Meet Charles Cratchit in A Christmas Carol

Name? My name is Lucas Oktay.

Character? I play Charles Cratchit and Master Fezziwig.

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Lucas Oktay (left) in A Christmas Carol. Photo by Chris Bennion.

A little background of yourself: I’m 13 years old and I go to Hamilton Middle School. I play the electric guitar, and I also play as much ultimate frisbee as I can! I have performed at Seattle Children’s Theatre, Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, and with Showtunes Theatre Company.

How many years have you been in ACT’s A Christmas Carol? This is my first year performing in ACT’s A Christmas Carol, and I am loving every minute of it!

What has been your favorite part? My favorite part has been working with so many fun, talented actors. It also brings me joy to be part of a show that reminds people what Christmas is about!

How do you get ready for a show? Sometimes before a show, some of the cast gets together to witness a rap battle between one of the kids and Connor Toms (Mr. Cratchit). This is always hilarious and gets us in a good mood. Especially because Connor can’t really rap: “Hamilton, yeeeeeeeeeeeeeah,” is his best line. Ooooooooh, diss!

What do you always have to have in your dressing room? I always have my portable keyboard, my headphones, and my laptop so I can work on writing songs when we have a break between shows.

If you could be any character in A Christmas Carol, who would it be? I would love to be Spirit 2/The Ghost of Christmas Present because he is an over-the-top, extravagantly cheerful character. Plus, he rises from under the trap door on a fancy throne! I’d also love to play The Bread Lady because her lines get the biggest laughs!lucas-oktay

For those who have never seen ACT’s A Christmas Carol, what is the best moment of the show (whether it’s onstage or backstage)? Onstage, the best moment by far is The Bread Lady scene. Backstage, nothing beats the dance parties with Rob Burgess (Mr. Fezziwig) and the rest of the cast. Rob is just as fun backstage as he is onstage!

See Lucas in A Christmas Carol, on now-Dec 28. Tickets available here.

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An Artistic Director’s First Season – John Langs

When Artistic Director John Langs sat down to plan his inaugural season at ACT Theatre, politics weighed heavily on his mind.

“We found ourselves in the very crosshairs of the national conversation,” John says. “From Assassins to Daisy to The Royale to Dangerous Liaisons—the art that we chose to make in 2016 fearlessly and sometimes uncomfortably leaned in to the issues of the world at large. We certainly ignited strong feelings and deeper conversations.”

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From Sean Devine’s Daisy, photo by Dawn Schaefer.

He looks forward to taking a different approach in 2017—one framed by hope.

“Whatever your views are, it is my assertion that we could all use a bit of hopefulness as we push past 2016,” he says. “I looked for stories of inspiration and redemption—about deepening community through joy and togetherness, both on Mainstage and in ACTLab.”

The 2017 Season opens with Nina Raine’s Tribes, a story of acceptance as an eccentric family come to terms with the independence of their favorite son. The Legend of Georgia McBride explores how an Elvis impersonator finds his true calling as a drag queen. King of the Yees is an epic joy ride into the heart of Chinatown, as a father and daughter seek to find one another. Alex & Aris is a world premiere about Aristotle shaping the moral compass of the man who would become Alexander the Great. The season ends with one of the seminal plays in the American theatrical canon, and a timely parable, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

John finds that the plays featured in the 2017 Season reflect his ongoing dialogue with the community, and the desire to connect more deeply to the art. He has enjoyed meeting patrons and city dwellers in ACT’s many lobbies, at post-play discussions, and on the streets surrounding ACT’s downtown home. The annual holiday classic A Christmas Carol, which reaches nearly 20,000 people during the festive season, continues to meet another need in the community: to press pause on the world outside and find a heartwarming escape within.

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Langs at a cast and creative team meet and greet.

“It’s not lost on me the remarkable demand audiences have for this year’s A Christmas Carol,” he says. “It points toward the need for a communion around generosity and friendship.”

