Dr. Ed. Simone, director of the theater program at St. Bonaventure University, will offer his unique take on a holiday classic next month in a performance to benefit the Warming House, the nation’s oldest student-run soup kitchen.
Simone, who has enjoyed a career in professional and academic theater since 1979, will offer a staged reading of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at Garret Theater on the SBU campus.
Tickets are $15 for the public, $10 for senior citizens, students and St. Bonaventure employees, and can be reserved by calling the Quick Center box office at 375-2494.
All the roles will be acted and given unique characters and voices, Simone said.
“In doing it solo, I’m following in the very large footsteps of great actors like PatrickStewart and even Dickens himself, who toured Europe and the United States ‘reading’ the ‘Carol,’” Simone said. “Dickens became so involved in his characters that he was quite exhausted after each reading and audiences loved it. … I actually have based my script on the cutting Dickens used.”
The intimacy of the Garret Theater is a perfect setting for the performance, he said.
“The Garret is such an intimate space that one actor can transform into the many roles in the ‘Carol’ with detail and immediacy,” Simone said. “It will be great fun to share it with an audience this way, I think. A real adventure! Maybe something akin to the type of experience audiences had in the 1800s when they went to see Dickens himself, but with sound effects and stage lighting.”
The fact that the performance is a benefit for the Warming House is “very much in keeping with the spirit of Dickens,” Simone said.
“He was moved to write the ‘Carol’ by the social and economic injustices of his time,” he said. “What better way to celebrate the story and the message of the ‘Carol’?”
Simone’s credits include work as an actor, director and producer in Off-Broadway, LORT, Stock, LOA, SPT, and touring productions, and as a guest-artist-educator for universities and conservatory programs.
Simone is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional theater actors and stage managers, and serves on the AEA liaison committee for Western New York. He is an associate member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers.
His Shakespearean acting credits include Prospero in “The Tempest,” Duke Fredrick in “As You Like It,” King Claudius in “Hamlet”, Peter Quince in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Sir Toby Belch and Orsino in multiple productions of “Twelfth Night,” and Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice,” for which he won the 2005 Wilde Award for Best Actor.
Simone has directed university and regional Shakespeare productions including “Romeo and Juliet,” “Henry V, Twelfth Night” (four times), and two productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Other acting credits include Mr. Strang and Dr. Dysart in productions of “Equus,” Crofts in “Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” Rance in “What the Butler Saw,” Sagot in “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” Salieri in “Amadeus,” and the title roles in “The Confidential Clerk,” “The Show-Off” and “Don Juan in Hell.”
Musical roles include Senex and Marcus Lycus in productions of “… Forum,” Doolittle in “My Fair Lady,” Applegate in “Damn Yankees,” Warbucks in “Annie,” and Tevye in “Fiddler.” Ed. toured as Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and played various roles in a tour of “A Christmas Carol” with John Astin.
Simone has also been a solo speaker in performance with the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Hartford Symphony. He has appeared in hundreds of national and regional commercials and industrials. Since 1999, he has been the host and co-writer of the radio program “Music from Chautauqua.” He is the Sunday afternoon host of “Atop the Podium” and “What’s New?” on Classical 94.5/WNED-FM.
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