The kids of A Christmas Carol: back row, left to right: Alexis Rangell-Onwuegbuzia, MoniQue Rangell-Onwuegbuzia, Jamie Ostmann and Amanda Fassett; middle row: Shane Smith, Nick Trafton, JT Casey, Leyton Melching and Grady Farman; bottom row: Kemper Rodi, PJ Giglia, Natalie Bright, Nikolas Harris, Maggie Moland, Katelyn Park and Timory Taber.
Daniel Blinkoff and Jennifer Parsons as Mr. & Mrs. Cratchit.
Every holiday season, the cast of A Christmas Carol includes 16 young actors from SCR’s Theatre Conservatory, who double in eight roles and perform on alternate days, which allows them time to share the holidays at home with their families.
And, in a way, they add a second family to their own—the SCR family of veteran actors, most of whom have appeared in the show for years. The old timers become invigorated anew each season when they expand their 17-member cast to 33—a very big family indeed!
Within the Charles Dickens story (adapted by Jerry Patch and directed by John-David Keller) is the archetypal family, the Cratchits—Bob, his wife and their four kids, Peter, Martha, Belinda and Tiny Tim. They anchor the play, and it’s their welfare we care most about. Their problems may not be the same as ours, but we can identify with them, and we’re pulling for the Cratchits—hoping Scrooge will come through on their behalf.
Actors Jennifer Parsons and Daniel Blinkoff, who portray the parents, have been at the head of the Cratchit table for 12 and 13 years respectively.
According to Parsons, “I think the Cratchits are meant to represent the best in what it means to be a family. Once a year, Mrs. Cratchit scrimps enough to purchase a small bird and ingredients for the traditional pudding. I’m not certain the pudding—or the turkey—is particularly tasty, but everyone praises her effort, because love is at the heart of it. The creativity and playful nature of the children bring new life to the production. Frankly, I think its success rests for the most part on the kids.”
Blinkoff agrees, “The children who join us each season have a lot to do with telling the story of what Christmas should be about, and working with them is why I come back year after year. Keller and Assistant Director Hisa Takakuwa guide the children through the craft of acting with an abundance of love and patience. And, from the beginning, the entire cast embraces them and reaches out to help with the whirlwind of putting up this show in such a short time”
And what about the eight young actors who alternate in the Cratchit children’s roles? We asked for their reaction at being cast and their thoughts about the family, especially the character they each play. From their answers, it’s clear that the young Cratchits understand the lessons taught by A Christmas Carol.
Nick Trafton, Jamie Ostmann, Nikolas Harris and Timory Taber.
Natalie Bright, Maggie Moland, Amanda Fassett and JT Casey.
Nikolas Harris (TINY TIM) I was so excited to be cast as Tiny Tim, especially since three of my older siblings have been in A Christmas Carol. The Cratchit family is poor, but they still manage to have a good time. And Tiny Tim wants everyone to have fun and feel the spirit of Christmas, even though he’s very sick.
Maggie Moland (TINY TIM) I was speechless! I thought I might faint. The Cratchit family is happy and very optimistic, whatever comes their way. Tiny Tim is kindhearted, sweet and loving to everyone, no matter how mean they are to him or others. I love my character!
Natalie Bright (BELINDA) The day before I got cast was my birthday, and when I blew out my candles I wished I would get the part of Belinda. When the call came, I was so happy—my birthday wish had come true! My favorite part about Belinda is her optimistic nature, which has a wonderful effect on the people around her.
Timory Taber (BELINDA) I was nervous that I wasn't going to be good enough because this is my first SCR role. They said they might call us back in, but they didn't, so I thought it was over for me! I love the Cratchit family because they are sweet and the opposite of selfish. Belinda is spunky and fun to be around!
Amanda Fassett (MARTHA) A Christmas Carol is part of my family’s holiday tradition, and to have a role in the play is humbling. I’m truly grateful. The Cratchits represent love, unity, and humility. I love that in this family, a little goes a long way. Martha is an old soul, a resilient, preserving and optimistic young woman, who would do anything for her family.
Jamie Ostmann (MARTHA) I hoped that I would get cast so I could experience the joy of being in A Christmas Carol again. (Jamie played Belinda in 2008). I’ve grown up with the Cratchit family and I’m excited to return. Belinda’s joyful unending enthusiasm was perfect for nine-year-old me, but now I’m ready to play the more realistic, but still optimistic, Martha. There’s a warmth when she enters the room.
JT Casey (PETER) I was surprised and excited at the same time. I didn’t know what to say when I got cast—the second year in a row! (JT play Boy Ebenezer last season). The Cratchits are all so loving. They seem connected in a way and always support each other. It’s an honor to be one of the Cratchit family.
Nick Trafton (PETER) I was ecstatic. I thought I didn’t get the part because I had been in it last year and I was up against some great actors. I still can’t believe I get to do this awesome show again! What I like about Peter is he is following his humble dad’s footsteps and he always positive and hungry!
In the end, it’s the Cratchit family—and especially Tiny Tim—who help warm Scrooge’s cold, cold heart to the tune of a scrumptious turkey and presents for the kids, which makes for a very happy family indeed. But, according to Keller, “We’re not really complete until joined by our greatest family of all—the SCR audience.”
Learn more and buy tickets.