There was a performance that stood out early on, when Scrooge (then played by Bill Norris) woke up and realized that he had changed and he started laughing. And he was surprised at the fact— that he could laugh again. That scene, and that moment, always stayed with me. It showed that people can change—that there is a transformation based on their experiences in the past. It was that moment in the show, when he would laugh and then stop and realize: “Oh my goodness, I can laugh! I’m happy!”
We’ve had to stop the show, because sometimes sets don’t move. In our old space, we had sets that jumped out of their track, and would wander off into the wings—or on stage. We had a fruit float that we used to have travel across the stage with the Ghost of Christmas Present in it, moving it, following a track. Sometimes the fruit float would get lost onstage and almost go into the audience, and actors would have to stop it. It’s a live show! Actors get sick in the middle of performances. I’ve had to put understudies on in the middle of performances. One time, our Philomena fainted just before her scene. I had to restage the dance and the scene offstage in the wings and reassign lines, literally three, four minutes before the scene was onstage. It’s all part of the show.
To me, forty years to me is just a number. Every year I look forward to this show. It tells a story of a man’s transformation and it tells our audiences that, despite what goes on around them in the world, we have the power to change our perspective and change our behavior. That’s what I look forward to every Christmas—that I get to work on a show that reminds people about the goodness, in all of us. We all have goodness inside us. We put on a show that reminds our audiences that they can change, they can have a different perspective and behave differently, and look at life a little differently. I’m proud because we’ve lasted 40 years, and we get to do this every year. We get to educate and entertain people, and allow families to make it a tradition for themselves.