Scrooge! the Musical: Interview with the Director, Philip Dutton

With Pirate Productions in Luxembourg putting on five performances of a stage production of "Scrooge! the Musical", a co-production with Kinneksbond, from 9-12 November at the Kinneksbond cultural centre in Mamer, caught up with the director, Philip Dutton.

Scrooge! is a  musical version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol with music and lyrics by Leslie Briccusse. Tickets (Adults €24, Children and Students €12) are now on sale online at or email: or tel: 356339

Please see below for interview questions as mentioned yesterday evening: How did you come to be involved in Pirates’ latest project?

PD: Having been involved in countless Pirate Productions as Musical Director, I thought it was about time I stood up and tried directing a whole show. However, I had three obstacles in my way: a venue, a musical director and a play. Then, after we finished Oliver last year, everything fell into place. My assistant MD for Oliver (Eric Gherardi) was very keen to become a full MD and Kinneksbond told us they had a slot fairly close to Christmas 2017, so Scrooge seemed an obvious choice. It is one of the best Christmas stories ever, has great music and also a great script. How much flexibility and leeway have you had with the script, music & lyrics?

PD: We have made almost no changes to any of those. The publishers are quite strict about what we can and cannot do with a piece like this. The main changes have been to make a couple of characters - women instead of men - and to bring in real woodwind instruments to the orchestra instead of using a synthesiser. Where do you feel you have been able to put your personal stamp on this production?

PD: The Christmas Carol story always has some technical challenges because of the huge number of scenes and the mysterious entry and exit of ghosts. Easy to handle on film (as the original version of the musical was) but quite hard on stage. I think my solution to these issues will be effective. How has it been working with such a multilingual and multicultural cast?

PD: Every single member of the cast has been a joy to work with. Very many of them are completely new to Pirates but have slotted in as though they had been part of the group for years. How did you approach the choreography and the set design?

PD: Initially, I did have some worries about choreography but we managed to secure some time from Dominique Vitali as choreographer, ably assisted by Marina Tomasic as dance captain. Between them have made even the most “left footed” of actors look like they can dance. I designed the set myself to be simple and flexible so that we can make scene changes very rapidly without losing the atmosphere of Dickensian London. How does the storyline differ from the traditional A Christmas Carol?

PD: In this musical version, there are quite a lot of new characters introduced. Primarily these are the shopkeepers and street traders who owe Scrooge money. The script also makes much of the events after Scrooge’s redemption because this provides many opportunities for happy production numbers that will send the audience home in a good mood, ready celebrate their own Family Christmases.