By Randall G. Mielke For Sun-Times Media December 5, 2013 11:04AM
“A director once said, ‘Having the lead in a show is more than having the most lines,” said Paul Thomas Kerr, who has the lead role of Scrooge in the Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s touring production of “A Christmas Carol.”
“You have to give 110 percent all the time. Even if you are in the same role, you are doing it with different actors. You have to learn their nuances and ways of acting.”
The Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s production of “A Christmas Carol” will be presented from Dec. 7-9 at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.
“A Christmas Carol” centers on Ebenezer Scrooge, an embittered, miserly, old businessman in 1840s London. One Christmas Eve he is visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley, his dead business partner.
Marley foretells that Scrooge will be visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future. Eventually Scrooge sheds the contempt he has for the Christmas season and realizes that the spirit of the holiday should be celebrated all year long.
The Nebraska Theatre Caravan has been touring Charles Jones’ adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” for 35 years. This is Kerr’s fourth year in the role of Scrooge.
“In the lead role, you realize how much the rest of the cast supports you,” said Kerr, who portrayed the Ghost of Christmas Present with the Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s “A Christmas Carol” in prior tours before being cast as Scrooge. “Doing Scrooge for the fourth year, I don’t feel as much weight as I did before.”
“You have to make the role honest and not slip into a caricature,” he said.
“At the Paramount, we are doing two shows a day,” Kerr said. “The show runs about two hours and 20 minutes with an intermission. So there is a physical stamina for the role when you are on stage for almost two hours. I now know when to conserve my energy and when to push.”
Although Kerr is not like the bitter, miserly Scrooge in real life, he does believe he is similar to the character that he portrays in one important way.
“I’m like him as everyone else is,” Kerr said. “No one goes through life without regrets. In the show he has time to change things. In life, you want to make things right again. I’m like that; as is everyone.”