbird," she won Theatre Huntsville's Noah Award and Best Cameo, Best Supporting Actress and WINGS Awards.

Chaney was a founder of two children's theaters: Dream-Weavers in Decatur and The Gingerbread Playhouse in Florence. Some of her favorite roles have been "Annie Sullivan," "Miss Hannigan," "Mammy Yokum" and "Jane Eyre."

One reviewer said "Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge" moves on to gleefully satirize not only "A Christmas Carol" but also parts of "It's a Wonderful Life," "The Gift of the Magi."

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 and 16, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students, seniors and active military. Group rates are available. Call 536-0807 or check

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