In the same spirit, ACT is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of ACTLab, a program that continues to serve as an incubator and catalyst for new works with emerging and seasoned artists. This year, the Lab will provide an artistic home for local groups such as The Seagull Project, Pratidhwani, eSe Teatro, and Theatre22.

“After 10 years, it’s safe to say that ACTLab has had an enormous impact on the artistic and cultural life of the city,” he says.

He hopes ACTLab will continue to help artists transform their work and reach new audiences in one of five stellar ACT venues. At the same time, 2017 poses the opportunity to present even more daring work.

“We are just getting started,” he says.

For more details on ACT’s 2017 Season and ACTLab’s 10th Anniversary, visit acttheatre.org.

Meet Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol

Name? Christine Marie Brown

Character? Mrs. Cratchit / Narrator / Fezziwig Party Guest

A little background on yourself: I’m originally from the east coast. After receiving my M.F.A. from the Old Globe Theatre, I lived in NYC for many years and had the great good fortune to play Juliet, Rosalind, Viola, Hotspur, Regan and many others in Shakespeare’s canon. Other favorite roles include Elmire in Tartuffe, Masha in The Three Sisters, and Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins.christine-brown

How many years have you been in ACT’s A Christmas Carol? First time this year!

What has been your favorite part? I’m a total Christmas freak and I have always loved this story. So to get to be in it for the first time is a dream come true. The cast! This is such a great group of people. Plus I get to come to work with my husband every day. That was really three answers, wasn’t it?

How do you get ready for a show? Breathe, do some articulation warm ups, go over my text. I also do some quiet breathing backstage, alone before certain scenes.

What do you always have to have in your dressing room? A cloth to put down underneath my supplies, a mug to throw pencils, mascara, brow set, and brushes in, a small mirror to put on eyeliner with, a robe and snacks!

If you could be any character in A Christmas Carol, who would it be? Scrooge, of course. It’s an amazing role.

For those who have never seen ACT’s A Christmas Carol, what is the best moment of the show (whether it’s onstage or backstage)? Connor Toms (Bob Cratchit), Sydney Andrews (Belle), and I all wait together for our entrance into the Fezziwig Party. We do a dance “warm up” together to get ready for that scene. It’s by turns all of the following: naughty, ridiculous, ugly, non-sensical, and hilarious. And it gets me ready to play, ready to move, and reminds me how much fun it is that we get to tell this story… Onstage, there are so many: Marley’s entrance, the Fezziwig scene, Tiny Tim going to hug Scrooge at the end.

See Christine in A Christmas Carol, on now-Dec 28. Tickets available here.

Meet Marley in A Christmas Carol

 Name? G. Valmont Thomas

Character? The Ghost of Jacob Marley / Old Joe

A little background on yourself: I began my career in Seattle theatre in 1981 playing Truffaldino in Servant of Two Masters at CTC (later the Hugo House on Capitol Hill), was a company member of The Bathhouse Theatre from 1984-1991, and worked at The Empty Space Theatre and Seattle Group Theatre throughout the 1980s. I have an M.F.A. in Directing for the Theatre from Penn State, and was a Company member at Oregon Shakespeare Festival from 1998-2012.act-a-christmas-carol-172
How many years have you been in ACT’s A Christmas Carol? In 2013 I played Spirit 2, and in 2015 and 2016, I played Marley/ Old Joe.

What do you look forward to each year? I look forward to feeling the Christmas season grow within our theatre and in downtown Seattle.

How do you get ready for a show? I listen to music while applying my makeup. Then I do vocal exercises before Marley’s scene.

What do you always have to have in your dressing room? Music and Baby Wipes…oh, and certain toiletries …

If you could be any character of A Christmas Carol, who would it be? I really enjoy the two characters I get to play this year, but someday I want to play Ebenezer Scrooge!

See G. Val in A Christmas Carol, on now-Dec 28. Tickets available here.

 

Meet Belinda Cratchit in A Christmas Carol

Name? My name is Corinne Fischer!

Character? I play Belinda Cratchit and Lil’ Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol.

