"A Dickens of a Christmas" Brings Down the House

Dallas Academy went back into time to bring a holiday classic to life. The musical “A Dickens of a Christmas” premiered on December 9th at Dallas Academy to a packed audience.

Dallas Academy Director of Music and Performing Arts, Molly Grogan, was the visionary behind bringing the show to life. Ms. Grogan adapted the Albrecht and Althouse version of the Charles Dickens classic specifically for the students of Dallas Academy. Ms. Grogan, Board Certified Music Therapist, created a role for every student who wanted to participate to suit their personality and ability. Ms. Grogan, along with her colleague and assistant director Jay Stanford, worked with students for more than three months to bring the holiday magic to school.

Ms. Grogan is the recent recipient of the East Dallas Chamber of Commerce “Teacher of the Year” award. Ms. Grogan was recognized for her 28 years of dedication to her students and to the arts. “Many students today seem starved for creative and expressive outlets. I strive to give all students a place to be imaginative where it is okay to use make believe. When we provide a safe place for exploration, students will thrive,” says Ms. Grogan. Ms. Grogan is passionate about the arts playing a key role in education. Students enrolled in the arts have been shown to excel in core academic classes as well as increase their self-esteem and confidence.

Over forty students were pivotal in bringing the show to life, from center stage to behind the scenes. Eighth grader Luke Mlinar of Flower Mound played the lead role of Ebenezer Scrooge with full ‘Bah Humbug’ charisma. Adam Alexander of Highland Park played the pivotal role of Bob Cratchit. Nate Praeger of Lakewood, Elise Holland of Farmersville, and Michael Zimmerman of Preston Hollow tied the story together as the narrators. Agile vocals were provided from Tatum Wells of Lake Highlands, Michael Diaz from Lakewood, and Annabel Alexander of Highland Park. Ethan Reiff-Martin of Lake Highlands charmed the audience as Tiny Tim. The audience was thrilled when Reith-Martin stepped up to exclaim the theme of the season, “God bless us everyone.”

Dallas Academy upper school students served as technical assistants and props coordinators. Dallas Academy parents also played a large role in bringing the show to life. Jesse Diaz designed the sets which transformed Dallas Academy’s theater into London in the 1800’s. Cheryl Patterson coordinated costumes for the cast. Suzi Petroff, Theater Pro, and Claudia Mlinar served as production assistants. The show was truly a group effort.

The audience erupted into applause after the closing number “I Will Honor Christmas in my Heart.” “These incredibly talented students have no idea how much joy they bring to me through their participation,” commented Ms. Grogan after the show. The show, along with Ms. Grogan’s expertise, brought a lot of joy to the entire community.