Connect with us


‘A Christmas Carol: In Concert’ opens at freeFall tonight

Bill DeYoung



Sara DelBeato takes a solo, with (from left) Jonathan Harrison, Heather Baird and Eric Davis. Photo by Bill DeYoung

Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas this ‘n’ that are back onstage at freeFall Theatre this season. Opening tonight, A Christmas Carol: In Concert is an adaptation of the Dickens chestnut, specifically an adaptation of the Bruce Greer/Keith Ferguson musical the company has produced four times in previous years.

If you haven’t noticed, adaptation is a key word here.

A Christmas Carol: In Concert follows November’s War of the Worlds as a freeFall “drive-in” experience; it’s a multi-media production centered on four talented singers – Heather Baird, Eric Davis, Jonathan Harrison and Sara DelBeato.

The stereo sound is broadcast to attendees’ vehicles via their FM radios.

“It includes passages from the book, and Matthew McGee does all of the narrating,” explains DelBeato, a familiar face – and singing voice – to freeFall audiences. “As the singers, we come up and help tell the story by singing those songs. As the story goes on we pop in, we interject and have a song to sing along with Matthew’s wonderful narration.”

DelBeato, a jazz and cabaret singer whose freeFall “book” shows have included Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, plus the Gilbert and Sullivan Pirates of Penzance and the wacky Every Christmas Story Ever Told, made her debut with the company in the full version of the Dickensian musical in 2012.

“The first year I did it, I was Mrs. Cratchit,” she explains. “And that was my first show at freeFall. In the second year, I was Mrs. Fezziwig and the Charwoman. I’ll be reprising those songs in the concert version. It’s kind of fun to re-visit that in a different way.”

The Pasco County native has produced and performed numerous cabaret shows with Christmas Carol musical director Michael Raabe, at freeFall and at American Stage. She’s performed with American Stage in the Park, notably in Little Shop of Horrors and The Wiz.

DelBeato works as a freelance makeup artist and beauty advisor, although her prodigious musical talents have usually kept her busy with work in regional theater and cabaret.

Until this year, that is.

The toe-in-the-water “drive-in” productions are designed to keep audiences and performers safely separated, and safely outdoors.

For the people onstage, it can mean a strange detachment from those they’re singing for.

“I’ve worked at different amphitheaters around the country, and I’m trying to think of it kind of like that,” says DelBeato. “I know it’s going to be different. This will be the first time I’ve done a drive-in type of show, so I think it will be interesting to connect with people in a vehicle.

“However, I do think the telling of the story, and the way we’re doing it – especially with the multi-media, you’ll be able to see us on the screen as well – I’m hoping that connection is still able to come through. As we’re telling the story, hopefully that in itself will bridge that gap.

“It’s really a wonderful, innovative way to experience the show, especially during this time.”

Details and tickets here.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By posting a comment, I have read, understand and agree to the Posting Guidelines.

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

Email us:

Subscribe for Free

Share with friend

Enter the details of the person you want to share this article with.