South Coast Repertory’s A Christmas Carol 40th Anniversary

South Coast Repertory Theatre's A Christmas Carol - 40th Anniversary Production 2019
South Coast Repertory Theatre's A Christmas Carol - 40th Anniversary Production 2019

What: After 40 years, Hal Landon Jr. takes his last bow as South Coast Repertory’s Scrooge in A Christmas Carol
Where: South Coast Repertory Theatre – 655 Town Center Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
When: November 30, 2019 – December 24, 2019
Director: John-David Keller, Scenic Design: Thomas Buderwitz
Lighting Design: Donna & Tom Ruzika
Tickets: Online, In Person at the Box Office
A standby line will begin one (1) hour prior to show time and will begin selling standby tickets five (5) minutes before the show.  
Parking: Parking structures are $12, Further information here

The must-see holiday show of 2019 is South Coast Repertory Theatre’s 40th anniversary production of A Christmas Carol. This classic and timeless tale originally by Charles Dickens and adapted by Jerry Patch has delighted audiences for years and generations at SCR’s Segerstrom stage. Masterfully directed by John-David Keller this production will warm your heart and bring you joy!

The scene set transitions seem to happen in an instant as you are transported from Scrooge’s office to the streets of Nineteenth-century London, past, present, future and back again. You will be amazed by the special magic surprises as the spirits appear on stage or how food and drink appear or disappear.

The redemptive and transformative journey of Scrooge is keenly felt and experienced through the visit of the ghosts and interaction with people. The heart of humanity filled with love, celebration, kindness, and friendship are magnified in each actor’s brilliant portrayal of characters that interact with the miser.

With Hal Landon Jr. you always feel so invested in his storytelling of who Scrooge is and different facets of his personality including humor. Hal has the striking presence of an artist who year after year finds ways to elevate the story with newness and depth.

Regular attendees delight in spotting the new adjustments to the show but most of all the familiar actors who have become part of their holiday family memories. Some familiar faces include Richard Doyle as The Spirit of Christmas Past, Art Koustik as Joe, Timothy Landfield as The Spirit of Christmas Present, Daniel Blinkoff as Bob Cratchit and Jennifer Parsons as Mrs. Cratchit to name a few.  The on-stage chemistry of the Cratchits is lead by Daniel Blinkoff as Bob Cratchit. He has one of the biggest hearts and is so generous with everyone especially the Cratchit kid actors on and off stage.

Scrooge is not the only one transformed by the end of the show from grumbling to gratitude because each audience member leaves with hope and full hearts.

Tickets are selling out quickly so hurry to the box office to purchase your tickets for this once in a lifetime opportunity to see veteran actor Hal Landon Jr. as Ebeneezer Scrooge perform for the last time.  Don’t miss this remarkable holiday treat! You will be so thankful that you didn’t!

A Christmas Carol Ghosts and Scrooge South Coast Repertory Theatre
James MacEwan, Hal Landon Jr., Timothy Landfield, Richard Doyle and Gregg Daniel in the 2013 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Jim Cox/SCR.
A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory with Scrooge and Tiny Tim
Hal Landon Jr. and Presley Coogan with the cast of South Coast Repertory's 201​8 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by ​Jordan Kubat/SCR.
South Coast Repertory A Christmas Carol Cratchit Family
Liam McHugh, Daniel Blinkoff, Nika Natalie Aydin, Jennifer Parsons, Jillian Tabone and Grace O'Brien in the 2013 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Jim Cox/SCR.
South Coast Repertory A Christmas Carol Scrooge and Ghost of Christmas Past
Hal Landon Jr. and Richard Doyle in the 2013 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Jim Cox/SCR.
South Coast Repertory A Christmas Carol Scrooge and Ghost of Christmas Present
Timothy Landfield and Hal Landon Jr. in the 2013 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Jim Cox/SCR.

Behind the Scenes of A Christmas Carol

At the helm of A Christmas Carol is director John-David Keller affectionately known as JD. His love for Christmas and his joyful attitude sets the tone for the entire cast and crew. Assisting him is Hisa Takakuwa, Actor, Director, and Mentor. She currently holds the post of ​SCR Conservatory and Educational Programs Director. Hisa trains and directs the youth ensemble of the production. She graciously agreed to share some of her experiences which includes 14 years as Sally (Fred’s Wife)/Toy Lady and assistant director since 2006.

How has A Christmas Carol  (ACC) impacted your life as an artist or the lens in which you see the world?
Hisa: I’m a huge Dickens fan, and ACC is a part of that. The humanity of his storytelling, the depth, and breadth of his characters really resonate with me. In terms of this production, I have been with it for more than half of my life now. So, it is my holidays! It is an anchor and touchstone in my life. I have grown as an artist within the frame of this show.

