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Updated: Dec 7, 2023

The Hermitage and the First Flight Theatre Company


Dickens By Candlelight: A Christmas Carol

Adapted by Robin Proett Olson from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol


Director/Stage Manager            Richard Width

Playwright                                     Robin Proett Olson

Actor 1                                            Jovanny Jacobo

Actor 2                                            Rory Kelsch

Actor 3                                            Jennifer Kim

First Flight Artistic Director      Frank Farrell


Hermitage Staff - Andrea Kircher, Christine Blaylock and Julie Zier


                Time: Mid-19th Century      Place: London, England


The Cast and Characters

Jovanny Jacobo: Scrooge, Young Scrooge, Martha Cratchit, Peter Cratchit, Tiny Tim Cratchit, Topper, Christmas Yet To Come, Businessman, Old Joe

Rory Kelsch: Fred, Portly Gentleman II, Christmas Past, Mr. Fezziwig, Mrs. Cratchit, Belle, Businessman, Laundress, Man in the Street, Parlor Maid, Poulterer

Jennifer Kim: Bob Cratchit, Portly Gentleman I, Jacob Marley, Fan, Mrs. Fezziwig, Christmas Present, Mrs. Fred, Businessman, Mrs. Dilber, Man in the Street, Boy

Director’s Note

Victorians, especially Victorian Englanders, are responsible for many of our Christmas traditions; Christmas trees decorated with lights and ornaments, exchanging presents, Santa Claus (or the magical gift-giver Ali Baba which Young Scrooge sees during his youth) and Christmas carols are all traditions first popularized by the Victorians in the mid-19th century.

Since its publication on December 19, 1843, A Christmas Carol has become a part of that tradition and is responsible, in many ways, for defining these traditions. Charles Dickens, already famous for his serial novels like Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby, was 31 when he penned the now classic Christmas story. He wrote the novella in six weeks and his publishers were unenthusiastic about the project, refusing to pay the full cost of publishing so Dickens paid the rest himself. A Christmas Carol was an instant bestseller. Six thousand copies were printed and by Christmas Eve 1854, it was off to a second printing. Since its release, A Christmas Carol has never been out of print.

Perhaps that’s the true legacy of A Christmas Carol. Perhaps it didn’t become so much a part of an existing tradition, but rather shaped a new one. It reminds us of the real, honest message of Christmas. Beyond the twinkling lights, presents under the tree, or even particular religious faith, Dickens reminds us to always strive, daily, to create a season of charity, of hope, and of goodwill towards all others for the betterment of humankind. A message which continues to resonate in our troubled world 176 years after its publication.

Special Thanks: Karen Eterovich, Robin Olson, Terry Olson, Stephen Shields,

The Hermitage and the Ridgewood Arts Foundation for awarding First Flight a sponsorship grant for Autumn 2023


First Flight Theatre Company’s 2023 Season Donors

Elizabeth Weller

Richard Width

Karen Eterovich

Lynn Manuell

Edward Alstrom

Debbie Ruzicka

Harper Craven

Joseph Vetromile

Pamela Coombe

Marilyn Green

John Zerbe

Marla Weeg

Kathryn Schmidt

Catherine Erickson

Mary Gross

Jeanette Schwaba Vigne

Paul Sugarman

Sandra Seaton

Mary Farrell

Johnny Garcia




JOVANNY JACOBO (Actor #1) hit the stage in 2011 and hasn't stopped since. He has played a multitude of characters.  Appearing in plays such as Crossroads as the abusive Eugene, fun loving Darius Jennings in both A Christmas Without Him and The Jennings Family Reunion, to co- starring with Melba Moore in Straight To The Head at the Newark Symphony Hall. Jovanny also was the lead character David in Cybersex, a play about an adult after being abused by a family member. Then played troubled Joshua in The Last Hour written and directed by J Marshall Evans. During the pandemic he was in two Zoom Plays, 12 Incompetent Jurors and 10 Ways to Survive Life in Quarantine, both plays produced by the AlphaNYC Theater. Jovanny dedicates this and all his performances to his wife Shirley, their two boys Jovanny Jr. and Jaxson and his mother Eurania. Jovanny is very appreciative of all the support throughout the years from his family. “Thank you to my fellow cast members, director, dialect coach and stage manager. Special thanks to the audience for attending. It is always an honor to perform on the stage in front of you all!”

