Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Orange County’s beloved holiday tradition, returns to South Coast Repertory for its 29th season. Adapted for the stage by Jerry Patch and directed by John-David Keller, Dickens’ classic tale runs on the Segerstrom Stage from Nov. 29 through Dec. 27. Low-priced previews begin Nov. 29. Opening night is Dec 5. Tickets are available by calling the box office at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting www.scr.org.
Hal Landon Jr., who has never missed a season since he originated the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in 1980, returns as the world’s most celebrated miser. Joining the cast for the first time as Fred is Louis Lotorto, who has appeared at SCR in Taking Steps, Hamlet and Cyrano de Bergerac. Karen Hensel and Tom Shelton return for their second season as Mrs. Fezziwig, and Jacob Marley and The Spirit of Christmas Yet-to-Come.
The production features the return of Founding Artists and long-time cast members Richard Doyle (The Spirit of Christmas Past) and Art Koustik (Joe), as well as SCR regular Timothy Landfield (The Spirit of Christmas Present). Director Keller also appears for the seventh season as Mr. Fezziwig. Returning in the roles of Bob Cratchit and Mrs. Cratchit are Daniel Blinkoff and Jennifer Parsons; and Jennifer Chu and Ann Marie Lee are back for their third seasons as Belle and Sally, respectively.
A Christmas Carol was first published in 1843 as a novella and quickly became a perennial holiday favorite. The story of love and redemption remains one of Charles Dickens’ most widely recognized and popular creations. On Christmas Eve, penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge is his usual miserly self, chasing off solicitors for the poor, chastising his sole employee, Bob Cratchit, for wanting to take off Christmas Day and insulting his nephew Fred for celebrating a holiday that “has never put a penny in anyone’s pocket.” But that night, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his dead partner, who portends the arrival of three spirits who will show him the desolate path he has chosen and offer him a chance to correct his ways.
Joining the cast of A Christmas Carol are four graduates of South Coast Repertory’s Professional Intensive Program: Matt Bartosch (Thomas Shelley), Jill Maglione (Elizabeth Shelley), Jake Wells (Mr. Topper) and Dan Behnke (Young Jacob Marley). The cast also includes 16 local students selected from South Coast Repertory’s Youth and Teen programs. This year’s group of Cratchit kids and street urchins consists of (by hometown): Huntington Beach – BriAnna Beach, Lucas Blankenhorn; Irvine – William Hopper, Bahaar Tadjbakhsh, Sanaz Toossi; Lake Forest – Courtney Kato; Los Alamitos – Jordan Boggess, Mission Viejo – Christopher Bautista; Newport Beach – Christopher Huntley, Jasmine O’Hea; Rancho Santa Margarita – Grace O’Brien; Rossmoor – Jamie Ostmann, Nick Slimmer; Seal Beach – Matthew Tanaka; Yorba Linda – Mason Acevedo.
The creative team for A Christmas Carol includes Tom Buderwitz (set design), Dwight Richard Odle (costume design), Tom and Donna Ruzika (lighting design), Dennis McCarthy (musical arrangement/composer), Drew Dalzell (sound design), Dennis Castellano (vocal director), Sylvia C. Turner (choreographer), Hisa Takakuwa (assistant director) and Jamie Tucker (stage manager).
George and Julianne Argyros are Honorary Producers. KOCE-TV and Orange County Register are the Media Partners.
TICKETS to A Christmas Carol can be purchased online at www.scr.org, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the box office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances begin on Nov. 29 and continue through Dec. 27. Ticket prices range from $24 to $58. Low-priced preview performances are available from Nov. 29 - Dec. 2. Performance times: Previews: Saturday, Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 30 at 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. and Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Regular Performances: Monday, Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday - Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 12:00 and 4:00 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 24 at 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Note: there are no evening performances on Wednesday, Dec. 3 and Thursday, Dec. 4. Discounts are available for children 12 and under and groups of 15 or more. There will be an ASL-interpreted performance on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 2:30 p.m.
Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, under the artistic direction of David Emmes and Martin Benson, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theaters in the United States. Founded in 1964, SCR is committed to theater that illuminates the compelling personal and social issues of our time, not only on its stages but through its education and outreach programs. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theater, SCR is renowned for its extensive new play development program, including the Pacific Playwrights Festival. Of SCR’s more than 400 productions, 108 have been world premieres with subsequent stagings achieving enormous success across America and around the world. SCR-developed works have garnered eight Pulitzer Prize nominations with Margaret Edson’s Wit winning the prize in 1999 and David Lindsay-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole in 2007. Located in Costa Mesa, California, in 2002 SCR opened the Folino Theater Center, an expanded three-theater complex that includes the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio.
Hal Landon Jr. (Ebenezer Scrooge) is an SCR Founding Artist who recently appeared in Hamlet, Nothing Sacred, Man from Nebraska, Born Yesterday, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, A View from the Bridge, Habeas Corpus, Cyrano de Bergerac, Safe in Hell, Antigone, The Drawer Boy (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award nomination), Major Barbara and The School for Wives. Other credits include Arcadia, Our Town, Sidney Bechet Killed a Man, BAFO, Six Degrees of Separation, An Ideal Husband, A Mess of Plays by Chris Durang, Play Strindberg, Faith Healer, Ghost in the Machine, Green Icebergs, Morning’s at Seven, The Miser, Our Country’s Good and Waiting for Godot. He created the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in SCR’s A Christmas Carol, and has performed it in all 29 annual productions. He appeared in Leander Stillwell at Mark Taper Forum and in Henry V at The Old Globe in San Diego. Other resident theater roles include Salieri in Amadeus, Malvolio in Twelfth Night and Gordon Miller in Room Service. Among his film credits are Trespass, Pacific Heights, Almost an Angel, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Playing by Heart.
Christian Barillas (Undertaker/Young Ebenezer) returns to the cast of A Christmas Carol after making his SCR debut in the 2006 production. Most recently, Christian was awarded Colorado’s Henry Award for his work in the world premiere of Octavio Solis’ Lydia at Denver Center, which he will reprise at Yale Repertory in 2009. Other theater credits include Sonia Flew at Laguna Playhouse (West Coast premiere), Cornerstone’s As You Like It at Pasadena Playhouse, Center Theatre Group’s A VERY OLD Man with Enormous Wings at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (West Coast premiere), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello at Theatricum Botanicum and Vieux Carré at Ivy Substation. Los Angeles highlights include the title role in Anatol with Pacific Resident Theater Company, of which he is a member, The Tempest with Ark Theater Company and The Beaux Stratagem. Film credits include The Appointment, Sabotage, Incitement and ’Til Parole Do Us Part. On television he has appeared in NBC’s “Passions,” “The Playbook” for Spike TV and the pilot episode for “I See You.” Barillas attended the University of North Carolina, and received his MFA from UCLA where he was the recipient of the George Burns Fellowship in Comedy and the Jack Nicholson Prize in Acting.
DANIEL BEHNKE (Young Marley/Cop) is making his SCR debut after having recently completed SCR's Professional Intensive Program. Theater credits include Tracers, Arcadia, Beyond Therapy, Glengarry Glen Ross and How the Other Half Loves at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and Tape at Oakton Theater.
