Charles Dickens' classic tale, adapted for the stage by South Coast
Repertory's Jerry Patch, continues to entertain local audiences. The
latest version opens this weekend.
And Landon isn't the only member of the 1980 cast who's still
around for the silver anniversary. Founding artists Richard Doyle,
Don Took, Martha McFarland and Art Koustik continue to spend their
Decembers bringing the spirit (and spirits) of Christmas to
enraptured youngsters (and oldsters), although none has the perfect
25-year attendance record that Landon possesses.
Koustik, however, comes close -- he missed only two productions,
in 1990 and 1991, and then only because he was injured in a
motorcycle accident. Doyle filled in for him as Fezziwig and the
Other company members who've been aboard for numerous productions
of "A Christmas Carol" include actors Howard Shangraw and Hisa
Takakuwa, set designer Cliff Faulkner (recently replaced by Thomas
Buderwitz), costumer Dwight Richard Odle, lighting designers Tom and
Donna Ruzika, musical director Dennis Castellano and choreographer
For many years, John Ellington was the personification of Bob
Cratchit, Scrooge's humble clerk. Lately, Daniel Blinkoff has assumed
this mantle. Jennifer Parsons has taken over the role of Mrs.
Cratchit -- played for a decade by Marilyn Fox -- and Travis Vaden
will be playing Ebenezer as a young man.
And then there are the kids -- local youngsters enrolled in South
Coast Repertory's Young Conservatory, as was my 11-year-old son, Tim,
when he played the "turkey boy" back in 1984. His name, along with
everyone else's who ever trod the boards in "A Christmas Carol" over
the past quarter century, is listed in a special feature in the
company's current newsletter.
That particular reminiscence puts the South Coast Repertory show
in perspective. Tim is 31 now, a high school English teacher and
occasional pinch hitter in this column, and he still makes it a point
to visit the theater during "A Christmas Carol" season, as have many
people who grew up with the show. He says, "It doesn't feel like