Central Ohio residents are invited to experience Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" with a twist when "Uptown Scrooge" returns to Westerville Nov. 30 through Dec. 21.

CORRECTION: Because of incorrect information provided to ThisWeek, the print and earlier online version of this story misspelled the name of Walnut Springs Middle School student Micah Carnes, 11, who plays young Scrooge.

Central Ohio residents are invited to experience Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" with a twist when "Uptown Scrooge" returns to Westerville Nov. 30 through Dec. 21.

Presented by Good Medicine Productions, a Westerville-based nonprofit theatrical ensemble founded in 2016 with a mission "to bring transformative joy to those who need it," this year's "Uptown Scrooge" will be the fourth annual walking tour of the show.

This year's cast features 14 young thespians, including 10 from the Westerville City School District, ranging in age from 8 to 13 years old.

Director Kristie Koehler Vuocolo said the participation from the students is really great because it's an immersive theater experience.

"The kids are learning a lot about improvisation, because we don't know how the audience is going to react," she said.

"And they are told that whatever the audience does is exactly right -- that the audience is perfect -- so kids have to be ready to think on their feet, not just know the lines but feel the energy of the scene and play with that."

Rylee Jennings, 13, a Blendon Middle School student, plays Tiny Tim.

"It's a great experience," she said. "It's definitely different from a normal play, because you're interacting with the audience. There have been past Tims who have helped me out a lot, scene-wise, and, overall, how to do the scenes."

Katy Mowery, 13, who also plays Tiny Tim, said Rylee introduced her to the concept.

The Blendon Middle School student said the experience has been amazing.

"I learn a lot from Rylee because she did it last year," Mowery said. "I learn a lot from the director, Kristie, and everybody. It's really different from the normal show. So, it really helps me expand my acting abilities to try something new. It's one of my favorite shows I've ever been in."

Blendon Middle School student Henry Bates, 12, who plays a beggar, said this is his first year in the production.

He said he's having a great time being part of a team that is compassionate.

"I couldn't ask for better people to work with," he said.

"Performing is something that helps release my inner emotions," Bates said. "Being in character is wonderful for me."

Walnut Springs Middle School student Micah Carnes, 11, plays young Scrooge.

"I've never done something as big as this before," he said. "It's exciting, definitely."

Carnes said he hopes to pursue performing as a career.

"Uptown Scrooge" is all about play with the audience, according to Koehler Vuocolo.

She said every theater company does "A Christmas Carol," but no one does it like this.

"This is an immersive experience for people in Westerville and central Ohio," Koehler Vuocolo said.

"How it works is the audience signs up for a tour and they are the collective Scrooge.

"They are led through the streets and shops of Uptown Westerville by an actor who plays Jacob Marley, then turns into the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and (Christmas) Future," she said.

"In different shops in Uptown, there's an interactive scene related to 'A Christmas Carol,' " she said.

For example, when a scene from the past is performed, the group visits My Cousin's Cottage, where everyone is surrounded by things of the past.

"And there we meet young Scrooge, who talks about being lonely and having no friends as a child," Koehler Vuocolo said.

"We do the present scene in Amish Originals, and there our ghost of Christmas Present does a monologue about the epidemic of loneliness in America, which is actually something that's happening today."

She said the production is an adaptation -- a very twisted, fun and thoughtful take -- on the story.

"Uptown Scrooge" will run at 12:30, 1, 1:30, 2:15, 2:45 and 3:15 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 30 through Dec. 21.

Each performance lasts approximately 90 minutes.

Tickets cost $22 for adults, $10 for students and children.

The tour check in will be at St. Matthew's Episcopal House, 30 E. College Ave., in Westerville.

Tickets can be purchased at GoodMedicineProductions.org.

Proceeds go to the signature programming of Good Medicine, which includes bringing professional performers bedside to Nationwide Children's Hospital and nursing homes in central Ohio.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla