Home Bensalem Times ‘A Levittown Christmas Carol’ coming to Broken Goblet Brewing Dec. 23

‘A Levittown Christmas Carol’ coming to Broken Goblet Brewing Dec. 23

The musical, co-written by Righteous Jolly, is a unique twist on the classic Charles Dickens tale

Labor of love: Righteous Jolly co-wrote ‘A Levittown Christmas Carol,’ which is being performed at Broken Goblet Dec. 23. Submitted Photo

It’s never too late to chase a dream. 

Righteous Jolly, an actor and musician from Levittown, might be 43 years old with a wife and kids, but he still has more to accomplish in life. Currently, he’s on a mission to introduce as many people as possible to a musical that he co-wrote with creative partner David Garrett Shaw: A Levittown Christmas Carol

A unique, Lower Bucks County-centric rendition of Charles Dickens’ classic tale, the production — which includes a whopping 17 original songs — has two performances on Saturday, Dec. 23, at Broken Goblet Brewing, 2500 State Road, Bensalem. There is a 2 p.m. family-friendly matinee and an 8 p.m. show for adults. 

For almost a decade, Jolly has been putting together an annual holiday show at Broken Goblet, where he used to work. Not only is the initiative “on brand” thanks to his name, he also enjoys the sounds of the season.

“Melancholy as I am, and can be, around the holidays, I’ve always loved Christmas music,” he said. 

Over the years, Jolly’s initiative has transformed from a general Christmas show to a revamped version of A Christmas Carol with two actors. However, for 2023, the show is getting some major enhancements, including a tighter script, brand new songs and a full cast.

Some time ago, Jolly penned the song “Levittown Christmas,” which expresses his nostalgia for the holidays of the ‘90s. Inspired by this track, Shaw wrote over a dozen related tunes in a six-month span, all of which are part of the score to A Levittown Christmas Carol

Additionally, there’s a fresh plotline that makes the self-realization journey of Scrooge more of a secondary story, one that brings to life on stage Jolly’s mission to get the most he can out of life. 

“There’s a protagonist named Chuck who is a Levittown dreamer, heart of gold. He wants to get out of his own way. He didn’t have a great childhood. We don’t explore that, but it’s inferred. And he just wants a little more,” said Jolly. 

Chuck, 40, envisions a life as a successful writer … not a worker at the Golden Jawn (the stage version of the Golden Dawn). He expresses his feelings of dejection to love interest Grace, 30, of Bloomsdale, a fellow employee at the diner who has a vision of her own: opening her own bakery and accomplishing what her grandparents couldn’t. As persons of color, they were not permitted at the time to start a business on Levittown land. 

As Chuck wallows over the state of his life, Grace decides to finish writing his current project, which is the age-old story of Scrooge … just with a few tweaks. Set in the ‘90s, Scrooge is a bar owner who takes over the joint after his partner Marley dies. Marley, who is sentenced to walk Route 13 for eternity pushing an old BMX bike, warns Scrooge that three spirits will visit: a headbanging rocker, a reformed juvenile delinquent with a heart of gold and a surprise ghost. 

Reimagined: ‘A Levittown Christmas Carol’ puts a unique, local spin on a classic tale. Submitted Photo

While the trials of Chuck and Grace unfold on one side of the stage, Scrooge’s adventure plays out on the other side. Jolly stars as Chuck and Ebby Scrooge, with Yolanda Bullock portraying Grace and Christin, the love interest of Scrooge. The cast also features Cara Cartney as Cratchitt and Greg McGarvey as GregFred, as well as the following: Evan Scheerer, Jim Burns, Mark Applegate, Jonathan Rea, Joe Beckett, Kat Bohn and introducing Hutch Windstyler. 

Additionally, A Levittown Christmas Carol features a full band: Shaw, McGarvey, Eric Barnes, Jim Bowman and Pat Robinson. 

