When the Toledo Rep’s production of A Christmas Carol takes to the stage at the Valentine Theatre on November 30, it will mark the 16th year that veteran actor Paul Causman will portray Ebenezer Scrooge.
Well, actually the 17th year. But Causman himself doesn’t count the first one. It was back in 1987 when Causman–then the Artistic Director of the Toledo Rep–got a call from the actor playing Scrooge in that year’s production of the Charles Dickens’ classic.
“He called me on a Tuesday during the run of the show. We used to do these shows at the 10th Street Theatre,” Causman said. “He called from the hospital with pneumonia, he couldn’t come and do the role. So I learned it overnight and went on stage the next day.”
Coming home for the holidays
Ever since 2002, though, Causman has made the role of the iconic curmudgeon Scrooge his own. Taking over from Jim Rudes, who himself played the role for 13 years in Rep productions, Causman said he sees the chance to put his stamp on the famous part as a privilege.
“I really love it. Being a member of the cast—coming to rehearsals for A Christmas Carol is like coming home for the holidays. There’s a comfort in rediscovering that story every year, and seeing old friends, and making new friends.”
Theater has been in Causman’s blood for most of his life, though nowadays he earns his living as a marketing director. Born between Akron and Cleveland, Causman attended BGSU before going to work at various theaters as an artistic director, including the Toledo Rep beginning in 1986. All these years later, Causman notes how his life experiences couldn’t help but shape his approach to playing Scrooge each time he returned to the part.
“Every time you revisit a role, you bring new experiences with you. It’s like every time you read a classic novel, it gets better. Because you’re coming back to it as a product of your time.”
It’s a joy
This year’s production sees a new wrinkle on the production side as well, as a new director, Bill Quinlan, takes the reigns of the show. Among Quinlan’s new additions, Causman said, was the insertion of previously unused parts of Dickens’ classic work.
“This year, we’ve included a couple of scenes from the novella that were not in any of the previous productions I’ve been with. And they’re wonderful scenes. I’m really happy to get to work on them.”
At its core, though, the Rep’s production of Carol remains as familiar and comforting as ever—with an enduring message that Causman said he hopes will always inspire audiences. “I hope that they take away the message that we are our brother’s keeper. That we have a responsibility to take care of one another, and in fact, it’s not a responsibility, it’s a joy. And we gain from that.”
$27 + $2 handling, adult.
$17 + $2 handling, child.
8pm | Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1. 2:30pm | Sunday, December 2.