Daniel Blinkoff (Bob Cratchit) returns to SCR as Bob Cratchit for his sixth consecutive year. He has previously appeared at SCR in An Italian Straw Hat: A Vaudeville, Nothing Sacred, The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow, Major Barbara, The School for Wives, Nostalgia and Pinocchio. Other Los Angeles area theater credits include Pera Palas at The Theatre @ Boston Court, A Distant Shore at the Kirk Douglas Theatre and Road at Yale Cabaret Blue. Regionally he has appeared in The Imaginary Invalid and A Kiss for Cinderella at The Cleveland Play House, Are We There Yet? and The Seagull at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Stepping Out with Mr. Markham at The Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Summer in Gossensass at Theatre Row (directed by Maria Irene Fornes), Dinosaur Dreams and The Last 60 of 99 at New York Stage & Film, The Beaux Strategem and Twelfth Night at Yale Repertory Theatre, Leander Stillwell at Stage Left Theatre (Joseph Jefferson Citation) and Flesh and Blood at Chicago’s Bailiwick Repertory Theatre (Joseph Jefferson nomination - Best Actor). Film and television credits include Rockabye, With Honors, Crossing the Bridge, Dandelion, “Close to Home” (recurring), “Charmed,” “NYPD Blue,” “Law & Order” and “Missing Persons.” Blinkoff is a member of The Antaeus Company in L.A. as well as The Actors Center in New York. He received his MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
JENNIFER CHU (Belle/Ensemble) returns to SCR’s annual production of A Christmas Carol for her third consecutive year. Other SCR appearances include Life Is A Dream, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, The Only Child and the NewSCRipts reading of Happy Valley. Other theater credits include the world premiere of Nuevo California at San Diego Repertory Theatre, The Triumph of Isabella at Geffen Playhouse, Rashomon at Sierra Repertory Theatre, Medea at Theatre @ Boston Court, Gretty Good Time at Falcon Theatre, The Merchant of Venice at LAWS @ the Ivy Substation, The Conquest of the South Pole at Odyssey Theatre Ensemble (LA Weekly nomination) and A Little Night Music at Edison Theatre in St. Louis. Film and television credits include “Moonlight,” “Heartland,” “E-Ring,” “Six Feet Under,” Overnight, The Astronaut Farmer, The Terminal, Beyond the Ring, The Gene Generation and The Shift (Cannes, LA Film Festival). Chu received her MFA in acting from UCLA and currently can be seen selling airplanes, Big Macs, and home improvement appliances.
Richard Doyle (Solicitor/Spirit of Christmas Past/Gentleman) is an SCR Founding Artist. He appeared most recently in An Italian Straw Hat: A Vaudeville and last season in A Christmas Carol and The Importance of Being Earnest. Other credits include Hamlet, My Wandering Boy, Life is a Dream, Nothing Sacred, The Adventures of Pør Quinly, Born Yesterday, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Habeas Corpus, as Eddie in A View from the Bridge, Intimate Exchanges (1993), The Last Night of Ballyhoo and the world premieres of The Beard of Avon, On the Jump, But Not for Me, BAFO, The Interrogation of Nathan Hale, She Stoops to Folly, Wit, Hospitality Suite, Highest Standard of Living, Relatively Speaking, Proof, Major Barbara, Much Ado about Nothing, A Delicate Balance and Intimate Exchanges (2004), for which he earned a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (LADCC) Award nomination. He won an LADCC Award for his role in Sally Nemeth’s Holy Days and was nominated for his role as Reverend Hale in The Crucible. He was a guest artist at The Pasadena Playhouse in the world premiere of Matter of Honor playing Gen. John M. Schofield. “Cheers” fans will remember him as Woody’s snooty father-in-law Walter Gaines. He has many other film and television credits. As a voice-actor, Mr. Doyle has become a familiar voice in commercial advertisements, CD-ROM games (i.e. MGS-4), documentaries and animated series. Doyle’s voice can be heard as Senator Kelly on “Wolverine,” the new X-Men series and the holographic host in the Union Theatre at the new Lincoln Library in Springfield, IL.