Each song holds a special place in Jolly’s heart, but he’s particularly excited for audiences to hear a select few. At the start of the musical is “L-Town Anthem,” during which Chuck explains who he is, where he’s from and what he’s doing. In fact, in the middle of the song, Chuck breaks into a rap that rattles off nearly every section of Levittown. It’s the fastest rap that Jolly has ever had to perform, which means extra practice is needed … including in the car with his two sons, who are also learning the words.

“They’ve been spitting some bars in the car, in the Subaru,” he said with a laugh. 

There’s also “Choke Artist,” which is sung by the third ghost and reconciles the stories of Chuck and Scrooge, the latter of whom is choking on a Gobbler from Wawa and appears to be dead. 

“Most times, you don’t hear the thing that you need to hear from the person that ought to say it to you, and because this is a play and Dave and I carry these things, we wrote what we wished our hearts could hear because the moment’s gone,” said Jolly. “And that also teaches people to live in the moment and express yourself while you have it because time is fleeting.” 

Also part of the score is “Hoagiefest,” but to the melody of “Christmas Time is Here” by Vince Guaraldi (“Hoagiefest is here, hunger disappears”). This was featured in last year’s show at Broken Goblet and, thanks to Jolly showing the lyrics on a screen, was sung by 300 attendees. 

Jolly, a graduate of Truman High School with a background in theater, is grateful to Broken Goblet for letting him do what he loves all these years. Yet like Chuck, Jolly feels he can do even more with A Levittown Christmas Carol. In 2024, he’d love to have it produced over a multi-week span at his alma mater, or at a small theater venue. 

“I’m trying to create my own opportunity because my life is different. I can’t hit the pavement like I used to auditioning,” he said. “It shines a beautiful light on Levittown. When I was growing up, for one reason or another, I didn’t have much pride. And I feel this story could give the community, the kids in Lower Bucks in particular, some pride.” 

He also hopes that A Levittown Christmas Carol can expand beyond his hometown. Whether the production takes place in South Philadelphia, Reading or Scranton, the local hot spots mentioned in the script and songs can easily be changed in what Jolly described as a “Mad Libs style.”

In the meantime, Jolly stressed that one doesn’t have to be from Levittown to enjoy the musical and take away a vital message: life is short, go after your dreams and keep an open mindset about new opportunities that may pop up along the way. This is in addition to the classic Scrooge takeaway of being kind to people. 

“Be careful being single-minded with one goal because you might not see what’s in the periphery,” said Jolly. “At the end of the day, Chuck, our protagonist, says, ‘I never made it on a bestsellers list, but that’s OK because I still write. And when I write, I write for myself. I’m not writing for anybody else, and I’m happy with the guy who I see in the mirror.’”

Dreaming big: Righteous Jolly hopes to have ‘A Levittown Christmas Carol’ produced at Truman High School or a small theater next year. Submitted Photo

Getting A Levittown Christmas Carol together has been a true labor of love for Jolly, who is receiving much support from his circle. His wife, an art teacher and painter, assisted with designing the merchandise and flyers, while friends (and even friends of friends) donated props, costumes and other necessities. In fact, one built an ice cream rickshaw for the second ghost, while another crafted a life-sized snow globe that attendees can take photos with upon entering Broken Goblet. 

Jolly is expecting a larger turnout than last year’s show because, for the first time, it’s a ticketed event. In the past, the audience was comprised of individuals who just happened to be at the brewery, and who could leave at any time. This year, every person in the crowd is there exclusively to see Jolly’s creation. 

“Am I selling my dream to other people? I guess I am. And I have to be sort of unabashed about that because I just feel like the clock is ticking for me. I can feel it. There’s this thing inside me, it’s a carpe diem. It’s a seize the day,” said Jolly. “You or me or any other person, we only have a brief period on this planet. And as I get older, it’s so cliche, but it just feels more true all the time.” 

Tickets to A Levittown Christmas Carol are available online at brokengoblet.com/ and at the door on the day of the show (while supplies last). There are separate tickets for the matinee and evening performance.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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