DALLAS -- Watching “A Christmas Carol” during the holiday season is as routine as decorating a tree.
We all know the story about the cranky Ebeneezer Scrooge who needs an attitude adjustment.
But this year, the Dallas Theater Center is putting a few twists on the classic tale originally penned by Charles Dickens in the 1800s.
For the first time in the company's history, a woman's playing the role of Scrooge.
"Never in a million years did I imagine that I would be asked to play Scrooge,” said Sally Vahle as she sat center stage inside the Wyle Theater.
But Vahle was asked. Caught off guard by the request during a lunch meeting, she had a single question for director Steven Walters, who first had the idea of casting a woman as Scrooge last year?
"Why? Why do you want to cast Scrooge as a woman?” she asked. “And his reply was, 'I don't think it's just a male story. And I think it would be very interesting to view the story through the eyes of a female character.’"
And with that, the veteran Dallas Theater Center member and professor of acting at the University of North Texas was in.
Vahle has appeared in 12 productions of “A Christmas Carol” over the years, but hasn’t acted in one for some time.
“This is my first time back doing the show in 11 years,” she said, adding that playing the role has left her examining her actions in real life. “It’s a universal enough story that anyone who sees it, not matter where they are in life, I do believe that there will be a takeaway for them, that will make their life richer and fuller.”
Vahle visibly lit up as she talked about the role, an adaptation that also includes a woman playing the character of Marley – Scrooge’s business partner who haunts him from the grave. Meanwhile, this year marks actress Liz Mikel’s 20th performance in the show who plays the Ghost of Christmas Present and Mrs. Fezziwig.
"It's a real joy to be in a position to be able to tell such an incredible story," Vahle said. "I'm going to miss it when it's done. It's been just a wonderful experience."
The nearly sold-out show is closing soon, and Vahle has just one thing to say about that: "Bah! Humbug!"
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