There are a few guaranteed traditions that Glendale will have during the holiday season — tree-lighting ceremonies, retail sales, colorful lights and, for the 52nd year, a production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at the Glendale Centre Theatre.
The play is the classic tale of cold-hearted, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and the unexpected visits from three ghosts, one reminding him of his past, another helping him see the present and, finally, one who shows him his possible future.
The production’s director, Tim Dietlein, also the theater’s executive producer, has been a part of the Glendale production since he was 6 years old, when he played Tiny Tim. With the exception of Scrooge, he has since gone on to play every male role in the musical.
Although Dietlein said a Dickens traditionalist will enjoy the show based on its closeness with the source material, he is aware that, after 52 years, audience members who were children when they first saw the production are now bringing their children or grandchildren and may want to see some small changes.
“As a director, I always try something different to bring a new and fresh tradition for families in the area, sometimes a new song or new scene,” Dietlein said.
Of the 31 actors in the production, 19 are returning from last year, according to Dietlein. This will be the fourth year in a row that actor Tom Killam is playing Scrooge, replacing the previous actor, the late Mario Di Gregorio, who played the classic character for 24 years.
Beyond the play itself, the lobby of the Glendale Centre Theatre will be fully decked out as a Dickensian village, and there will be Christmas carolers singing holiday songs.
"It’s very family-friendly show. If you come for the first time, it’s highly likely that our production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ will become a family tradition. It’s a great holiday treat," Dietlein said.
“A Christmas Carol” will continue through Christmas Eve, with mostly weekend performances. Glendale Centre Theatre is located 324 N. Orange St.