This is my second year with A Christmas Carol. I’m the assistant to Alden Vasquez, the Production Stage Manager. My responsibilities are to make sure everything happens safely, and to get the cast in the right spot at the right time with the right props. When performances begin, Alden and I trade off calling the technical elements of the show from the front of house.
My wife, Kelly, is also a stage manager who has worked on A Christmas Carol. She always said, this is one of the few shows where you hear the audience vocally respond, and it’s true. A lot of it has to do with the kids in the audience, but you hear…it’s a kind of call-and-response theater experience. Kids gasp and laugh really loudly at the jokes. It’s just a different vibe, so that’s why I love coming back.
My favorite part of the show is when the Cratchits sing their little exit song, “Humble Cot.” Years back, when I first saw the show, that made me tear up. The lyrics, “All I need is my house, and all I need is my family with me,” really touched me. It’s not even a big house. Just give me me a place where I can lay my head and sleep. Some type of shelter. With the fires in California and the devastation in Puerto Rico, that resonates in a special way this year.
Last year our Young Performer Supervisor got sick, so I had to step in…like, substitute teacher for a day, you know? I was like, “Now, listen, I’m your boss’s boss, so you better listen to me! We’re professionals. Shut it down! Let’s stop!” But they’re a lot of fun.
A Christmas Carol is special in that people come back every year and build this culture around the show. There are a lot of backstage events every year, like our potluck dinner. Everybody brings in food and we have a Secret Santa for the kids. Last year, one of the actors gave Tiny Tim a HUGE teddy bear, like “a turkey as big as me,” kind of thing. Travis A. Knight, who played the Ghost of Christmas Past, brought his young son, who, during the dinner, kept trying to steal the bear! Every time you looked over he was dragging it towards the door, which made me laugh. That’s a lesson to take to heart: you can’t steal Tiny Tim’s bear!