Hisa Takakuwa as Sally, Howard Shangraw as Fred and Hal Landon Jr. as Scrooge at Fred's Party Photo by Henry DiRocco.
Hisa Takakuwa as Sally, Howard Shangraw as Fred and Hal Landon Jr. as Scrooge at Fred's Party Photo by Henry DiRocco.
South Coast Repertory A Christmas Carol Scrooge Office Set
Scrooge's Office: Richard Doyle (Solicitor), Hal Landon, Jr. (Ebenezer Scrooge) and Karen Hensel (Solicitor) in SCR’s 2009 production of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Do you have a favorite moment or memory of Hal Landon Jr.?
Hisa: We had a medical emergency in the audience during a performance once many years ago. I was in the wings waiting for an entrance. Hal was alone on stage at that point in Scrooge’s office. I will always remember him alone on stage in an eerie blue-ish light. He was so very focused and still. In what could have been chaos he kept us all focused and in the world – both the company and the audience. It’s really moving when I think of it.

What is one message or thought that you hope the audience takes away this year?
Hisa: Remember what’s important. Human interaction. Family – of all types. That we should care and be responsible for each other. That generosity and compassion and empathy are crucial and valuable. That we find ourselves only in caring for and connecting to others. That everyone is capable of change. A really good lesson for the world right now; yes?

My Red and Black Look
What to Wear to the Theatre

Red and Black Look: Express Cropped Puff Sleeve Red Sweater, White House Black Market ribbed Cover-Up Sweater, Free People Red and Black Beaded Necklace
Red and Black Look: Express Cropped Puff Sleeve Red Sweater, White House Black Market ribbed Cover-Up Sweater, Free People Red and Black Beaded Necklace
Red and Black Blanket Scarf with White House Black Market Black Ribbed Cover-Up Sweater
Red and Black Blanket Scarf with White House Black Market Black Ribbed Cover-Up Sweater
Free People Rosaline Layer Rosary Black and Red Beaded Necklace, Express Cropped Puffed Sleeve Red Sweater
Free People Rosaline Layer Rosary Black and Red Beaded Necklace, Express Cropped Puffed Sleeve Red Sweater
Red and Black Holiday Look: Express Red Cropped Puff Sleeve Sweater and Forever 21 Faux Suede Leggings
Red and Black Holiday Look: Express Red Cropped Puff Sleeve Sweater and Forever 21 Faux Suede Leggings

Top: Express Cropped Puff Sleeve Sweater in Dark Red. “Romantic puff sleeves and a flirty cropped cut combine in this eye-catching top. Ribbed sheen fabric completes this winning look.”

Pants: Forever 21 Faux Suede Leggings in Black. I love these leggings for how soft and comfortable they are. The look and feel of these leggings are luxurious at an affordable price. They can be paired with a nice top for a complete look.

Cover-Up Sweater: White House Black Market ribbed cover-up sweater in black. I love this cozy sweater with long sleeves and an open front that is perfect for slipping over a work to night look. The sweater is just the right amount of thickness and weight to keep you warm and stylish in our California winters. The sweater also comes in a grey and dark rouge.

Blanket Wrap Scarf: My blanket scarf is from the gift holiday section of Sprouts market by Quagga accessories! You can find a similar black and red blanket scarf from Kohl’s.

Necklace: Free People Rosaline Layer Rosary Necklace in the Black/Ruby color combination. This is a beautiful layered necklace with a clasp closure and adjustable fit. The beads are both black and red complementing the red in my top and black in my pants.

Earrings: Francesca’s Aileen Crystal Teardrop Earrings. Add some sparkle to your outfit for the holidays without them stealing the show.

Boots: Michael Michael Kors Frenchie Platform Bootie in Black.  This platform bootie blends with the faux suede leggings giving you a seamless look.

Lip Color: Bobbi Brown Limited Edition Luxed Up Lipstick Duo in “Red My Lips” with Parisian Red and Red Velvet. This mini size duo is perfect to put into a clutch for a night out.

Dining Options

Seabirds Kitchen South Coast Plaza
Seabirds Kitchen South Coast Plaza

Seabirds Kitchen

One of my new favorite places to dine at before seeing a show or shopping at South Coast Plaza (West) is Seabirds Kitchen. Seabirds is a plant based vegan restaurant. The menu that you get in person is clearly labeled for items that are gluten free.  Items are plant-based, organic and seasonal.
The South Coast Plaza (Bear St.) location just opened this month and you can order online or dine inside or on the patio.

