Opinion: Clarence Brown Theatre helps students, Knoxville residents get in the holiday spirit

The winter season is upon us. Weather is getting cooler, lights are going up all over town and finals are just around the corner. To help get everyone into the holiday spirit, the Clarence Brown Theatre is producing their annual rendition of “A Christmas Carol.”

“A Christmas Carol” is an age-old holiday story following Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve to change his life. While there are many versions of “A Christmas Carol,” such as the Mickey Mouse version from the 1980s, the Clarence Brown production stays very close to the classic story line of the show.

Jed Diamond, professor in the theater department of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, returned this year as the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, with a performance to wow any audience. The rest of the cast also helped to create an astounding performance. This show features many children playing young roles, and each of them were “real” and mature actors when on the stage. “A Christmas Carol” features a truly amazing cast this season.

The crew for “A Christmas Carol” blew away the audience with its elaborate set for this year’s show. Every scene featured intricate sound and lighting effects and unbelievably realistic set pieces. One recurring feature that I really enjoyed was the use of a trap door in the stage. In just a few seconds, a bed could arise from or descend into the stage.

At one point in the show, the ghost Marley, Scrooge’s late lifetime work partner, made his entrance by coming up from the floorboards of the stage, and his exit by descending back into the stage. The added fog effects made it really feel like a ghost was entering the theatre that night.

If you get the chance, make your way to the Clarence Brown Theatre sometime before this show closes. The Clarence Brown is conveniently located on campus, in between the music building and the Humanities and Social Sciences building. Shows are just $5 for UTK students to see. “A Christmas Carol” runs from now until Dec. 17.


Featured Image courtesy of Creative Commons

Edited by Vanessa Rodriguez

Opinion: Peppermint Trail of Treats offers fun holiday treats and encourages local shopping

The city of Knoxville is hosting an event called the Peppermint Trail of Treats, which began on Nov. 25 and will end on Jan. 8.

The purpose of the Peppermint Trail of Treats is to encourage people to shop at the unique shops in Market Square, while enjoying peppermint flavored treats.

In order to know where each business is located, there are giant peppermints placed in front of the local businesses.

Of course getting your dose of peppermint flavored hot chocolate and coffee or a peppermint and lavender facial is great; but, the trail of lights right across from the square are something to enjoy while visiting these local businesses.

The peppermint hot chocolate from Coffee and Chocolate tastes wonderful and their variety chocolate is good too.

Bluetique saw some business on Black Friday that they believe was encouraged by the Peppermint Trail of Treats.

“Black Friday especially, people would come in with their kids and would stay and shop to take advantage of the deals,” Quinlyn Zandi, an employee at Bluetique, said.

On the other hand, one business said that they have not seen much business just yet from the Peppermint Trail of Treats. “It hasn’t picked up yet, but as it gets closer to the holiday season and kids getting out of school we will see a pick up on the peppermint trail,” Lindsey West, an Earth To Old City employee, said.

The Peppermint Trail of Treats is a fun way to visit some local businesses and get those fun Christmas gifts. The trail of treats is also a fun way to get out and see a bit more of this interesting city.

Featured Image by Emily Haskew

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

UT brings back annual “A Christmas Carol”

The University of Tennessee’s own Clarence Brown Theatre welcomes their annual production of the classic Charles Dicken’s play, “A Christmas Carol,” this month perfectly in time for holiday entertainment.

With a cast of over thirty local adult and child actors consisting of both current and graduate students of UT, “A Christmas Carol” will surely delight families and people alike. Audiences have the opportunity to channel their holiday spirit into this riveting tale of Ebenezer Scrooge as he travels into the past, present and future with the help of four compelling ghosts that lead him on his journey.

With a new director, set, props and costumes, there is a new look to the play this year that will improve the play from those of years past, according to the Clarence Brown Theatre’s website.

To further enhance the holiday experience, there will also be holiday treats sold at concessions, as well as a “Christmas Carol’s Ghost” cutout display to pose with for pictures.

Kathleen F. Conlin, this year’s director, has previously worked for twenty-two seasons at the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespearean Festival directing many Shakespeare plays, as well as modern American dramas and comedy plays such as, “The Tempest” and “Richard III“, both of which earned her praise for her creativity in the designs of the performances.

Jed Diamond will play Ebenezer Scrooge. He is currently the head of acting at the University of Tennessee. Previously, Mr. Diamond lived in New York City as an actor and director working in plays such as, “Of Mice and Men” and “All the Way Home.” He also taught at NYU, Fordham University and Stella Adler Studio, and was also a part of the faculty at the Actors Center and the Shakespeare Lab at New York’s Shakespeare Festival.

Shows are currently playing and will do so until Sunday, Dec. 18, just in time for a last minute holiday festivity for the whole family. Ticket prices differ depending upon the day of the week and ages. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the price for adults is $26, children from age 5-10 are $10, UT students can buy tickets for $5 and non-UT students for $15.

Weekend shows will be $32 for adults with the ticket prices for children and college students remaining the same. There are also senior, military and UT faculty and staff discounts available along with deals for groups with 15 or more people. Children under the age of five are not permitted.

