40th Anniversary of "A Christmas Carol" to be Hal Landon’s Farewell as Scrooge

Tania Thompson
 | Mar 21, 2019
Hal Landon Jr. and Presley Coogan

Hal Landon Jr. as Scrooge and Presley Coogan as Tiny Tim in SCR's 2018 production of A Christmas Carol.

A​bout Hal Landon Jr.

He is a South Coast Repertory Founding Artist who joined the theatre at its inception in 1964. He has appeared in the theatre’s productions of Gem of the Ocean, All the Way, Going to a Place where you Already Are, Rest, The Fantasticks, The Trip to Bountiful, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Nothing Sacred, Man from Nebraska, Born Yesterday, A View from the Bridge, Habeas Corpus, Antigone, The Drawer Boy (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award nomination), Major Barbara and Tartuffe. His other theatre credits include Arcadia, Our Town, Sidney Bechet Killed a Man, BAFO, Six Degrees of Separation, An Ideal Husband, A Mess of Plays by Chris Durang, Faith Healer, Green Icebergs, The Miser, Our Country’s Good and Waiting for Godot. He created the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in SCR’s A Christmas Carol. He appeared in Leander Stillwell (Mark Taper Forum), Henry V (The Old Globe) and as Polonius in Hamlet (Shakespeare Orange County). Among his television and film credits are “The Closer,” “My Name is Earl,” “CSI: NY,” “Mad Men,” The Artist, Trespass, Pacific Heights, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Pee Wee’s Big Holiday (Netflix) and All the Way (HBO). Born in 1941, he will be 78 years old when he takes his last bow as Scrooge.

Nobody “Bah-humbugs” quite like Hal Landon Jr. Or somersaults into a top hat and comes up ready to meet Christmas Day in style. The New York Times acknowledged him as one of the longest-running Ebenezer Scrooges in the country. But, on Dec. 24, 2019, after 40 years of playing Scrooge—a role he originated for South Coast Repertory’s popular adaptation of A Christmas Carol—Landon will hang up his top hat.

“For me, this 40-year run has so many stand-outs,” says Landon. “Playing such a terrific role and having an extended period of time to develop it has been immensely satisfying and made me a better actor, too. And to share the success of A Christmas Carol with the SCR family of talented actors and be able to create a true ensemble under director J.D. Keller’s inspired guidance. And, of course, the response from our audience—knowing how much the show means to them—is one of the big reasons I’ve done it for so long.”

Two of the 40 years stand out personally for him—1995, when his daughter, Caroline, auditioned and was cast as Girl About Town, and 2018, when his granddaughter, Presley, auditioned and was cast as Tiny Tim.

“The response from our audience—knowing how much the show means to them—is one of the big reasons I’ve done it for so long.”
-Hal Landon Jr.

At the end of the day, he has found Scrooge to be “a symbol of hope for all of humanity because he proves without a doubt that anybody can change.”

“Hal was our immediate choice to portray Scrooge when this production started,” says SCR Founding Artistic Director David Emmes. “Even as a younger actor, Hal was able to carry the weight of Scrooge’s path to redemption. This is a complicated and demanding role and, each season, Hal’s performance grows stronger as he continues to explore and deepen Scrooge. Hal’s dedication to this production, to his actor’s craft, to his fellow cast members and to our Orange County audiences over the span of four decades is truly exceptional.”

SCR’s A Christmas Carol, adapted by Jerry Patch, debuted at SCR in December 1980 and its warmth and distinctive qualities, such as Landon, have kept the production timeless.

“Our audiences may rest assured that A Christmas Carol, will remain part of the tradition and the fabric of South Coast Repertory,” says Artistic Director David Ivers. “Hal has brought a brilliant sense of humor and pathos to Scrooge over the decades and I admire both Hal’s performance and this production. While these are big shoes to fill, Dickens’ timeless classic—with its rich language—will be at the center of our programming.”

“In Orange County, Hal Landon Jr. is synonymous with A Christmas Carol,” notes Managing Director Paula Tomei. He has become not only a seasonal favorite but a local treasure. His performance as Scrooge is always a highlight of the holidays, bringing joy to many. We look forward to sending Hal off in style.”

A Christmas Carol tickets will go on sale to the general public on June 10, following an exclusive pre-purchase period for 2019-20 SCR subscribers that begins March 25, 2019.