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Scrooge evolution in 'A Christmas Carol'

Scrooge evolution

On achieving his 1,000th-performance milestone as Scrooge Saturday night, it's fair to say that Jeffrey Sanzel knows Ebenezer better than Dickens did. After all, "A Christmas Carol" was just a novella. Sanzel has tweaked his stage adaptation dozens of times, filling in telltale traits that Dickens left blank.

When his housekeeper (Joan St. Onge) asks if she should leave the lamp lit on Christmas Eve, he responds, "Darkness is cheaper." He dismisses Jacob Marley's ghost (Steve McCoy) as indigestion: "There's more gravy than the grave about you." And he berates his clerk, Bob Cratchit (Douglas Quattrock), for having a heart.

Scrooge's transformation feels genuine. Regrets creep in as he follows the Ghost of Christmas Past (Brittany Lacey) and the acerbic Ghost of Christmas Present (Debbie Starker).

In each of 22 seasons Sanzel has played him, Scrooge has evolved further.

WHAT "A Christmas Carol"

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday,

3 and 8 p.m. Saturday,

3 and 7 p.m. Sunday,

7 p.m. Wednesday, through Dec. 27, Theatre Three, 412 Main St.,

Port Jefferson

INFO$15-$28; theatre, 631-928-9100

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