An Appalachian Christmas Carol (Press Release)

Press Release

Press Contact:  Lorraine Wochna at or 740-597-1238






ATHENS, September 10, 2012 – Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble (BMTE), Southeast Ohio’s professional theater company, is proud to announce the performance dates of An Appalachian Christmas Carol and the inauguration of a local Holiday Tradition.  The premiere production of this new – and newly relevant to our region – adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic will run Thursday through Sunday, December 13 – 16, 2012 at Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville.  Written by company member Merri Biechler, this production is the culmination of two years of development and research that has included extensive community input.  BMTE is proud to be supported by the Ohio Arts Council, the Athens Foundation, the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the O’Bleness Foundation.

Spinning the traditional ghost story and tale of redemption, An Appalachian Christmas Carol honors Southeast Ohio’s rich coal mining and labor union heritage, while simultaneously celebrating the spirit of the season.  BMTE is taking this beloved classic and moving it to our own backyard: a Southeast Ohio Mining Town where old Eb Scrooge owns the mine. This is a joyful story of redemption, rooted in rural storytelling and intertwined with regional traditional music, played live by local favorites, members of the Rattletrap Stringband. For An Appalachian Christmas Carol, Stuart’s is as much a character as a performance venue, and was chosen for its vibrant past and its intimate connection to the history of the region.

Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble Presents An Appalachian Christmas Carol, accompanied by members of the Rattletrap Stringband.

Stuart’s Opera House, on the Public Square in Nelsonville, Ohio.

Thursday, December 13 at 7:00 PM; Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15 at 8:00 PM; Sunday, December 16 at 2:00 PM.

Tickets will go on sale at Stuart’s Opera House closer to the event.

The Company of An Appalachian Christmas Carol:

Merri Biechler (Adaptation, member of Writers Guild of America, Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA) Merri Biechler’s plays include Bombs, Babes and Bingo (Mortar Theatre Company world premiere 2012; P73 Playwriting Fellowship semifinalist; Clubbed Thumb biennial commission finalist); and Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver (Princess Grace Award finalist.)

Brian Evans (Actor, member of Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA) is an assistant professor at Ohio University’s School of Theater.  He has performed at theaters including South Coast Repertory, Human Race Theatre, CATCO, Porthouse Theatre, and the Colorado, Illinois, and Oxford Shakespeare Festivals.  Independent film credits include Urban Pill and Play Yourself.  On television, Brian appeared on Judging Amy, and Chappelle’s Show.

Janice Paxson Evans (Actor, member of Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA) performed the roles of Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ruth in Pirates of Penzance for the Oxford Shakespeare Festival. In Los Angeles, favorite roles include Rose/Sheila in Elephant Stageworks’ production of 7 Redneck Cheerleaders, Nessa in Goodbye Freddie at the Hollywood Actors Theatre and Gertrude in Fortinbras at the Stella Adler Theatre.

Andy Felt (Director) Andy hails from sunny southern California where he received his BA in Acting from CSU San Bernardino, served as the Resident Assistant Technical Director of CA Riverside Ballet, was the founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Garden (San Bernardino), and served as the Resident Managing Director of The Imagination Company (Los Angeles). Andy received his MFA in Directing from Ohio University in 2009. Favorite directing credits include The Tempest (OU), Dracula (Monomoy Theater), Romeo and Juliet (Redlands Theatre Company), and Othello (San Bernardino, CA). Andy is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Marietta College, OH.

David Haugen (Actor, member of Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA) is a member of the Performance Faculty at Ohio University.He has studied with master teachers William Esper, Maggie Flanigan, Sonia Moore and the character actor, Albert Salmi. As an actor, David has worked in film (Vision QuestThe Curious Profession of Jonathan Hoag), television (Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, Ed,) and off-Broadway in Romeo & Juliet.

C. David Russell (Scenic Designer) Mr. Russell’s varied career includes costume and scenic design, costume and property crafts, event design and project management. Mr. Russell is the resident designer for The Enchantment Theatre Company in Philadelphia. He is the Master Props Craftsperson at The Santa Fe Opera. Mr. Russell holds a BFA from Ohio University School of Theater and a MFA in Costume and Scenic Design from NYU, TISCH School for The Arts.

Lorraine Wochna (Actor) lived in NYC for 20 years where she co-produced a yearly play festival for women, performed Elvis and Eleanor a solo piece by Mark Dunn, worked with Ensemble Studio Theatre, Primary Stages and many other Off and Off-Off Broadway theatres.

Members of the Rattletrap Stringband.