“A Christmas Carol” is a novella by Charles Dickens about Ebenezer Scrooge, an old man, who is well-known for his miserly ways.
On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by a series of ghosts, starting with his old business partner, Jacob Marley. The three spirits which follow, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come, show Scrooge how his mean behavior has affected those around him. At the end of the story he is relieved to discover that there is still time for him to change and we see him transformed into a generous and kind-hearted human being.
Charles Dickens (Charles John Huffam Dickens) was born in Landport, Portsmouth, on February 7, 1812. Charles was the second of eight children to John Dickens (1786–1851), a clerk in the Navy Pay Office, and his wife Elizabeth Dickens (1789–1863). The Dickens family moved to London in 1814 and two years later to Chatham, Kent, where Charles spent early years of his childhood. Due to the financial difficulties they moved back to London in 1822, where they settled in Camden Town, a poor neighborhood of London.
The defining moment of Dickens’s life occurred when he was 12 years old. His father, who had a difficult time managing money and was constantly in debt, was imprisoned in the Marshalsea debtor’s prison in 1824. Because of this, Charles was withdrawn from school and forced to work in a warehouse that handled ‘blacking’ or shoe polish to help support the family. This experience left profound psychological and sociological effects on Charles. It gave him a firsthand acquaintance with poverty and made him the most vigorous and influential voice of the working classes in his age.
After a few months Dickens’s father was released from prison and Charles was allowed to go back to school. At fifteen his formal education ended and he found employment as an office boy at an attorney’s, while he studied shorthand at night. From 1830 he worked as a shorthand reporter in the courts and afterwards as a parliamentary and newspaper reporter.
In 1833 Dickens began to contribute short stories and essays to periodicals. A Dinner at Popular Walk was Dickens’s first published story. It appeared in the Monthly Magazine in December 1833. In 1834, still a newspaper reporter, he adopted the soon to be famous pseudonym Boz. Dickens’s first book, a collection of stories titled Sketches by Boz, was published in 1836. In the same year he married Catherine Hogarth, daughter of the editor of the Evening Chronicle. Together they had 10 children before they separated in 1858.
Although Dickens’s main profession was as a novelist, he continued his journalistic work until the end of his life, editing The Daily News, Household Words, and All the Year Round. His connections to various magazines and newspapers gave him the opportunity to begin publishing his own fiction at the beginning of his career.
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club was published in monthly parts from April 1836 to November 1837. Pickwick became one of the most popular works of the time, continuing to be so after it was published in book form in 1837. After the success of Pickwick Dickens embarked on a full-time career as a novelist, producing work of increasing complexity at an incredible rate: Oliver Twist (1837-39), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-39), The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge as part of the Master Humphrey’s Clock series (1840-41), all being published in monthly installments before being made into books.
Portrait of Charles DickensIn 1842 he travelled with his wife to the United States and Canada, which led to his controversial American Notes (1842) and is also the basis of some of the episodes in Martin Chuzzlewit. Dickens’s series of five Christmas Books were soon to follow; A Christmas Carol (1843), The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), The Battle of Life (1846), and The Haunted Man (1848). After living briefly abroad in Italy (1844) and Switzerland (1846) Dickens continued his success with Dombey and Son (1848), the largely autobiographical David Copperfield (1849-50), Bleak House (1852-53), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1857), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Great Expectations (1861).
In 1856 his popularity had allowed him to buy Gad’s Hill Place, an estate he had admired since childhood. In 1858 Dickens began a series of paid readings, which became instantly popular. In all, Dickens performed more than 400 times. In that year, after a long period of difficulties, he separated from his wife. It was also around that time that Dickens became involved in an affair with a young actress named Ellen Ternan. The exact nature of their relationship is unclear, but it was clearly central to Dickens’s personal and professional life.
In the closing years of his life Dickens worsened his declining health by giving numerous readings. During his readings in 1869 he collapsed, showing symptoms of mild stroke. He retreated to Gad’s Hill and began to work on Edwin Drood, which was never completed.
