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December 12, 2013

Past and present

'Christmas Carol' actress remembers NSMT's first production of the Dickens-inspired musical


“He doesn’t learn there, and we go to Fezziwig’s ball, the Christmas party,” Barrett said. “We see another memory of Scrooge, another image, slightly adult, deeply in love with Belle.

“He shows glimmers of it, which I love. But he cannot hang on to it — refuses to hang on to it.”

Barrett, who grew up in Wakefield, has been singing in musicals since high school and got a bachelor’s degree in voice at Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio.

In addition to performing many times at New Repertory Theatre, Stoneham Theatre, Lyric Stage Company and other local venues, she also sings in an a cappella quartet called Where’s the Band.

In 1989, Barrett was originally cast in an ensemble role in “A Christmas Carol,” until the actress who played Meg fell off a ramp and broke her foot.

“Without having been an understudy, I had half an hour to prepare,” she said.

In another mishap in the same show, the actress who played the Ghost of Christmas Past lost her voice, and Barrett had to sing for her backstage.

A newspaper reviewer, who didn’t know the voice was Barrett’s, described it as one of the best in the show.

“Christmas Past has a lovely number when she first arrives, a very ethereal, dreamy poem, essentially,” Barrett said.

Barrett, who has won two Elliot Norton Awards and two Independent Reviewers of New England Awards, has been in eight separate productions of “A Christmas Carol.”

“They’re all very, very different,” she said. “Some were very heavy, wanting to get that point across. It’s interesting to see what grabs somebody when they do a production.”

In Dickens’ original story, he drives home the importance of caring for others in a number of scenes that rarely make it to the stage.

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