It wouldn't be the holidays without a "A Christmas Carol."
Theatre Baton Rouge has been bringing Charles Dickens' story of Ebenezer Scrooge's awakening to the Christmas spirit to the stage for six years now, and, although it's always the same story, it always gets a slightly different telling.
"This is our seventh season for 'A Christmas Carol,' and all of our shows are different," says Jack Lampert, who is co-directing with Kurt Hauschild. "Things change from year to year, and when you have a different cast and the director makes changes, you have a completely different show."
The show opens on Dec. 8, and Hauschild estimates that about half of the 44-member cast is new, bringing new personalities that naturally change the show's dynamic.
One of those new faces is Johnny Santiago, who plays the pivotal role of the Ghost of Christmas Future.
So after Scrooge, again played by Bill Corcoran, is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, Santiago's character delivers the final blow to the miserly curmudgeon.
Although Santiago is new to Theatre Baton Rouge, having mostly worked in film in the Baton Rouge area, he is no stranger to the stage.
"To me, theater work is like sharpening the knife," Santiago says. "It's live, and you only have one shot to get it right. It's not like film work, where you have several takes."
But Santiago is facing other challenges in this role. His character doesn't say a word.
"He speaks through his movements," the actor says, "and that's even more difficult that actually speaking."
Add to that the ghost's animated costume and Santiago's challenge becomes bigger. The spirit is surreal, dressed in black with a menacingly tail. The upper body of the costume rests on Santiago's shoulders.
"My eyes will be at chest level of the costume," he says. "I'll be able to see, but every movement will be important. … Since I've been acting, I've always wanted to be in a stage production of 'A Christmas Carol.' This is going to be a bucket-list moment for me, and I can definitely cross it off now."
Coinciding with the production will be Theatre Baton Rouge's Gingerbread Workshop, immediately following the Dec. 10 matinee, where youngsters can decorate gingerbread cookies and sip on hot cocoa and eggnog while meeting cast members. Santa also will visit the workshop. Tickets are $15, and seating is limited.
A Christmas Carol
A Theatre Baton Rouge production of the Charles Dickens' classic.
WHEN: Dec. 8-10, Dec. 15-17. Performances at 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. An additional matinee will be on Dec. 16.
WHERE: Theatre Baton Rouge, 7155 Florida Blvd.
TICKETS/INFO: $25; $20 for students and groups of 10 or more. (225) 924-6496 or visit theatrebr.org.