Shelton native brings A Christmas Carol to stage

A Valley Shakespeare Festival tradition returns to live in-person performances this holiday season.

This year, Valley Shakespeare Festival founder and Executive Director Tom Simonetti will be playing all the roles, from Scrooge to Tiny Tim, in “A Christmas Carol.” This year, Simonetti is partnering with the Monroe Historical Society to present the one-man performance.

“When we did this in 2019 at the Plumb Memorial Library,” said Simonetti, “It was quite magical and scary. Just me on stage ... I didn’t think people would want to see that, but it was wonderful to see the response of families and patrons who were deeply touched by this stripped-down version of a solo actor, an armchair, and a few props. It really is the magic of live theater and storytelling.”

The idea to go solo came from another long tradition that Charles Dickens would read a cut down version of his own work to the public (in America it premiered in Boston).

Partnering up with the Monroe Historical Society came not only from Simonetti’s love of local history, but his other job, director of drama at Masuk High School.

“We used one of their properties to present a show outdoors for the high school. I fell in love with each property they showed me, and could not wait to get A Christmas Carol at St. Peter’s Episcopal,” Simonetti said. “The setting always does the work I cannot do in presenting this piece solo.”

“We bring in Equity actors, which means we have to spend money for the casting call, the audition space rentals, advertising for the audition call, housing and transportation for the actors, and of course, the actual cost of staging and paying for the show,” said VSF Board Chair Kayleigh Mihalko. “Being able to have Tom take on this year’s rendition of A Christmas Carol solo drastically reduces our costs for this show and helps us stay in a good place going into our 10th anniversary season in 2022!”

There will be two performances at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 175 Old Tannery Road, Monroe, on Saturday, Dec. 18. The first show is at 2 p.m., the second at 7 p.m. Masks will be required of guests. Social distancing and COVID-19 procedures will be followed.

Tickets are $15 and include a pre-show reception with treats and music. Tickets can be found at www.VSFestival.org or by calling 203-513-9446.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com