Charles Dickens died at home on June 9, 1870 after suffering a stroke. Contrary to his wish to be buried in Rochester Cathedral, he was buried in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey. The inscription on his tomb reads: “He was a sympathizer to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.”
Teri Bibb was last seen on the ETC stage as 10 different characters in It’s A Wonderful Life. Ms. Bibb played the role of Christine Daaé in The Phantom Of The Opera more than 1,000 times on Broadway and with the national tour, singing a command performance at the White House and earning a Helen Hayes Award nomination and a Carbonell Award along the way. She was also seen on Broadway in the revival of She Loves Me, where she stood by for and played the role of Amalia. A veteran of over 50 musicals across the country, her credits include playing the title role in FANNY opposite the late José Ferrer at the Paper Mill Playhouse and starring in the world premieres of two musicals: Songs from the Tall Grass at the Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. and Children Of The Night with the Katselas Theatre Co. in Beverly Hills, for which she received an Ovation Award nomination. In 2012 she received a Wilde Award nomination for playing Margaret in The Light in The Piazza for Farmers Alley Theatre in Kalamazoo, MI and in 2017 won a Desert Star Award for her multiple roles in Later Life for Coachella Valley Rep.
Ms. Bibb has been a featured soloist in gala tributes honoring Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, and Harold Prince, including “The Broadway Prince” at Carnegie Hall and seven annual “The Night of 1,000 Voices” concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall. She sang duets with tenor José Carreras at Radio City Music Hall and starred in “One Enchanted Evening” in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has sung with orchestras across the US, including the Santa Fe, St. Louis and Pacific Symphonies, the California Philharmonic and the New York Pops; and can be heard on the recordings “Unsung Irving Berlin” and “A Gala Concert for Hal Prince.” In Los Angeles Teri played Clara in the LA concert premiere of PASSION and was featured in Rodgers & Hart & Hammerstein for the Reprise Theatre Company. She has guest starred on TV, been a supporting player on film, and has sung on several film scores, including “Ice Age” and “Polar Express.” She was also a guest soloist on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” www.TeriBibb.com
Louis Lotorto is thrilled to return to Ensemble Theatre, having last appeared as Clarence and others in It’s A Wonderful Life, the Radio Play, as well as one of the Venticelli in Amadeus, Bradley in Buried Child, Dorian in Opus and Man #1 in The 39 Steps. Based in Los Angeles, Louis’ local credits include the Ahmanson Theatre in the Royal National Theatre touring production of An Enemy of the People with Sir Ian McKellen, six seasons with A Noise Within, earning an Ovation Award Nomination for his portrayal of Camille in A Flea in Her Ear, The Colony Theatre, garnering a “Best Actor” award for his portrayal of Tom in The Glass Menagerie, The 39 Steps at I.C.T. in Long Beach and his recent appearances as Millet in Fuddy Meers, and Fool in King Lear at Rubicon Theatre in Ventura. Treading the regional boards for over 30 years, credits include two years with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.C. (Helen Hayes Award nominee for Ariel in The Tempest), California Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, ACT(Seattle), San Jose Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory Theatre, and North Coast Repertory Theatre having just played Emperor Joseph II in Amadeus and returning in the Spring to play Arthur Vance in a West Coast Premiere called The Outsider. Film/TV credits include the feature “Fire in the Sky,” “Nowhere Man,” “Under Suspicion,” several M.O.W’s, as well as numerous commercials, and voice-overs. A proud member of Actors Equity Association since 1988, you can visit him at: www.louislotorto.com
Matthew Floyd Miller is delighted to return to ETC where he has appeared in It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Measure for Measure, Fallen Angels and The 39 Steps. His Broadway credits include Not About Nightingales (Circle in the Square, Dir. Trevor Nunn) and The Invention of Love (Lincoln Center Theatre). His Off-Broadway credits include Another Part of the Forest (Peccadillo Theatre Co.) and Letters from Cuba (Signature Theatre Co.). His regional theater credits include Oslo (L.A. premiere), The Goodbye Girl, I Love Lucy: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom, The Tug of War, and the national tour of Judgment at Nuremberg (L.A. Theatre Works), Macbeth (Chicago Shakespeare Theater – co-directed by Aaron Posner and Teller, of Penn & Teller), Stupid Fucking Bird (Theatre @ Boston Court, L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award), Antony & Cleopatra, and a critically acclaimed production of Private Lives (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival), Murder on the Orient Express (West Coast premiere), Noises Off (La Mirada), The Suppliant Women (Rogue Machine), Yes, Prime Minister (Geffen Playhouse), The Pillowman, The Underpants, Middletown and Tom Stoppard’s Rock’n Roll (ACT Theatre-Seattle), and Desire Under The Elms (San Jose Rep.- Dean Goodman Choice Award). Other theaters include The Falcon, Laguna Playhouse, The Rubicon, Arizona Theatre Co., Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Wilma Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Ford’s Theatre, Arena Stage, The Geva, Playmaker’s Rep, The Old Globe, Rep of St. Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse, Portland Stage Co., and Berkshire Theatre Festival. TV/Film includes: “Hand of God” (Amazon), “Colony” (USA), “Major Crimes” (TNT), “Criminal Minds’(CBS), “Law & Order”(NBC). MFA-NYU Graduate Acting Program.