Some of my Seabirds Kitchen favorites include the Locals Bowl, Chinese shiitake Salad, and the Burnt Brussels Sprouts that are gluten-free.

South Coast Plaza (West off Bear Street) Location: 3333 Bear St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, Level 1 a few stores away from the Apple Store

The LAB in Costa Mesa Location:  2930 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Below are some other dining options in the surrounding area to go before or after seeing a show at South Coast Repertory. For a list of SCR’s dining partners and other suggestions please click here.

Red and Black Holiday Look with Faux Suede Leggings, Red Crop Puff Sleeve Top
Hamamori Restaurant, Red and Black Holiday Look with Faux Suede Leggings, Red Crop Puff Sleeve Top

For coffee and casual eating: Philz Coffee, Corner Bakery, Panera Bread, Nekter
Full List of dining options at South Coast Plaza, The LAB

Irish Dickens Christmas at Muldoon's

Irish Dickens Christmas
Muldoon’s Irish pub decorates as though it were the days of the great Charles Dickens’ Story A Christmas Carol and serves special things like Wassail, their Signature Mulled Wine, Bog Nog, and Homemade Egg Nog!

This includes Charles Dickens-era costumes, festive foods, roasted chestnuts, crisp duckling, and holiday decorations galore! Open for lunch, dinner and special parties.

A Christmas Carol: Holiday Feast
w/ Gluten Free and Dairy Free Options

Set up the scene with perhaps stools surrounding a table near a fireplace. Serve hissing hot potatoes with gravy, carrots, apple sauce, and of course Christmas pudding with holly for decoration on top. Below are three recipes to make to share at your table or gathering.

Christmas Pudding, Gluten Free and Dairy Free
Christmas Pudding, Gluten Free and Dairy Free

Christmas Pudding: Gluten Free and Dairy Free
One of the most beloved scenes in South Coast Repertory’s Production of A Christmas Carol is when papa Cratchit (Daniel Blinkoff) teaches the children how to “receive the pudding” that Mrs. Cratchit (Jennifer Parsons) has worked day and night to make. “It’s a ‘set’ dessert that’s bready and fruity, and often served by the slice.”
Special Thanks to Go Dairy Free for this recipe.
Prep time: 30 mins // Cook time: 5 hours // Total time: 5 hours 30 mins

Ingredients:
  • 2½ cups (340 g /12 oz) raisins
  • 2 cups (255 g / 9 oz) gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups (255 g / 9 oz) gluten-free shredded vegetarian suet (can sub palm shortening, but results may vary)
  • 1¼ cups (170 g / 6 oz) sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 1¼ cups (170 g / 6 oz) currants
  • 1 cup (170 g / 6 oz) candied peel, chopped
  • ½ cup (70 g / 2.5 oz) blanched almonds, chopped
  • ⅓ cup (70 g / 2.5 oz) glace cherries, chopped
  • 2 heaped teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 heaped teaspoons pie spice
  • ½ a nutmeg, grated
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 large free-range eggs.
  • ⅔ cup (140 ml / 5 fl oz) Armagnac or brandy
  • 3 tablespoons rum
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 orange
  • Grated rind of ½ a lemon
Instructions:
  1. Put the raisins, breadcrumbs, suet, sultanas, currants, peel, almonds, cherries, cinnamon, pie spice, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves in a large bowl and mix together.
  2. In a medium bowl, Whisk the eggs until fluffy and thickened.
  3. Stir the eggs into the dry ingredients. Add the Armagnac or brandy, rum, zest and orange juice, and lemon zest and mx together. The mixture should just drop off the spoon.
  4. Divide the batter between two 1-quart pudding basins and even out.
  5. Cover the basins with a layer of oiled foil, double folded in the centre, and secure with string.
  6. Stand the basin on an inverted saucer or a piece of foil folded 4 times, in a very large saucepan.
  7. Fill three quarters of the way up with water, cover with a lid or foil and steam for 6½ hours for a large pudding or 4½ hours for a smaller one.
  8. Top up with boiling water whenever necessary. When cooked, lift the basin out of the pan and allow the pudding cool.
Simply Gluten Free, Stuffing w/ Sage and Onion, Gluten Free and Dairy Free
Simply Gluten Free, Stuffing w/ Sage and Onion, Gluten Free and Dairy Free

Stuffing w/ Sage and Onion, Gluten Free and Dairy Free

I love when Bob Cratchit tries to guess what is cooked with the goose. Sage and onion can be used to make a variety of dishes with your choice of meat and without.
Below is a classic stuffing recipe that is gluten-free and dairy-free.
Recipe courtesy of Simply Gluten Free
Prep Time: 15 mins // Cook Time: 50 mins // Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter or gluten-free , dairy-free margarine or oil
  • 2 cups celery , diced
  • 1 cup onion , diced
  • 1 cup sliced leeks
  • 5 cups dry gluten-free, dairy-free bread cubes (purchased or homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage , minced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley , minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free, dairy-free chicken, turkey or vegetable broth