Karen Hensel (Mrs. Fezziwig/Solicitor) has been associated with SCR since her debut in Spokesong in 1979. Her performances at SCR have included The Heiress, Cold Sweat, Hotel Paradiso, Bosoms and Neglect, Unsuitable for Adults and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, a production that was also presented at the Singapore Theatre Festival. She also appeared in Cloud Nine, Our Country’s Good, Hay Fever and, memorably, Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, which was also presented by SCR at the Westwood Playhouse and for which she was awarded the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award. She has performed at Mark Taper Forum, Pasadena Playhouse and American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. A member of the Broadway cast of Zoot Suit, she might be remembered by television viewers as Doris on “The Young and the Restless” (12 years), or for her many guest spots on nighttime dramas. She is currently the Director of the Adult Program and the Professional Intensive Program at SCR.
John-David Keller (Mr. Fezziwig/Gentleman) is a member of SCR’s resident Acting Company. He has been with the company since 1973 working as both an actor and director. He directed SCR’s Theatre for Young Audiences productions of The Adventures of Pør Quinly, Pinocchio and The Emperor’s New Clothes and acted in Bach at Leipzig and The Wind in the Willows. Keller has directed A Christmas Carol for its entire 29-year history. He has directed SCR’s Educational Touring Productions for 32 years, and this year will direct Indian Summer, which begins touring in January 2009. Among his other SCR directing credits are The Importance of Being Earnest, Godspell, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, In Fashion, The Real Inspector Hound (SCR’s first Equity show), Peg O’ My Heart and Tomfoolery. He has also acted in over 100 plays at SCR. He has been the concert host for the fifth grade concerts for the Orange County Philharmonic Society for 19 years. He has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Philharmonic and was part of the Sundance Playwrights Festival for ten years.
Art Koustik (Joe/Ensemble) is an SCR Founding Artist who has appeared in scores of productions, including Much Ado about Nothing, The Hollow Lands, Of Mice and Men, Tartuffe and Ah, Wilderness! He also appeared in BAFO, Six Degrees of Separation, She Stoops to Folly, The Taming of the Shrew, The Misanthrope, A Streetcar Named Desire, Loot, Lettice & Lovage, The Man Who Came to Dinner, The Miser, Shadowlands and Hospitality Suite. Other appearances include Twelfth Night, Hard Times, The Crucible, Prelude to a Kiss, Glengarry Glen Ross, Galileo, The Foreigner, Rum and Coke, The Show-Off, Saint Joan, Playboy of the Western World, Coming Attractions, American Buffalo, The Elephant Man, Time Was, The Time of Your Life, Comedians, Rubbers, That Championship Season, and most annual productions of A Christmas Carol. Outside SCR, he has been in Anything Goes, Chapter Two, Guys and Dolls, Brigadoon, numerous commercials, and film and television such as La Bamba, “Valerie,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Moonlighting,” “The Golden Girls,” “Dallas” and “The Young and the Restless.”
Timothy Landfield (Spirit of Christmas Present) returns to SCR, where he was previously seen in Bach at Leipzig, Pinocchio, The Clean House, The Norman Conquests, Round and Round the Garden and Hay Fever. He recently appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Hollywood Bowl with the L.A. Philharmonic, The Miser at A Noise Within and in the Broadway revivals of Company and The Sound of Music. He appeared on Broadway in Rumors, Arsenic and Old Lace, Wild Honey, The Crucifer of Blood and Tartuffe. Off-Broadway, he was in the original production of Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You and The Actor's Nightmare, as well as the musical Charlotte Sweet. He has played major roles in regional theaters across the country including Phileas Fogg in 80 Days at La Jolla Playhouse. Television and film credits include "Bones," "Six Feet Under," "Without a Trace," "Monk," "Frasier," "Boston Public," "CSI," "Family Law," "Law & Order" and The Cooler with William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin. He is on the faculty at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood.
