Final Two Performances of A CHRISTMAS CAROL with John McDonald as Scrooge

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on December 18, 2015

Sarah Bernhardt gave five farewell American tours. I’m not trying to compare myself to the likes of the late great Bernhardt … but, for me, one farewell tour of Scrooge has been enough. I am about “bah humbugged” out. I don’t believe that sentiment, so it’s difficult trying to live it for even a few hours each day.

I am giving two final performances as Scrooge — or, rather, the theatre is getting two more shows out of me — in the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, tonight at 8pm and Saturday at 2pm.

I hope, in the near future, some other talented young actor takes on the part, paints up his face and adds a fresh perspective to this old chestnut, having to make up his young face with a trowel to create those years of yet unearned lines, compensating with the energy and stamina of youth for the wisdom and maturity of old age.

The late great David Burns, most famous as Carol Channing’s sparring partner in Hello, Dolly and as the boy’s father in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, dropped dead onstage in the middle of 70 Girls 70. He died clutching his chest after making a joke which got a big laugh. The audience thought the clutching was part of the joke, an actor’s bit of business — what a way to go.

Leonard Warren, the great Metropolitan Opera baritone, died onstage during a performance of La Forza del Destino, following a great aria and loud round of applause.

Nelson Eddy of the Jeanette MacDonald (no relation) and Eddy MGM musical team of the 1930s, passed of a heart attack onstage while giving a performance in Las Vegas.

My prayer has always been to die onstage or in my sleep or from getting hit by a bus while on my bike in Key West. Last summer, as I was biking, I felt a difference in the roll of my back tire. My tire, after four years of wear and tear, had dry rot and I was biking on its tube. When I turned to see this, I also saw an enormous bus directly behind me. I pulled off the road between two parked cars, just as the tube exploded. I suppose it wasn’t my time … yet.

My not getting hit by a bus, but coming close, last summer allows me to make my final “God bless us everyones” and my last “bah humbugs.” If I wake up, I know God has a better end for me than I could ever imagine.

While the Roxy Regional Theatre will be dark for the next three weeks, taking a much-needed sabbatical after so hectic a fall and early winter, we will return in the new year with our 14th annual presentation of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues in theotherspace, playing January 15 through January 30, and Little Red Riding Hood & Friends, playing January 23, January 30 and February 6 at 2pm.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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