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Tysons student theater group books Congressional cameo for ‘Christmas Carol’

Traveling Players Ensemble, a student theater company based in Tysons, performs “Commedia Christmas Carol” (photo by Alex Mountfield)

Rep. Gerry Connolly will put his experience dealing with Scrooges on Capitol Hill to the test tomorrow when he takes the stage for a youth production of “Commedia Christmas Carol.”

The congressman and Providence District Supervisior Dalia Palchik will join student actors with the Traveling Players Ensemble for their take on the Charles Dickens holiday classic at 8 p.m., the Tysons-based theatrical company announced earlier this week.

Held at the Traveling Players Studio (DL01, 1961 Chain Bridge Road) in Tysons Corner Center, it will be the penultimate performance of the production, which launched on Dec. 2 and concludes at 3 p.m. on Sunday (Dec. 11).

Aimed at audiences 8 and older, the show puts a comedic twist on “A Christmas Carol.” It runs 75 minutes with no intermission and features a cast of kids from across the D.C. area.

“I love that it’s a ghost story, swirling out of control, careening through Scrooge’s painful past, and foreseeing his isolated future,” Traveling Players Producing Artistic Director Jeanne Harrison said in a press release. “And then he does the thing that is so brave: he changes. He lets people laugh at his newfound zest for life. And he is so much happier. He is renewed.”

Harrison founded the nonprofit theater company as a summer camp with 18 students in 2002. She is also the director for “Christmas Carol.”

Now in its 20th year with students in grades 2-12, the Traveling Players says Connolly and Palchik will make cameos in tomorrow’s show to acknowledge the key roles they played in the group’s journey.

Congressman Connolly is a lifelong supporter of arts and education.  It was through his support that Traveling Players found their first long-time home in Fairfax County at The Madeira School, back in 2007 when he was still the Chairman of the Fairfax County Supervisors.  A thespian in his own right, this will not be the Congressman’s first time taking the stage in a local production, but it will be his first cameo appearance with Traveling Players.

In 2020, Supervisor Palchick celebrated with Traveling Players by cutting the ribbon when they moved into their new home, their Studio in Tysons Corner Center, inside her district.  Also an ardent supporter of the arts and education, Supervisor Palchick’s priorities overlap with those of Traveling Players: to expand artistic opportunities to every child in her district and the wider Fairfax County community.

There will also be an introduction by Jesse Benites, the general manager of Macerich, which owns and operates Tysons Corner Center. The mall has housed the Traveling Players Studio since February 2020 and hosted outdoor performances on its Plaza this summer.

Tickets to “Commedia Christmas Carol” cost $15 and can be purchased online.