Q&A with ‘Scrooge in Rouge’ Director Jane Flieller
By Stephanie Harte
Photo Credit: Facebook.com/InTandemTheatre
If you are looking for something a little more “out of the box” to get you in the holiday spirit, look no further than In Tandem Theatre’s Scrooge in Rouge. The beloved comedic duo of Chris and Jane Flieller have decided to revive the raucous musical they staged in 2009, 2010 and 2011—and once again intend to have audiences rolling in the aisles.
In Scrooge in Rouge, by Ricky Graham and Jefferson Turner, 23 actors are ready to open a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol, when 20 of them suddenly come down with food poisoning.
Of course, the show must go on, which leaves three actors to stage the entire production by themselves. Chris will return in his original role of Charlie Schmaltz, accompanied by newcomers Elyse Edelman as male impersonator Vesta Virile and a cross-dressing Nathan Marinan as Lottie Obligato. Music Director Josh Robinson will play piano during the show and also take on the role as Alfred.
Footlights got to sit down with Jane, who is directing Scrooge in Rouge, to learn what it has been like bringing back this silly musical, as well as what audiences can expect.
Why does In Tandem prefer to produce quirky, alternative holiday shows as opposed to the traditional?
There’s been a niche for it for a long time, and there still is. Other alternative holiday shows come and go, but we are the mainstay. We are not going to start doing a traditional Christmas Carol when it’s being done really well at The Rep. So go see that over there, and then leave the kids at home and come see something different over here.
What have been some of the challenges of putting the show together?
There really haven’t been many challenges. It’s been an absolute delight. The new actors are terrific; they understand the genre and the quirky nature. They don’t have this need or desire to try and straighten it out.
Were you worried people would find Scrooge in Rouge too similar to your last show, All the Great Books (Abridged)?
At first, I was a little concerned when we chose both of these shows for the same season. They both only have three actors and a lot of fast-paced costume changes, but they are just so different in nature.
Scrooge in Rouge is a musical as oppose to a straight play and follows one concrete story of A Christmas Carol, while All the Great Books put many storylines together. They are also both set in different time periods: All the Great Books was contemporary while Scrooge in Rouge is set in turn-of-the-century Britain.
How the actors portray the gender bending roles is also extremely different. The guys in All the Great Books only had to act like women in short snippets to portray a character in a certain book. Here, the actors are truly embodying these different genders, which means they have to do more than talk in the stereotypical female high-pitched voice. It’s a whole different bag of acting tricks.
What are you looking forward to most about the run of this show?
It’s kind of indescribable, but the audiences for this show just really get into it. The whole set and atmosphere makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a time machine and gone to this brand new era. Since everyone already knows the story of Scrooge and his road to redemption, they can just sit back and enjoy the offbeat humor and physical antics.
Scrooge in Rouge runs December 1 – January 7 at the Tenth Street Theatre. For tickets visit intandemtheatre.org or call (414) 271-1371.