RORY KELSCH (Actor #2) is an actor, writer & storyteller. She was last seen at Playwrights Horizons in a reading of Cross Plains (written & directed by Olivia Facini). Prior to that she portrayed American Gothic in Karleigh Chase’s Memoirs of a Painted Woman at The PIT in NYC. Other favorite roles include Harper in Angels in America (Elmwood Playhouse), Susan in Yield Burning (3-Legged Dog Productions), and Maria in Twelfth Night (La Mama E.T.C) As a writer and storyteller, Rory has performed original CNF pieces many times at the Woodstock Bookfest, as well as with Generation Women (NYC), and with What’s Your Story? An evening of backyard storytelling she co-hosts and co-produces right here in Bergen County. (IG: @whatsyourstory_nj) Rory would like to thank First Flight, Frank, Richard, Karen, Jovanny, Jennifer, Robin Proett Olson, and obviously, Charles Dickens for this incredible opportunity. It’s been a complete delight. She would also like to thank her family and friends for their unending support and encouragement. Happy Holidays to ALL! Thank you for coming! 


JENNIFER KIM (Actor #3) is an actress and writer. She grew up in California and is currently based in New York. She feels incredibly lucky to have worked with the First Flight Theatre before, playing Peaseblossom/Faerie in Midsummer Night's Dream and Neil/Rafe/Lady 2 in Valley Forge, and she is delighted to participate in A Christmas Carol. Other recent roles include two roles in Thornton Wilder's short plays (Linda in Love and How to Cure It and Diana in Cement Hands); Juliet in the comedy, How to Survive a Shakespeare Play; and Announcer 2 in War of the Worlds. In October 2022, her short play, Inheriting October, was performed at the Players’ Theatre and in March 2023, her full-length play, The Mystery of the Mosaic Bridge, will also be performed at the Players' Theatre. 

ROBIN PROETT OLSON (Playwright) has written for, directed, and acted in all of Central Florida’s major professional theatres. She teaches Acting and Intro to Theatre at Valencia College and can occasionally be seen at Universal Studios Orlando as the Wand Keeper in the Olivander Wand experience in the Harry Potter lands. She conceived, wrote, produced, directed and performed in Dickens by Candlelight during its 21-year run in Orlando.


RICHARD WIDTH (Director/Stage Manager) performed or directed over 70 productions with Orlando Shakespeare Theater (OST) as well as adapted Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Forster’s Maurice and Poe’s Pit and the Pendulum for the stage as a part of their new play development program. This past October, he adapted Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ into a one woman show titled Mina for First Flight Theatre Company and The Hermitage. He has worked in numerous regional theaters (favorite roles include Orlando in As You Like It, The Actor in The Woman in Black and Henry II in The Lion in Winter) and appeared nationally on Guiding LightOne Life to Live, and in Vin Diesel’s directorial debut film Multi Facial. Most recently, he appeared as George Washington in First Flight’s production of Maxwell Anderson’s Valley Forge and is thrilled to be returning to the director’s chair for their signature production of Robin Proett Olson’s Dickens by Candlelight: A Christmas Carol at The Hermitage while working full time as a Hospice RN in the northern NJ area.

FRANK FARRELL (First Flight Artistic Director) in August directed First Flight's NYC production of Shakespeare's Ladies at Tea and Shakespeare's Deaths. He was an actor in Chicago for 40 years receiving three Joseph Jefferson acting nominations. Six years ago he returned to NYC where he was born.  In NYC he wrote, directed and produced Forgotten Soldiers from Our Forgotten War for the First Flight Theatre Company, the seventh theatre group he has formed.  For FFTC he also coordinated several stage readings of Maxwell Anderson’s plays in New York City and Chicago. Frank directed and produced the 2020 production of Maxwell Anderson’s play Valley Forge and this past summer's production of Little Women. He has directed five short films; Walt Kelly’s Songs of the Pogo, The Leaves Were Falling, Salvador, In the Garden of Live Flowers and Maxwell Anderson's first Broadway play White Desert.


is devoted to presenting plays by 20th century American playwright Maxwell Anderson as well as other playwrights who instill poetry in their writing. First Flight through a focus on voice, text and story, is dedicated to the dynamic performance and exploration of plays and playwrights whose use of language heightens the theatrical experience.


Visit for more about the First Flight Theatre Company. FFTC’s Email: and by phone at 201-879-4461 OR 773-307-4586.





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