This year, for the first time ever, someone besides Theatre in the Park founder and executive director Ira David Wood III will don the hawkish prosthetic nose and ratty gray wig and trowel on the age makeup to play Ebenezer Scrooge when the curtain goes up on 36th annual edition of Wood’s madcap musical version of A Christmas Carol, which will be performed on Dec. 3-5 at Durham Performing Arts Center, in the American Tobacco District in downtown Durham, NC, and on Dec. 8-15 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh, NC.
David Wood’s 26-year-old son and namesake, Ira David Wood IV, will tackle his father’s signature role as the malicious, misanthropic old miser whose miraculous Christmas Eve conversion, after a series of ghostly visitations, is one of the most beloved stories by 19th century English novelist Charles Dickens (1812-70). And proud papa David Wood, who is currently recovering from open-heart surgery, says that Ira Wood and his younger sister, Hollywood star Evan Rachel Wood, will co-direct the gala 2010 presentation of A Christmas Carol in Durham and Raleigh.
Other members of Theatre in the Park‘s creative team for what TIP insiders call “ACC 2010” include choreographer Brijet Whitney, musical director Diane Petteway, technical director Tim Ruffin, set designer Mark Pirolo, lighting designer Thomas Mauney, costume designer Rasool Jahan, properties master Bryan Sodemann, sound designer Jonathan Parke, and stage manager Christine Rapp.
According to Theatre in the Park:
“Triangle audiences who attend … A Christmas Carol each year know that no two years are the same. For many people, this spontaneity brings them back year after year. They are curious as to what new element Ira David Wood will throw in. But no one could expect the surprise for this year — a brand-new Scrooge.
“‘It is with great sadness that I will not be able to perform Scrooge this year,’ says Ira David Wood….
“‘Each year, I have a physical before the show,’ explains Wood. ‘This year my doctor found something that will prevent me from joining everyone on stage.’
“[On. Nov. 12th,] Mr. Wood [had] heart surgery to repair a valve with a recovery period of six to eight weeks. So, what do you do when the man who epitomizes Christmas in the Triangle needs help? Call on his son.
“Ira David Wood IV is a recognizable face to A Christmas Carol audiences. He has appeared as Tiny Tim, the Ghost of Christmas Future, Nephew Fred, and was set to play The Lamplighter [in ACC 2010].
“‘The plan was that I would take over the role of Scrooge once my father could no longer do it,’ says Ira [Wood]. ‘Hopefully, this is the only year I will have to do it for a very long time.’
“This isn’t the first time the son has followed in his father’s footsteps. Ira [Wood] recently played Old Tom in The Lost Colony, a role his father played 40 years ago.
“‘I hope he doesn’t get too comfortable in the role,’ says Wood, ‘because just like Arnold [Schwarzenegger] says, “I’ll Be Back!”‘”
Theatre in the Park also notes:
“Ira David Wood III’s A Christmas Carol was the first full-scale theater production selected to be performed in the new Durham Performing Arts Center [in December 2008], before the beginning of its SunTrust Broadway series in January 2009.
“Theatre in the Park‘s original musical comedy adaptation of A Christmas Carol … has been cited as ‘one of the most successful shows in North Carolina theatre history’ and voted one of ‘the top 20 events in the Southeast’ by the Southeast Tourism Society.
“A Christmas Carol has become a holiday tradition in the Southeast, and has also enjoyed critically acclaimed tours to England and France. Most recently in November of 2009, A Christmas Carol celebrated another international tour to Compiègne, France. Approximately 30,000 people attend the local production runs in Raleigh and Durham each year.”
SECOND OPINION: Dec. 4th and Nov. 5th Raleigh, NC News & Observer previews by Matt Ehlers: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/12/04/842080/smile-ira-thats-your-father-scowling.html and http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/11/05/782380/new-scrooge-familiar-name.html, respectively; Nov. 12th News 14 Carolina interview: http://charlotte.news14.com/content/headlines/632682/actor-ira-david-wood-iii-undergoes-heart-surgery; and Nov. 4th WRAL-TV story: http://www.wral.com/entertainment/story/8570154/.
Theatre in the Park presents A CHRISTMAS CAROL at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4 and 2 p.m. Dec. 5 at Durham Performing Arts Center, in the American Tobacco District, 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701; and 7 p.m. Dec. 8-10, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 11, 2 p.m. Dec. 12, and 7 p.m. Dec. 13-15 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
TICKETS: DPAC: $25-$75. RMA: $24-$79.
BOX OFFICE: Ticketmaster: 800/745-3000 or 919/834-4000, or DPAC: http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1003849. RMA: http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/1003849.
SHOW: DPAC: http://www.dpacnc.com/default.asp?dpac=19&objId=353. RMA: http://www.theatreinthepark.com/a_christmas_carol_special_event.html.
VENUES: DPAC: http://www.dpacnc.com/. RMA: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/page.php?mode=privateview&pageID=26.
DIRECTIONS/PARKING: DPAC: http://www.dpacnc.com/default.asp?dpac=26 (directions) and http://www.dpacnc.com/default.asp?dpac=27 (parking). RMA: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/page.php?mode=privateview&pageID=36 (directions) and http://www.progressenergycenter.com/page.php?mode=privateview&pageID=37 (parking).
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh (http://www.artsaccessinc.org/) will audio describe the 7 p.m. Dec. 9th performance in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium.
The Musical: http://web.me.com/idw3/A_CHRISTMAS_CAROL/OVERVIEW.html (official website).
Ira David Wood III: http://www.theatreinthepark.com/theatre_staff_board.html (Theatre in the Park), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ira_David_Wood_III (Wikipedia), and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0202796/ (Internet Movie Database).
Ira David Wood IV: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ira_David_Wood_IV (Wikipedia) and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0939505/ (Internet Movie Database).
Evan Rachel Wood: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evan_Rachel_Wood (Wikipedia) and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0939697/ (Internet Movie Database).
A Christmas Carol: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol (Wikipedia) and http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/46 (e-text courtesy Project Gutenberg).
Charles Dickens: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dickens (Wikipedia).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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