December 22

Adam's Gifts - A Healing Story
From My Seat in the Pew

by Mari Lyn Henry

As I sat in the pew waiting for the show to begin, I was reminded that theatre began in the church and what better place to present this charming updated version of Dickens’ iconic Christmas story.   His villain isn’t Scrooge or the Grinch, but a miserly, money grubbing, cynical, slum landlord with anger management issues named Willard Pront, (William Parry paints a believable and intense portrait), an apt moniker for a conniving, gun-toting rat.  In the opening scene, he is verbally abusing Jason, (the versatile Philip Hoffman)  the “Bob Cratchit” character who has slaved for him, brought him McDonalds’ takeout, worked long hours with no overtime, run interference for the class action suits brought against him by the tenants in his 58 buildings.   When Jason asks for a raise, Willard cites the recession and Jason quits!  Read more >>


“I pay you to be here every second!”  That’s the voice of Willard Pront, slum landlord and latter-day Scrooge, speaking to his overworked middle-aged employee Jason in Adam’s Gifts, Peter Filicia’s reimagining of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  Filichia, theater critic emeritus for the Newark Star Ledger in New Jersey and arts contributor to News 12, proves with his new work that he can also wear the hat of playwright.  What’s more, the play he wrote is not only stage worthy, it’s family-friendly and as right for the holidays as nutmegon eggnog.  Filichia’s retooling of the holiday favorite resonates with Dickens’ text, but make no mistake: this is Filichia's own creation. He’s not slavishly following his predecessor’s work but fashioning an American story for the here-and-now that speaks to pertinent issues today (think bed bugs, heating problems, unreasonable landlords, marriage and divorce, kids, health problems).  He loosely tethers his own dramatis personae to the Dickens’ personages, which provides a wonderful patina to his American counterparts, but clearly makes them 21s t century characters. So get ready for a journey to nostalgia-land that takes its lunch breaks at McDonald’s, goes wild for Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and realizes that the ABC’s of life begin with helping and healing others.   Read more>>

December 23

Adam's Gifts

by Deirdre Donovan

Maureen Silliman and William Parry in Adam's Gifts
photo by Daniel Neiden

... heartwarming

... it’s nothing short of incandescent. amusing, heartfelt, novel, modern interpretation

Adam’s Gifts – A Christmas Carol for Today

by Suzanna Bowling

New Jersey’s top theatre critic, Peter Filichia has bestowed a present to all those who have wanted A Christmas Carol updated for present day. Thanks to Daniel Neiden and St. John’s Lutheran Church, Adam’s Gifts was given a limited amount of performances. This heart-melting surprise of a play is sure to be in several theatres around the country next holiday season.

As the story begins, who else should play a version of Scrooge but a slum landlord, Willard Pront (William Parry) whose greed and lust for money has him taking advantage of Jason (Philip Hoffman). Besides verbally abusing Jason, Pront also has been skimming his less than minimum wage pay. Fed up, Jason asks for a raise. Willard refuses and Jason quits!  >>Read more

...heartmelting surprise of a play...