It’s Christmas time in Ahwatukee Foothills, and with that means a multitude of holiday-related activities for families to do around the community.
One of the more popular traditions is the annual performance of A Christmas Carol at the Ahwatukee Children’s Theater. Starting this Friday, Dec. 11, families can come check out the musical and see why it has developed into a community classic.
Actors at the Ahwatukee Children’s Theater are passionate about performing.
Anyone who has seen a production at the local theater can deduce that much for him or herself. But when it comes to their annual performance of A Christmas Carol, the actors are regular professionals.
It’s no surprise that the Charles Dickens’ holiday classic comes so naturally to the children and adults at the theater; they are in their eighth production of the play.
In fact, the actors at ACT are so well rehearsed in A Christmas Carol that they didn’t even begin practicing until two weeks ago.
“Around 75 percent of the kids have been in our Christmas Carol before, so they’re all really familiar with it,” Michael Rubino, otherwise known as Scrooge, said.
The cast of 60 consists mostly of children and a few adults taking on the roles of the Ghosts and, of course, Scrooge himself.
Rubino has played Scrooge in all eight performances and loves working with the kids, he said. Although originally not an actor, ACT has come to be a second home; his wife is Michele Rubino, founder and executive director of the ACT and he is the technical director.
“We’re a big family here, and that’s what we try to promote,” Rubino said. “We try and make this a safe place where parents can leave their kids and know that they won’t get into trouble.”
In his eight years of playing Scrooge, Rubino said that he still feels the same holiday spirit during every performance and knows the families who come to see the play feel it, too. “I’ve had people come up to me and say that their Christmas season doesn’t start until they hear me say the word ‘Christmas’ at the end (when Scrooge is good),” he said. “The play is something that the community expects now.”
For Brant Ziemba, 15, this will be his first time performing in ACT’s A Christmas Carol. Ziemba is playing the role of Fred and Master Scrooge and said he likes the show because it’s one of the few the ACT puts on that consists of all age groups.
“This is a place to come to have fun with all your friends,” he said.
Jordan Rydman, 12, a dancing caroler, agrees. “Everyone that goes here is like a family… doing Christmas Carol gets me into the Christmas spirit,” she said.
A Christmas Carol will be playing Friday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 12 at 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 19 at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Ahwatukee Children’s Theater, located at 5051 E. Elliot Road. Call (480) 705-9319 for more information.
Leslie D’Ambrosio is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.