A Christmas Carol has long been a holiday tradition, and now it’s officially a tradition on the North Fork.
Broadway on the North Fork, run by Broadway orchestrator Ethan Popp and and his wife, costume designer Vanessa Leuck, produced a one-man adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic last December to sold-out crowds at First & South in Greenport. The dinner theater production, held in a heated tent with a multi-course meal, was a hit. This year, audiences will have the opportunity to see it again.
Leuck and Popp originally conceived the show with social distancing measures, plexiglass separating the audience from the “stage” (First & South’s porch) and even disposable plates and dinnerware. This year the production has less restrictions, so the plexiglass is out and regular dinnerware is in.
“It was so magical,” Leuck said of last year’s production. “It’ll be nice to do it without the plexiglass this year, but we are keeping it outdoors to be on the safe side.”
Last year, the couple was deeply affected by the sudden lockdown. Popp had been working on Mrs. Doubtfire, which was still in previews, and Leuck was working on Emojiland, and A Christmas Carol was the first live theater they had worked on since the closure.
Both Leuck and Popp found solace and comfort in the North Fork community during the pandemic.
“It’s always felt like a home to me,” said Popp, who grew up in New Hampshire. “It was a town of 2,000 people, so coming here [during lockdown], with the warmth of the community … it reinforced that feeling.”
Today, Leuck and Popp are once again busy theater people. Mrs. Doubtfire is finally out of previews and Leuck’s latest project, Rescue Rue: A Musical Fairytale, opens on Dec. 9. To prepare for this year’s A Christmas Carol, they’ve been commuting back and forth from the city.
This year, the show will once again be performed by Scott Severance, a New Hampshire-based actor who also collaborated with Popp and Leuck on the script, which offers a unique take on the familiar tale. Popp was cognizant of the fact that many people know A Christmas Carol and wanted to try something different. This play begins 50 years after the events of A Christmas Carol, with a dinner party host regaling guests (the audience) with his own take on the story.
Broadway on the North Fork has also partnered with CAST again, and guests can donate new winter coats, hats, scarves, mittens, gloves and non-perishable foods for people in need on the North Fork from Dec. 14-23.
A Christmas Carol runs from Dec. 13-23 at First and South, 100 South Street, Greenport. Tickets include a three-course meal. Reserve here.