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    Posted January 9, 2013

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A Holiday Season of Milestones
at McCarter Theatre

This past holiday season, McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey, had many milestones to celebrate during the run of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The production ran from December 2nd - 28th, 2012.

The production has become a wonderful place for AEA members to spend November and December each year, with 10 out of 14 AEA members returning this season. With approximately 25+ performances each December, McCarter began the tradition in the 1990's of celebrating the 100th performance of company members; something easy to reach if you are a Young Ensemble Member from the community, but more challenging if you are a freelance professional actor! Reaching their 100th performances this season were AEA members Justin Blanchard (Young Marley/Old Marley/Mr. Stocks), Michele Tauber (Mrs. Fezziwig/Mrs. Stocks/Laundress) and Price Waldman (Bob Cratchit). James Ludwig (Fred/Undertaker/Schoolmaster) celebrated his 200th performance, joining Anne O'Sullivan (Mrs. Dilber and former Mrs. Fezziwig) with over 225 performances and Cheryl Mintz (Supervising Stage Manager) with over 475 performances to their credit.

Backstage, the Young Ensemble raised $251 for children's charities via "The Curse Can" (curse in rehearsal or backstage and it costs you a quarter; phone goes off it costs you a dollar) and the First Annual Christmas Eve Toy Car Road Rally, down the dressing room hallway ramp.

Onstage, the Company and McCarter Theatre, continued to support local social-service organizations by collecting monetary donations for the Rescue Mission of Trenton and Mercer Street Friends, with donations totaling over $37,000.

The company, lead by Equity Members Graeme Malcolm (Ebenezer Scrooge), James Ludwig (Nephew Fred and AEA Eastern Principal Councillor) and Cheryl Mintz (Supervising Stage Manager), followed their daily standing ovation to jump into a heartfelt curtain speech.

Graeme Malcolm, quoting Dickens' "At this festive season of the year, we who have been blessed with good fortune in our lives have the obligation to give a little bit back to those in need."

The Rescue Mission of Trenton serves the truly needy who have no place to turn for shelter, food and clothing by providing a safe, clean and warm refuge. The Mission provides services and counseling to encourage individuals to reach their greatest potential and creates an environment where one can live with dignity; build self esteem, experience love, responsibility and hope. (www.rescuemissionoftrenton.org)

Established in 1987, the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank secures and distributes food and provides related nutrition assistance to ensure that the most vulnerable of their citizens do not go hungry. The organization is the largest source of food for hunger relief charities in the Mercer County, New Jersey area. (www.mercerstreetfriends.org)

In 2009, 2010 and 2011, McCarter Theatre, the company of A Christmas Carol and the theater patrons have also helped Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (www.trentonsoupkitchen.org), Allies, Inc. (www.alliesnj.org), the Children's Home Society (www.chsofnj.org) and HomeFront (www.homefrontnj.org) with donations totaling over $111,400. Special mention goes to Christopher Parks and McCarter Theatre's Education Program for cultivating these Outreach programs.

As long-time cast member Annika Goldman (Christmas Past & Martha Cratchit with 100+ performances under her belt) of Princeton, age 13, said in the curtain speech, "Anything you care to give is meaningful. Thank you for your generosity. And from the bottom of our hearts, Happy Holidays!"

Reported by Cheryl Mintz


The 2012 Company of McCarter Theatre's A Christmas Carol celebrating the release of Performance of the Century: 100 Years of Actors' Equity Association and the Rise of Professional American Theater. Holding up copies of the book are: Cheryl Mintz (Supervising Stage Manager), Graeme Malcolm (Ebenezer Scrooge) and James Ludwig (Nephew Fred and AEA Eastern Principal Councillor). Standing is the AEA Company and sitting is the Young Ensemble and the EMC company members.
Photo by Matt Pilsner

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