Featured Image courtesy of the Clarence Brown Theatre

Edited by Katy Hill

Opinion: Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights is fun for all ages

Every year Rock City hosts the Enchanted Garden of Lights just in time for Christmas.

The lights are available to view starting Nov. 18 –Dec. 31. You can go any night except for Christmas Eve when they will be closed.

Tickets for this attraction differ in pricing based on the day of the week you plan to attend. Monday through Thursday tickets cost $19.95 for adults and $11.95 for children. Friday through Sunday tickets cost $22.95 for adults and $12.95 for children.

Rock City has been one of the main places to see lights during Christmas time, and this past Saturday night was no exception.

From the moment you reach the entrance of the attraction you are greeted with people everywhere. There are people parking, buying Starbucks and waiting in line to get tickets.

A new factor that Rock City has put in place is the option to make your own tour, or you can follow the traditional route where you will start at the Yule Town.

As soon as you walk into the gardens you are met with thousands of beautiful lights. No matter which way you chose to go, you can’t help but marvel at the different light shows.

One set of lights that you will want to go look at is the large star that is hanging on the side of a waterfall that looks out onto the city of Chattanooga, Tenn. This view was an important part of one couple’s experience. “The experience of great views and beautiful lights are worth braving the cold,” Peyton Halley, an attendee who was there with her boyfriend, said.

The experience of the lights is something that can be enjoyed as a whole. You can see a theme in each section of light, which can be found by using the map that you receive when you purchase you ticket. If you are looking for something fun and interesting to do this Christmas season, Rock City is a perfect place to go.

Featured Image by Emily Haskew

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Opinion: Top ten must watch movies during Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas

Finals are just around the corner, but never fear Christmas is also near! Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas begins this Thursday at 3:30 p.m. and features many different movies every day. What better way to unwind before or after finals than with some holiday cheer? Here are the top ten must watch movies:

1. “Elf”

Sprinkle some Christmas cheer into your day with this classic film filled of stars such as Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, Bob Newhart and Peter Dinklage to name a few. Don’t forget the four elf food groups of “candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup” when you watch this unforgettable film. The first airing will be at 8:50 p.m. on Dec. 3.

2. “The Polar Express”

All aboard the Polar Express! Don’t miss this heartwarming film, centered around a young boy and his trip to the North Pole to see Santa Claus. The trip is filled with excitement, laughs and music with Tom Hanks voicing over five characters in the animated flick. The first airing will be at 9:20 p.m. on Dec. 2.

3. “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Revisit Halloween Town with the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington and all his animated friends when “The Nightmare Before Christmas” returns to Freeform. While many people consider this animated film to be a Halloween classic, others think of it as a Christmas classic. No matter what you think, the first airing will be at 11:20 p.m. on Dec. 1.

4. “A Christmas Carol”

Finals have you down? Don’t say “bah humbug.” Cozy up with a hot chocolate and watch this famous animated movie. This 2009 film follows Scrooge, voiced by Jim Carrey, and his journey of self redemption. Along the way, he meets three interesting characters and discovers the true meaning of Christmas. The first airing will be at 5:10 p.m. on Dec. 2.

5. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

Follow the Griswold family as they plan a Christmas spectacular where things rarely go to plan. This 1989 film stars Chevy Chase as the eccentric father, Clark. Don’t miss this flick because is it really Christmas without the Griswold’s? Don’t miss the first airing at 7:05 p.m. on Dec. 1.

6. “The Santa Clause”

After you watch the wacky “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” settle in and watch Tim Allen bring the laughs in this iconic movie. Watch his journey as he accidentally becomes Santa Claus and slowly stumbles into his new role. This movie is filled with fun, love and plenty of Christmas cheer. The first airing will be at 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 1.

7. “Frozen”

Once you’ve “let it go” after finals, be sure to check out this fan favorite movie. As much as you might like to say you hate “Frozen,” we all know this instant hit will have you feeling warm and fuzzy. Follow Elsa, Anna, Kristof and Olaf on this epic adventure and find out if the cold ever bothered them anyway. The first airing of this film is at 9 p.m. on Dec. 17.

8. “The Year Without a Santa Claus”

When it comes to Christmas, Santa Claus and holiday cheer seem to go hand-in-hand, but imagine a year without a Santa Claus. Follow Mrs. Claus and the elves on their journey to remind Santa how important he really is. This 1974 animated flick is sure to take you back to your childlike Christmas cheer. The first airing is at 6 p.m. on Dec. 1.

9. All three “Toy Story” movies

While these aren’t Christmas movies, they are classic Disney and the perfect movies to watch while you await your final grades. Follow Woody, Buzz, Jessie and Bull’s-eye on their endless adventures as toys. Don’t miss the marathon when it starts at 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 10.

10. “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”

Rounding out the list is the ultimate classic Christmas film, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” Featuring the voice acting of legends, Fred Astaire and Mickey Rooney, this film will have you feeling Christmasy even if the weather doesn’t. The first airing is on Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m.

While the lineup this year is notably missing classics like “Eloise at Christmastime,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and all of the “Harry Potter” films, these picks are sure to fill your home or with Christmas cheer.

For more information and the full schedule visit Freeform’s website.

Featured Image from Freeform

Edited by Katy Hill