In 1980, when South Coast Repertory tapped then-company member Jerry Patch to adapt "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens for the stage, no one could have foreseen the result three decades later.
Certainly not Hal Landon Jr., an SCR founding member whose service to the theater company dates back to the formative year of 1965. Nor director John-David Keller, a relative newcomer whose association with Costa Mesa's South Coast Rep began 10 years later.
"A Christmas Carol" has become a theater-packing holiday tradition, with Landon's Ebenezer Scrooge headlining the production for the 31st time. And he only seems to get better and stronger with age, both as the "miser's miser" and the "tightest fist in London" to his gloriously redeemed incarnation after receiving his spectral visitors.