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large pan, heat butter (or margarine or oil). Add celery, onion and leeks and sauté over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, mix remaining ingredients, except broth.
  4. Add cooled vegetables. Gently mix in broth.
  5. Loosely spoon the stuffing into an oiled 3-quart baking dish. Do not pack.
  6. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncovered, bake for 20 minutes.
Non Alcoholic Ginger Wassail
Sweet C's Designs Non Alcoholic Ginger Wassail

Non-Alcoholic Ginger Wassail
Serve your own wassail at your gathering and make special toasts as you clink your glasses.
“Non-Alcoholic Wassail with ginger and fresh fruit is an easy, delicious mulled cider that is perfect served in a dutch oven or crockpot for a party!”
Recipe courtesy of Sweet C’s Designs
Prep Time: 5 mins // Cook Time: 1 hour // Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 qt cherry apple cider
  • 1 qt concord grape juice
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp mulling spices
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger OR 8oz ginger beer
  • 1 apple, sliced into rounds
  • 1 pear, sliced into rounds
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds

Instructions:

  1. Add ingredients to dutch oven or crock pot.
  2. Simmer on low at least one hour.
  3. Remove orange from liquid after one hour to avoid bitter flavor from developing.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Choose glassware that is festive to add some more holiday cheer like these foiled goblets set of four from Anthropologie. You can also go with a colored glass like this fleur-de-lys juice glass in the green motif to pour a different punch in.

Christmas Carol Experiences and Gifts

A Christmas Carol is best watched live on stage especially at South Coast Repertory Theatre. However, if you can’t make the drive this holiday season to see the South Coast Repertory’s A Christmas Carol then below are some options you might enjoy.

Movies:

Television: For a much darker retelling without the tidings and joy usually associated with A Christmas Carol FX will air Steven Knight’s haunting adaptation. Guy Pearce, Andy Serkis, Joe Alwyn star. “A Christmas Carol is set to premiere on December 19 at 7:30 pm ET/PT and will replay on December 22 at 7:30pm ET/PT with an encore immediately following. It will also air on December 24 at 8 pm ET/PT and December 25 at 4 pm ET/PT — just in time to celebrate the holidays”

Theatre:

The Tam' O Shanter

Live Dinner Theater: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Tam O’Shanter: 2980 Los Feliz Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90039
Reservations Required. Click here for tickets.

Gather your loved ones for a delicious three-course feast (communal seating event), Lawry’s warm hospitality and Dickens’ classic tale of holiday spirit.
Matinee December 7th at 12:30 pm
$89 per adult, (plus tax & gratuity) | $59 per child 12 & under (plus tax & gratuity)

Dickens Holiday Celebration at the International Printing Museum

Dickens Holiday Celebration at the International Printing Museum
December 14th | 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Address: 315 W. Torrance Blvd. Carson, CA 90745 United States
Cost: $25/person
Tickets: Purchase here for an 11 am, 1 pm or 3 pm time slot
You may also purchase your tickets by calling the Printing Museum at (310) 515-7166.

Experience: Your transportation back in time will cause the Museum’s galleries to be transformed into Fezziwig’s Warehouse with special presentations, tours, carolers, music, and the chance to print your own Victorian cards on antique presses from the 1850s.
See: Charles Dickens himself retelling A Christmas Carol at the Museum Heritage Theater
Eat: festive lunch of an English Banger, gingerbread, and punch included with your ticket
Dress: Feel free to dress in Victorian-inspired clothing
Take-Home: genuine tin-type souvenir picture made with wet-plate photography and antique camera equipment

Books and Gifts:

The Red Scarf

The whimsical red scarf is important to the transformation of Scrooge in SCR’s production of A Christmas Carol. The scarf that Scrooge wears at the end of the show represents a change of heart from selfishness and greed to kindness and generosity. Choose a red scarf to wear this Christmas season or to gift it to friends or family. Below are some scarf options that are red.

A Christmas Carol, South Coast Repertory 2014
A Christmas Carol, South Coast Repertory 2014, © South Coast Repertory Theatre

A special thank you to JD Keller, Hisa Takakuwa and Danny Blinkoff for all of my fond memories at SCR.  Also, Hal Landon Jr. who has inspired me to keep things in the moment and discover the new in every performance with every audience.  The heart of the show will always remain the people onstage and off who come back year after year. Enjoy this holiday season!

Courtney Elise Signature

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