Hannah Tamminen is thankful to be back with her fellow It’s a Wonderful Life castmates and to experience a little slice of theater during these difficult times. She recently completed a “podcast play” of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which should be released in the next few weeks. Theater credits include Richard II and The Merry Wives of Windsor with Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival, Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Linda Vista and The Mystery of Love & Sex both at the Mark Taper Forum, Ether Dome at La Jolla Playhouse, and Twelfth Night with Coeurage Theatre Company. TV credits include NCIS: LA (CBS) and Colony (USA). Film credits include Kink, The Starlight, and The Birch Grove. She holds a BA in Theatre & English from Skidmore College and an MFA in Acting from UC-San Diego/La Jolla Playhouse. Thank you to Jonathan and Brian for this opportunity. For more info, visit www.HannahTamminen.com. Stay safe, everyone.
PETER VAN NORDEN previously appeared at ETC in It’s A Wonderful Life and Crime and Punishment. Peter won the 2018 L.A. Ovation Award as Best Actor in a Drama for his performance in Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse for the Antaeus Theater Company, where he is a long-time member. He recently appeared in Red Ink for Playwright’s Arena, understudied Tom Hanks and performed the role of Falstaff in Henry IV, Parts I & II at Shakespeare Center LA , and played Ben Franklin in 1776 and R.F. Simpson in Singin’ In The Rain at the La Mirada Theater Company. At Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, Ca., he has played Wilhelm Furtwvangler in Ron Harwood’s Taking Sides, Neils Bohr in Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen, and, for three years, Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Peter was the first American actor to play the title role in Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III at Arizona Theater Company. In his native NYC: Little Johnny Jones (with Donny Osmond), Hamlet (with both Kevin Kline and Sam Waterston), Jungle Of Cities (with Al Pacino), Henry V (with Meryl Streep), and Saint Joan (with Lynn Redgrave). Included among his dozens of film and TV roles are leads opposite Oscar winner Jodie Foster in “The Accused,” as Steve Guttenberg’s inept partner in “Police Academy 2” and as Ralph Brentner in the Stephen King mini-series, “THE STAND.” www.petervannorden.com
Doug Clegg has been writing songs and has made his living performing in clubs and coffeehouses, in concerts and at festivals throughout New England, the northeast, and other parts of the US. and Canada for over 30 years. His lively performances of original songs and traditional tunes, his expert musicianship, and strong, pleasing voice have made him a well-known and sought-after artist on the folk music circuit.
Victory Review of Seattle, Washington, says “Clegg does everything but set himself on fire, and his writing is excellent — focused, understandable, and universal — a refreshing change…highly recommended.”
His first album, Fill My Thirst, came in 1987. The title song has been recorded by Bill Staines, and the record received strong reviews and sales. He was a 1989 finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival (Texas) songwriting competition, and won the 1994 Song of the Year from the New England Regional Country Music Association. He has won numerous other songwriting and fiddling awards, and has gone on to record seven more CD’s on his own Clegg Yolk label* including a collection of children’s songs and a Christmas project. His current undertaking is a new recording of fiddle tunes, many original and some traditional, in the Irish and Celtic style. Above the Din is the title, and its release date is November, 2019.