A little background on yourself: I am 13 years old and go to Eckstein Middle School. I have performed at The 5th Avenue Theatre and Seattle Children’s Theatre and lucky enough to be here this Christmas!

How many years have you been in ACT’s A Christmas Carol? This is my first year performing in ACT’s A Christmas Carol, and I am so happy to be a part of it this season!

What has been your favorite part? I love the cast and crew! Everyone contributes so much to this production, and I am so lucky to be a part of it!corinne-fischer-headshot

How do you get ready for a show? The night before a show I make sure to get LOTS of sleep. And before the sad Cratchits scene, to get into character, I imagine my little brothers being sick.

What do you always have to have in your dressing room? I have to have my phone and makeup with me! We almost always listen and jam out to Hamilton or other musicals!

If you could be any character in A Christmas Carol, who would it be? I would LOVE to play Belle or Spirit 1! Spirit 1 has the most beautiful dress, and she has such an amazing, beautiful role. Belle is such a great character and has so many emotions she gets to portray!

For those who have never seen ACT’s A Christmas Carol, what is the best moment of the show (whether it’s onstage or backstage)? Well, I would say that when Marley rises out of the ground, that is SO cool! I also love the bread lady encounter. And when Spirit 2 comes out, it is amazing. But what beats all, is when Rob (Mr. Fezziwig) brings out his speaker and everyone has a dance party. That is so much fun!

See Corinne in A Christmas Carol, on now-Dec 28. Tickets available here.

Meet Turkey Boy in A Christmas Carol

Name?  Brandon Oke

Character? Turkey Boy, Singing Thief, Undertaker’s Assistant

A little background of yourself: This is my 12th musical. I was Randy in A Christmas Story at The 5th Avenue Theatre two years ago and was nominated for a Gregory Award. I was also in Billy Elliot with Village Theatre, A Christmas Carol with Seattle Musical Theater (Tiny Tim), and James & the Giant Peach (James) and Seussical (Jojo) with Village Kidstage. I’ve also done several TV and internet commercials! img_2948

How many years have you been in ACT’s A Christmas Carol? This is my second year. I played almost the same roles in 2015.

What do you look forward to each year? I love making such great friends, and I love being in something that lots of people look forward to seeing every year. I also have a lot of fun in the Turkey Boy scene when I surprise the audience by entering from behind them, and then have all my lines with Scrooge while standing at the top of the aisle.

How do you get ready for a show? I get into a really good mood before each show by laughing and talking with my friends in the cast. We get each other excited about it!

What do you always have to have in your dressing room? I’m the kid that has to have all my Christmas lights and decorations up around my area!

If you could be any character of A Christmas Carol, who would it be? I would love to play the Ghost of Christmas Present someday. He is so hilarious!

For those who have never seen ACT’s A Christmas Carol, what is the best moment of the show (whether it’s onstage or backstage)? The happy Scrooge scenes at the end are the best!

See Brandon in A Christmas Carol, on now-Dec 28. Tickets available here.

Meet Elizabeth Cratchit in A Christmas Carol

Name? Anna Ostrem

Character: Elizabeth Cratchit, Fan Ebenezer, and Want

How many years have you been in ACT’s A Christmas Carol? I have been in A Christmas Carol three times. Each year being incredible and exhilarating and joyful.

What do you look forward to each year? I look forward to Secret Santa and green room dance parties.

How do you get prepared for a show? I brush thoroughly through my long hair and drink a ton of water.anna-ostrem-headshot2-feb-2014

What do you always have to do before a show? I always have to have my panda pillow pet named Tilly in my dressing room to sit on and give me good luck.

If you could be any character in A Christmas Carol, who would you want to be? If I could be anyone in the show I would love to be Spirit 1. She is just so graceful and delightful, plus the costume is beautiful.

What is your favorite moment (backstage or onstage)? The best moment in A Christmas Carol by far is the bread lady and sausage man encounter.

See Anna in A Christmas Carol, on now-Dec 28. Tickets available here.