Much like the Black Friday sales and turkey for Thanksgiving, Civic Theatre's 'A Christmas Carol' can be depended upon to bring a smile to your face and put a Christmas song in your heart. 

Opening night was ready to do just that.  The set and costumes transported you to a time when street urchins ran wild and miserly old men controlled the Victorian era.  The use of multi levels enables the large ensemble to move about without crowding the stage or deterring from the main action. 

It was incredible to see such a large ensemble, all suitably attired in period costumes, that really added to the overall feel and experience.  The covetous Scrooge, played by Barry Glassman, works hard to maintain his "bah humbug" ways all the while being shown scene after scene from his past.  The Cratchit family is endearing in their togetherness, and reminds us all what true family time means.     

Dickens first published this story in December of 1843.  Civic has made minor adaptations but the true meaning of the story continues to play out on their stage with a very believable and humble Bob Cratchit, played by Christopher Laevey, the witty Ghost of Christmas Present, played by JoAnn Wilchek Basist, and a haunting Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, played by Matthew Rosvanis.  

We are prepared for our journey by The Storyteller, also played by Matthew Rosvanis. 

The solicitors, played by Remy Kayal and John Kuchar, affect the right level of disdain and entitlement to their roles. 

The transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge plays out in front of you, and you are pulled into the play, despite knowing the story so well. 

Many of the young singers are extremely talented, and it was a joy to listen to them. 

The entire cast worked together to create a magical experience, and if more of the actors could have been understood, it would have certainly made for a much more enjoyable evening.  It was a pleasure to see all of the generations of talent working together to present a classic tale. 

It is a timeless story of regret, self-reflection, acceptance and forgiveness that we all should remember.

The play has the potential to be fun and engaging, but unfortunately some technical difficulties made for a frustrating evening. 

One of the ghosts of past performances must have been playing with the sound, as it was, at times, impossible to understand what Scrooge and many other characters were saying. 

One can overcome the weird sensation of looking at the actor and having his/her voice come from a different location, but the inability to understand several of the main characters throughout the entire show made it very difficult to sit back and enjoy what should have been a tremendous performance. 

Before you just say "Bah, humbug," give it a chance.  If the technical issues are fixed, this production is poised to deliver a holiday treat.

'A Christmas Carol' will run through December 15, 2012 at Civic Theatre, 527 N. 19th Street, Allentown, PA.

For ticket information, please call 610-432-8943.