Ann Marie Lee (Toy Lady/Sally/Scavenger) appeared at SCR last season in A Little Night Music and A Christmas Carol and previously in the Theatre for Young Audiences production of Pinocchio. Lee is a resident artist at A Noise Within, where her roles have included Rosalind (As You Like It), Anne (Man and Superman), Varya (The Cherry Orchard), Laura (The Glass Menagerie), Estella (Great Expectations) and Myra Arundel (Hay Fever). National tours include Peter Pan and Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? among others. Off-Broadway and regional credits include “Sondheim: A Celebration At Carnegie Hall,” A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the West Coast premiere of And the Winner Is at Laguna Playhouse and recently The Constant Wife at the Pasadena Playhouse. Film and television includes “The Nine” (recurring), “Nip/Tuck,” “7th Heaven,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “ER,” “Providence,” “Titus,” HBO’s “Breast Men,” “Any Day Now,” “Picket Fences” and “L.A. Law” (recurring). Radio plays include Hollywood Theatre of the Ear and NPR’s Beyond 2000. Audio books narrator: Books-On -Tape, Blackstone, and Lakeshore Learning. BA in Drama, Catholic University, Washington, D.C.; Performance/ Teaching Fulbright in American Drama to Poland.
LOUIS LOTORTO (Fred/Gentleman) has previously appeared at SCR in Taking Steps, Hamlet and Cyrano de Bergerac. Los Angeles theater credits include the Ahmanson Theatre in the Royal National Theatre touring production of An Enemy of the People with Sir Ian McKellen, the L.A. Philharmonic, International City Theatre, Mark Taper Forum’s Taper Too, The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, six seasons with A Noise Within, most recently earning an Ovation Nomination nod for his portrayal of Camille in A Flea in Her Ear. A company member and on the artistic advisory board of The Colony Theatre Company in Burbank, he has appeared there as Dr. Watson in Sherlock’s Last Cast, Tom in The Glass Menagerie and as several characters in the West Coast Premiere of Almost, Maine among others. Regional theatre credits include two seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.C. (Helen Hayes Award nominee for Ariel in The Tempest), four seasons at the California Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Portland Repertory Theatre, Artists Repertory Theatre, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle and most recently starring as Charlie in The Foreigner at San Jose Repertory Theatre. Film and television credits include Fire in the Sky, Under Suspicion, Body Language, Fade to Black, The Marla Hanson Story and “Nowhere Man.”
JILL MAGLIONE (Elizabeth Shelley/Fan/Pursued Maiden) is pleased to be making her SCR debut after completing SCR’s Professional Intensive Program. Theatre credits include The Night of the Iguana and Henry IV, Part 1 at A Noise Within, The Sound of Music and Anything Goes with The Andrean Players, Secret Confessions at Creative Artists Laboratory and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center. Film and television credits include Freedom of Speech, Desert Island, The Fallen, “What a Relief” and “How to Look Good Naked.”
Jennifer Parsons (Mrs. Cratchit) returns for a fifth year in A Christmas Carol and most recently appeared at SCR in The Heiress and The BFG (Big Friendly Giant). She also appeared in James and the Giant Peach, The Only Child, Bunnicula, Cyrano de Bergerac, Getting Frankie Married—and Afterwards, Our Town, She Stoops to Folly, The Importance of Being Earnest and Buried Child. Other stage credits include How I Learned to Drive at San Diego Repertory and Talley’s Folly at International City Theatre in Long Beach. In New York she appeared on Broadway and Off-Broadway in Quilters, Steel Magnolias, Smoke on the Mountain, Native Speech and Unchanging Love. Other regional theater credits span from the Mark Taper Forum, Denver Center, Kennedy Center and Chicago’s Royal George to The Abbey (Ireland). As a company member at Theatre 40 she has performed leading roles in Holy Days, Heartbreak House, Little Murders, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Yiddish Trojan Women, Chapter 2 and many others. Among her most current television appearances are guest star roles on "Without a Trace," “Boston Legal,” “The OC,” “Judging Amy,” “JAG,” “The West Wing,” “For the People,” “Philly” (recurring), “NYPD Blue,” “The X- Files”, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: Voyager”and “The Jersey” (recurring). Film credits include American Girl, Dragonfly, Never Been Kissed, Box Boarders! and Self Medicated.