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David zum Brunnen performs “The Night Before Christmas Carol” at the Red Bridge library.

Nationally Known Actor Portrays  Christmas Carol characters at Red Bridge Library

By Jill Draper

How did Charles Dickens create his holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol?” A nationally known actor brings to life a night in the author’s London study in 1843 to show how this favorite tale may have been imagined in performances at several Mid-Continent Public Library branches.

David zum Brunnen, who has appeared on public television and toured in theatrical productions throughout the country, portrays 17 Christmas Carol characters and Dickens himself in an uplifting show written by Elliot Engel titled “The Night Before Christmas Carol.” Engel is a renowned Dickens scholar, author, playwright and lecturer, and his work is recommended by the Dickens family.

South Kansas City performances will be at 2-3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26 at the Raytown branch and 6:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26 at the Red Bridge branch. The free play is for ages 8 and up, and reservations are required.

Dressed as a 19th century English gentleman, zum Brunnen switches rapidly between characters, grabbing various objects for inspiration and trying out different names and voices—a method Dickens was famous for employing. “It’s a lot of fun. Some folks compare it to having a glass of champagne along with “A Christmas Carol,” zum Brunnen says. “Elliot Engle’s writing makes it quite a joy.” In one review, Cedric Charles Dickens says the actor “absolutely becomes my great-grandfather on stage!”

For reservations, contact the Red Bridge branch at 816-942-1780 or the Raytown branch at 816-353-2052 or see


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