Boston’s WUMB Radio says Clegg is “intense and sincere. His singing, especially, comes from so deep down; emotionally, it’s very satisfying…he plays like lightning, sings like thunder.”
Clegg performs with guitars (six-string, steel, and twelve-string), piano, fiddle, accordion, mandolin, and flute. His recordings receive airplay on over fifty radio stations nationwide, as well as in Europe and Australia. He has shared the stage with Patty Larkin, Dave Van Ronk, Livingston Taylor, Jonathan Edwards, Beppe Gambetta and many more. Bill Staines says “Doug is a wonderful songwriter with a great sense of tradition.”
Now living in Santa Barbara, California, Clegg and his partner Kate Wallace founded Trinity Backstage Coffeehouse in 2003, said by many to be one of the best listening rooms on the West Coast. Douglas Clegg is one of the reasons that acoustic music thrives today, and the strong personal statement he makes is sure to connect with any listener and inspire any lover of hand-crafted music.
Jeff Gardner is an award-winning sound designer, foley artist and actor. Jeff has designed and performed throughout the country including the Geffen Playhouse, The Kirk Douglas Theatre, The Wallis Annenberg Center, A Noise Within, Antaeus Theatre Company, Boston Court Pasadena, Circle X Theatre, Echo Theater, Rogue Machine Theatre, Matrix Theatre, Skylight Theatre, IAMA Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre (DC), Arena Stage, The Kennedy Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival as well as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Jeff can be seen at L.A. Theatre Works where he regularly performs live sound effects and is the resident sound designer for the Westridge School in Pasadena. Online: jeffthomasgardner.net
Brian McDonald is an award-winning actor, director, and educator. He appeared in the National Tours of Miss Saigon and Forever Plaid. Regionally, he appeared on the stages of the Denver Center, Theatre Virginia, The Lyric Stage, La Miranda performing Arts Center, Ensemble Theatre Company, Pasadena Playhouse, Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center and the Ahmanson. As an actor, Brian was honored with the Ventura Mayors’ Award for Emerging Artist, LA Weekly’s Best Supporting Actor Award and an Independent Award for his most recent performance in the one-man-show, Buyer and Cellar.
Most recently, Brian directed ETC’s production of It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. He also directed for various regional theaters including 7 Angels Theatre Company, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and Rubicon Theatre Company. Other directing credits include the critically acclaimed world premiere of A Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Other Desert Cities, A Tuna Christmas, The Sunset Limited (with Joe Spano and Tucker Smallwood), Bus Stop (5 Ovation nominations including Best Play), MASTER HAROLD… and the boys (nominated for 3 Ovation awards Including Best Play) and the World Premiere musical, Hello! My Baby, written and conceived by Tony-nominated, Emmy, and Golden Globe winner, Cheri Steinkellner. He also conceived and directed the critically acclaimed holiday musical review, A Rubicon Family Christmas. Brian’s work as a director has earned him an Independent Award and StageScene LA Award for Best Director.
Jessie Vacchiano (OBS Designer/Video Editor): Previous virtual theatre credits include: A Song (Rubicon Theater) and Grateful: A Concert by Miriam Arichea (Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra). 3-d stage management theater credits include: Christmas Carol 2015, 2016, 2018 , Never Not Once, Plaid Tidings, Baby Dance Mixed, Return to the Forbidden Planet, (Rubicon Theatre Company) , Measure for Measure (Ensemble Theater Company), Pippin, Juana, Uncle Vanya (UCLA), Sweet Charity (Reprise 2.0), A Room with a View (LA Theater Works), Beth Malone So Far (Tour), Pal Joey (Arkansas Rep), Three Pianos (A.R.T, New York Theatre Workshop, Ontological), Heisenberg, I Am My Own Wife (Laguna Playhouse). Jessie is grateful for the opportunity to work on this Christmas classic once again and explore this new virtual format. Upcoming virtual theater credits include: Gin Game (Laguna Playhouse).