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‘A Christmas Carol’ draws big applause

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The Hardin-Simmons University production of “A Christmas Carol,” in its second year, attracted large audiences and cast members bowed to thunderous applause during its six performance run.

HSU students in the production included: Courtney Mentzel of Waxahachie who performed as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Branden Loera of Red Oak who performed as Ebenezer the Apprentice, and Ebenezer the Young Man.

Featuring 27 musical numbers and a talented cast of Hardin-Simmons University students and faculty, the Charles Dickens classic tale of redemption was a solid crowd pleaser.

This is the second year Dean Nolen, HSU assistant professor of theatre, has brought Scrooge to life in the university’s production of “A Christmas Carol.”

Nolen played the very unadorable grouch, Ebenezer Scrooge. 

The veteran New York actor, a 1989 HSU graduate holding a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University, also produced and served as the artistic director for the musical tale of redemption.

The large cast of theatre students and faculty members in the School of Music rehearsed three to four hours each evening for the musical. Dr. Jayne Middleton, professor of voice, and Dr. Bob Brooks, dean of the HSU School of Music and Fine Arts, played Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig, Scrooge’s former employers in the popular scene presented by the Ghost of Christmas Past.

More than 1,800 middle school students from AISD and surrounding school districts attended the musical on Thursday, Dec. 8, during a special afternoon performance.

HSU has an enrollment of approximately 2,300 undergrad and graduate students from 29 states and 19 countries. HSU has a 13:1 student faculty ratio with a campus that sits on 209 acres. Seventy-nine percent of HSU’s faculty hold the highest degree in their field.

The university is named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best universities in the western region of the United States and is listed by The Princeton Review as a Top Ten Best in the West University. It is a member of the Colleges of Distinction, and the Chronicle of Higher Education named it to their honor roll as a “Great College to Work For.”

Seven undergraduate degrees encompass 70 major fields including: athletic training, criminal justice, social work, counseling, psychology, molecular biology, biochemistry, environmental science, religion, music, art, teaching, history, communications, English, and sociology.

Ten graduate degrees include the Doctor of Ministry and the Doctor of Physical Therapy. International study programs include England, Austria, Hong Kong, Spain, and Australia.

Hardin-Simmons University, founded in 1891, is a private Christian institution, and has been affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (Texas Baptists) since 1941.


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