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Life and Arts

‘A Christmas Carol’ rings in holiday season at Glendale Centre Theatre

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Brenda Dietlein, center, and her two sons, Jaymes, left, and Travis, right, all have roles in this year’s production of “A Christmas Carol” at Glendale Centre Theatre. The two younger Dietleins are the new fourth-generation owners of the local family-owned venue.
(Courtesy of Paul Reid)

This year’s production of “A Christmas Carol” at Glendale Centre Theatre, which opened Friday, is a family affair because the venue’s president and chief executive, Brenda Dietlein, and her two sons all have roles in it.

It’s also a homecoming for Dietlein in another way because the theater is again presenting the version of the classic tale that she wrote in 1999 and it was presented every year until 2012.

Her version of the play includes classic holiday songs such as “Joy to the World,” “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” and “Christmas is Coming.”

Dietlein said she hopes the musical will help audience members see the good in everyone and reach out to others, which can be important at this time in our culture.

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“I think the most key thing to the whole show is: why did I walk through life with my eyes turned down?” Dietlein said. “Right now, we’re all having our eyes turned down playing with our cellphones.”

She then quoted lines said by the musical’s main character during his emotional transformation after being visited by three ghosts.

"[Ebeneezer Scrooge] says, ‘Business. Mankind should have been my business. Charity, mercy, benevelance should have all been my business,” Dietlein said.

“I think, for me, the message of this story is, let’s all take the time to look people in the eye and say, ‘hi,’ and share a smile,” she added.

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In other news at the local venue, the longtime family-owned theater was recently passed down to the family’s fourth generation, Dietlein’s sons, Travis, 18, and his younger brother, Jaymes, 13.

Brenda Dietlein said the transfer of ownership was done through a receivership, though she maintains the top title at the theater.

In the current production, she portrays the Ghost of Christmas Past, her older son plays the Ghost of Christmas Future and her younger son takes on the role of the young version of Scrooge.

Portraying Scrooge for the first time at Glendale Centre Theatre is Guy Noland, who played the male lead role of Capt. Daniel Gregg in “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” earlier this season.

The Pasadena resident has played the curmudgeon role before at other theaters in the past and has directed productions of it.

He said he enjoyed reading the book of the same title, written by Charles Dickens.

“It’s absolutely one of the best books I’ve read,” he said.

Like their mother, the Dietlein brothers said they appreciate the message at the heart of “A Christmas Carol.”

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“Even if they’re bad, they can turn out to be good and change their ways,” Jaymes said.

“It’s Christmastime, not a time to be all stingy and mean,” Travis said. “It’s a time to be nice to people — focus less on yourself and more on others.”

For more information about performance times and tickets, visit glendalecentretheatre.com or call (818) 244-8481.

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