cast performing Humbug on stage

Humbug | December 5th - 7th

Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools present
‘Humbug,’ a 21 st -century twist on Ebenezer Scrooge, by John Wooten
Student production runs Dec 5-7 at Mitchell Performing Arts Center in Bryn Athyn
Upbeat holiday drama delivers great fun the whole family will enjoy

BRYN ATHYN, MONTGOMERY CO, PA (4 DECEMBER 2019)Humbug, a re-imagined version of A Christmas Carol, forces audiences to look at Dickens’s beloved 175-year-old tale of redemption with fresh eyes—which isn’t a bad thing at any time of the year, but especially so at Christmas.

This holiday season, Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools present Humbug, a 21 st - century twist on Ebenezer Scrooge by John Wooten, at Mitchell Performing Arts Center in Bryn Athyn for four performances: Thursday and Friday, December 5 and 6, at 8pm and Saturday, December 7, at 2pm and 7pm.

As A Christmas Carol with a modern-day twist, Humbug follows the story of Eleanor Scrooge, a ruthlessly ambitious Wall Street executive who has an aversion to Christmas and an insatiable appetite for power. Locked in her office on a snowy Christmas Eve, Eleanor is determined to finish a corporate-takeover proposal when three “advisors” provide her with an eye-opening new appreciation for the holidays and the spirit of Christmas. 

The cast of talented high school students from ANCSS brings Humbug to the stage as an upbeat and moving adaptation of the holiday classic that the whole family will enjoy.

“This entertaining show is about more than Christmas,” says Baird Kistner, director. “It’s a great moment to step back and look at the path our life has taken, to examine the roads not traveled, to see those moments that have shaped us as individuals, both good and bad.

“For our students and our audiences, I’d like them to see that life is more than grades or checking off boxes of achievements, but a series of opportunities to learn how to marry fun and function and find balance in their own lives.”

The cast of characters is familiar, with a twist. Eleanor Scrooge is performed by junior Julie Gail of Huntingdon Valley, who was last seen as the Red Queen in the spring production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Senior Aurelle Odhner of Bryn Athyn is Eleanor’s assistant Bobbie Cratchit, loyal, kind and generous, who nurtures her boss’s soul even as she devotes her efforts to taking care of her ill son, Timmy, played by freshman Brian Frazier of Bryn Athyn. (View the full cast list here.)

Tickets are $10, $8 for students and children. Purchase online at, by phone at 267.502.4810 or at the door. Use the code “ChristmasSpirit” for $4 off of Thursday’s opening night performance; “like” ANC Performing Arts’ Facebook page for early discounts on other performances. MPAC is at 800 Tomlinson Rd, Bryn Athyn 19009.

This year’s fall production is directed by Baird Kistner, assisted by Luke David and Brandy Rose. Set design and construction is by ANCSS’s StageCraft Class (taught by Chris Waelchli) and Lori Odhner’s Costuming Class created the costumes. Naomi Haus-Roth and Alison Cole oversaw MPAC management, lights, sound and props. The show is produced by Sarah Cooper Waelchli.

This production of Humbug is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc., A Concord Theatricals Company.

Performing Arts at ANC

The Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools’ robust arts program includes not only classes in instrumental, choral and dance but also two plays a year, a year-round dance team, two-week summer acting camp for middle-schoolers and an intensive Performing Arts Portfolio class taught by Sarah Gladish and Chris Waelchli. Students interested in the backstage aspects of theater can take courses in set design or costuming. They can also participate as members of the stage crew or by joining the sound and lighting team.