It’s not often that plays and musicals can become such a part of one’s life, but The Gospel According to Scrooge–or Scrooge as I refer to it–has definitely been that way for me. My dad started directing the performances at Kingwood Assembly of God in 1987, the year I was born. That year was one of the few years that my mom was not involved because she was pregnant with me. The performances were most likely modest at best and no where near as elaborate as they are today. Scrooge performances have been going on for almost every year since then and are a mainstay in my December planning.
Scrooge was responsible for my first childhood villain the ghost of Marley, Scrooge’s dead business partner that came to haunt him one cold Christmas eve in 19th century London. Early on, our church used a combination of sheets, victorian clothing, chains and heavy dosage of baby powder to pull of the ghost of Marley. I remember feeling terrified when I would see the character back stage. At night I would lay in my bed and feel that right when I closed my eyes, Marley would come and take me away through my bedroom window. In a cruel fate of irony for the past three years I have played the part of a young adult Marley who leads Scrooge into a life filled with greed and indifference.
My next fear as a child came from when my parents–married at the time. Played the role of young adult Scrooge and Belle (Scrooge’s love interest). There is a song in this musical where they break up because it becomes apparent to Belle that Scrooge’s love for money and success supersedes his love for family and more importantly, his love for God. Needless to say, to see my parents break up on stage 5 nights in a row was not very fun.
Each and every year the play was produced, I remember seeing less and less of my dad as he was heavily involved in the stage and set design from mid-November to the performances in early to mid December. I would often find him in the church sanctuary after school, painting or decorating a new part of the set. Every year the theatricals became bigger and greater. His final year of directing, the production included many pyrotechnics, a remarkable set (the kind that would catch the eye of even those on Broadway), a script that found the right balance of comedy and drama, a costume department that could dress a cast of 100+, and a dedicated crew that helped him annually retell the play to an audience of thousands.
This year is the plays twenty-first year of running (with my family being involved in some way) and the twentieth year of production by Kingwood. I know every song by heart and if given the chance, could probably perform the lines of all the core characters including Scrooge himself. I’ve been apart of an experience that has lead thousands to start a relationship with Christ and because of that, I am truly indebted PLUS I can do a heck of a British Cockney accent.
A quick plug. The final performance of 2010 will play out tomorrow (Sunday, Dec. 12) at 7pm at Kingwood Church. The performance will be packed out. Many that will be turned away (if you plan to go, get there an hour or two earlier to get a seat). Performances are free and 100% of the proceeds collected at the end go to help poverty sticken families in the local area.