"A Christmas Carol" may at first seem like odd fodder for South Coast Repertory, which is known for tackling edgier, perhaps more difficult work.
"I suppose, in a way, that it's a bit of holiday pageantry that we sort of take a sidestep away from our normal season," founding repertory member Richard Doyle said.
Doyle and other fellow veteran actors like Hal Landon Jr., who has played Ebeneezer Scrooge for 31 years, have seen generations grow up with the production, based on the novel by Charles Dickens.
"It really points out how indomitable the human spirit is," Doyle said. "The audiences are regularly on their feet at the end of this. Hal not withstanding, more than anything [they do this because of] the group journey that the audience is on."
Many of the adult actors take on the same roles each year, but new children are brought in annually.
"The biggest change every year is a new cast of young actors," Doyle said. "Part of the excitement and the fun of it for us guys who have done it for a few decades is to see everyone doing the show for the first time."