Young Henrietta Maynard (Leah Finch) and the Lach-Ka-Nim Prince (Tomoki Sage) discuss the paths their futures might take, forced to chose between love and prosperity. (Christopher Clow)

Young Henrietta Maynard (Leah Finch) and the Lach-Ka-Nim Prince (Tomoki Sage) discuss the paths their futures might take, forced to chose between love and prosperity. (Christopher Clow)

Christmas carol set in Port Townsend opens this weekend

PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend’s take on the Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” had already neared capacity for its opening weekend performances by Wednesday.

Co-creator of “Spirit of the Yule” Denise Winter said some Port Townsend locals lamented that they missed last year’s musical. Those folks had better snag a ticket soon, because this season’s shaping up for “immense popularity” once again, organizers said.

The musical opened Thursday night, and performances continue at Key City Public Theatre this weekend: 7 p.m. today and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The show runs Thursday to Sunday through Dec. 23.

Tickets cost $24 for Friday and Saturday evenings and $20 Thursday and Sunday. Students pay $10 for any performance with ID.

Tickets can be purchased at keycitypublictheatre.org or at the playhouse box office, 419 Washington St.

Set in historic Port Townsend, the musical recasts a classic tale on the American frontier.

Winter and Dowdell, co-creators of the musical, delved into the archives of the Jefferson County Historical Society, researching the 40-year span of the city’s history when the Northern Pacific Railroad was due to connect Port Townsend to Tacoma, giving the city the enviable position of the Puget Sound port city closest to the open ocean.

While the railroad never made it to town, the remnants of that time remain recognizable in the names etched on famous landmarks: the Rothschild house, Chetzemoka Park and the Delmonico Hotel, whose sign still hangs at 832 Water St.

“The people who built and inspired those places make their presence felt in the play, in some cases, quite forcefully,” according to a press release.

This year’s iteration of the musical will feature both new and familiar faces. Angela Poynter returns as Henrietta Maynard, the proprietor of the Delmonico Hotel, an iconoclastic, hard nosed, twice divorced businesswoman who loves shooting, drinking and profit.

Key City Public Theatre musical veteran Leah Finch returns as the hopeful and romantic young Henrietta. Patricia Willestoft, Selah Martha, Consuelo Aduviso, Tomoki Sage, and Henry Veitenhans appear as ghosts that lead Maynard in an enlightening search through time and space.

To provide more performance opportunities for local actors Willestoft and Vietenhans will perform on alternating weekends with Martha and Sage.

Ed Miller makes his debut as Jacob Marley, Maynard’s recently departed business partner. Jon Plueard and Zoe Cook also debut on the Key City Public Theatre stage as Bob Cratchit and Maddie Mae, Maynard’s downtrodden employee and his ailing child.

Brendan Chambers, the theatre’s “artistic apprentice” is Maynard’s affable nephew Fred. Rounding out the cast, Miranda McClave plays Pearl.

Other changes include the ending of Act I, which emphasizes a cliffhanger; the casting of a student actor into the role of Maddie Mae; enhanced costume designs — particularly, those for the ghosts — and new musical arrangements by Dowdell, Winter said.

For more information, call the box office at 360-385-5278.

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