WESTERLY — There's something especially sentimental about this year's production of "A Christmas Carol" at the Granite Theatre. Something that adds a new twist to the classic holiday tale.
This year's show, with its tale of transformation, also marks the the final stage performance at the Granite for David Jepson, who has served as the theater's artistic director for close to 20 years. Jepson, who plays the lead role of Ebenezer Scrooge in the play, plans to move to the West Coast of Florida — with his wife, Beth, who has worked alongside her husband as assistant artistic director all these years — at the end of the season.
"It's bittersweet," said Vincent Lupino of North Kingstown, who directs Jepson in the Charles Dickens classic. "But it's a great send-off, too."
Lupino, who skillfully directed last spring's "The Game's Afoot" at the Granite, said there will even be a few times when patrons will get to see three Jepsons on stage.
Jepson's twin brother, Michael Jepson, who has performed in a number of Granite plays over the years, plays the roles of Marley and Old Joe throughout the play's run. Beth Jepson will be a stand in for a few performances, meaning she and her husband will once again have the chance to be on the Granite stage together one last time.
"I think the community will be touched by it," said Lupino earlier this week during a telephone conversation about the play. "Beth will be on the stage with David, and they have a little interaction."
"It's an added benefit," said Lupino, who has directed a number of plays at the Granite over the years.
There is even more familial casting in the play, added Lupino, who manages the box office at Theatre by the Sea for his full-time job.
Jane Mandes, a regular cast member at the Granite, will play the role of Mrs. Cratchit and her real-life son, Griffin Mandes, will play the role of Tiny Tim.
"It worked out well," said Lupino, who called "A Christmas Carol" a timeless story with a timely message.
"It's still about counting your blessings, remembering those less fortunate and reaching out to help the needy and the poor," said the director. "There are still those, who, like Scrooge, have much and could give a little more."
Then there are those who, like Bob Cratchit, have very little, said Lupino, describing the part of the play where Cratchit, the father of Tiny Tim, who struggles to make ends meet, gives away a much-needed coin to the alms collectors.
"We can all give a little more," said Lupino.
"A Christmas Carol," on stage from Nov. 30 to Dec. 22., also features Steve Spartano as Ghost of Christmas Present; Christine Reynolds as Ghost of Christmas Past; Warren Usey as Ghost of Christmas Future; Tom Steenburg as Bob Cratchit; Logan Giusti as Young Scrooge; Mary Sue Frishman as Mrs. Dilber; Linda Shea as Mrs. Fezziwig; Gwendolyn Boiselle as Belle; Sydney Nunes as Martha; and Natalie Kate Francese as Belinda.
Several actors play a number of roles. Bob Mignarri plays Mr. Fezziwig, the poulterer, and William; Judy George plays Vera and a number of smaller roles; and Philip Reilly plays Peter and Matt.