After 19 years in the Valley, A Christmas Carol will be staged for the last time at Herberger Theatre Center. Two cast members from Ahwatukee Foothills say they were happy to be a part of it.
"It's bittersweet," said resident Alyson Maloney, 22, who plays the part of Martha Cratchit in this year's play. "I'll miss it, but I'm really excited to see what they bring in. They've been doing it for 19 years so that's a long time."
Maloney said many cast members return year after year to perform in A Christmas Carol, just like many families across the Valley who return to watch and kick off their holiday season.
Maloney herself has been in the play for four years, three of which were consecutive before she took a year off for college. She said her family has returned every year, whether or not she's in it.
Rafe Arlotti, 17, who plays Peter Cratchit this year, said after performing this play for two years his favorite part is the cast.
"I just think they're great," he said.
For Producing Artistic Director Matthew Wiener, who has been involved with the show for 16 years, it was time to say goodbye.
"We've had a long run," he said. "We're probably the longest-running Christmas show in the Valley. When we started we were the only Christmas show, but we've seen more pop up and have seen ticket prices drop. And, really, it was just time to let Tiny Tim walk on his own."
Throughout the years, Dickens' classic story has taught some powerful lessons to those in the audience and even those in the cast. Arlotti and Wiener said it's the sweet melody of "Silent Night" that has touched their hearts.
"I love one number we do," Wiener said, "a version of ‘Silent Night,' when at the end the audience doesn't want to applaud because they don't want to break the spell. It's that beautiful."
The message matters most to Maloney.
"I like Mr. Cratchit's speech that he gives to his children about Christmas," she said. "It's that we've been given these great gifts and need to share them. That doesn't necessarily mean money but just what you've been blessed with to give back to those that may need it. It's kind of inspiring."
Though the show is ending after this year there is still plenty of time to catch it, beginning this Saturday, Dec. 4, until Christmas Eve. Tickets range from $28 to $70. For more information on ticket prices, visit www.herbergertheater.org/christmascarol.
As for next year, there are no plans yet, but Alotti and Maloney say whatever it is, they're eager to try out.
Allison Hurtado is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a junior at Arizona State University.