ADA, OKLAHOMA – If you missed it in November, you have a chance to enjoy the Chickasaw Nation’s 2014 holiday season offering of “A Christmas Carol” on Chickasaw Community radio, KCNP 89.5.
Tom Brannan will be narrator of “A Christmas Caorl”
The play, featuring Chickasaw and non-Native talent from the Ada area and as far away as Tulsa and Marietta, was presented on the McSwain stage right before Thanksgiving.
The show was recorded by KCNP for later broadcast and times have been scheduled for Christmas Eve at 5 p.m. and Christmas Day at noon, station manager Brian Briasher announced.
“Everybody knows the story ‘A Christmas Carol’,” said the show’s director James Wallace. In fact, last week marked the 171-year anniversary of the book’s initial release. It was written by Charles Dickens.
“The play is very Scrooge-focused,” Wallace said. Wallace selected a seasoned veteran to bring Scrooge center stage – Chickasaw Nation attorney and decorated Vietnam War veteran Robert Cheadle.
Cheadle has been a performing artist since he was 7.
“He brings a huge presence to the stage. A multitalented man of so many venues, his performance makes it possible for other cast members to take on multiple roles and perform sound effects,” Wallace said.
Another veteran performer joins the effort narrating the 1843 story.
Tom Brannan’s name will be familiar to listeners of several radio stations. He hosts “Brannan’s Big Bands” on KCNP and has been a radio personality in the regional market for 40 years.
Too, there are actors making their first foray onstage in a very long time. One is Joe Thomas, a Chickasaw, who captured the lead role in his fourth and sixth grade Christmas plays in McAlester but has spent the greater part of his career writing grants and, now, serving as special assistant to Lisa John, secretary of Chickasaw Nation Department of Culture and Humanities.
Valerie Johnson is another. She debuts as Martha Cratchit, Tiny Tim’s sister. She is a former Latta pre-kindergarten classroom instructor who works for the Chickasaw Nation as a STEP grant education specialist.
Though presented onstage, the play is geared toward what a radio troupe would perform around the 1920s. It was recorded by KCNP and will be broadcast as it was performed in November. Clete Robins serves as the ‘Foley artist,’ which is a term used for sound effects.
Robert Cheadle – Scrooge
Tom Brannan – Narrator
Joanie Bell – Tiny Tim
B.J. Echard – Bob Cratchit
Kyra Childers – Mrs. Cratchit
Tommie Goad – Young Scrooge
Valerie Johnson – Martha Cratchit
Shawn Martin – Jacob Marley
Shenna Martin – Ghost of Christmas Past
Clete Robins – Foley artist
Lei Rumley – Belle
Joe Thomas – Belle’s husband
James Wallace – Ghost of Christmas Present