Zach Theatre’s musical version of A Christmas Carol is now in its sixth season, but the idea for the show was kicking around in artistic director Dave Steakley’s brain for years before making it to the Topfer stage.
“This has been percolating for me for about fifteen years,” Steakley says. “[And] this version of A Christmas Carol has evolved every year.”
This holiday season, veteran actor Marc Pouhé has taken over the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, and -- as is always the case when a new lead actor is brought onboard -- the show has evolved again to fit its new Scrooge.
“He knows how to command moments, whether large or small,” Steakley says of Pouhé. “He’s a really funny person – everybody doesn’t know that – and he’s game for a little choreography or some singing. And I’d always wanted that to be a part of this, and this year gave us the opportunity.”
“You know, it’s all there in the writing,” Pouhé says of the role. “I really try to focus on Scrooge as a real person with real faults and things that have happened to him personally and decisions that he’s made that have built this wall around him. He wasn’t just born this greedy guy.”
For Pouhé, playing Scrooge is a chance to play someone who really transforms over the course of the play. “I joke that this is the first so-called ‘bad guy’ that I get to play that has a real redemption at the end.”
For Steakley, producing a holiday show is his own special holiday tradition. “I feel like the thing that I’ve spent the most time [on] in my life has been on Christmas.” Steakley says. “Because before this I had a show, Rockin’ Christmas Party, which ran for almost twenty years in Austin, and now this.”
For Pouhé, being part of a Christmas show is a newer experience, but one that he’s really enjoying. “It’s very fulfilling," he says. "Especially talking to people afterward. And little kids are asking me to sign things, and it’s just great. Everything that goes on in this version, with the music and the life and vibrancy… as dark as I make it, it’s still a very uplifting story.”