From Jacob Marley to Mr. Fezziwig, Chris Bloch has played practically every role in “A Christmas Carol” over the years.
“I've done it a bunch, at any number of theaters all over the country and lots of different versions and have played almost all the roles, including some of the kids and women in story theaters, you know, where you're just kind of dressing up in any number of costumes … and everybody's stepping in and out of roles,” Bloch said.
“Boy, every once in a while I have to step back from it, but I do love the story. And I love coming back to it each and every time.”
For the first time, Bloch, 58, is fully taking the lead role of Ebenezer Scrooge, the tightfisted curmudgeon who is visited by three spirits and transformed into a joyful keeper of Christmas, in Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma's production of the Charles Dickens classic.
“It's fun to finally explore Scrooge. I guess that means I've arrived at a certain age of where I'm right for Scrooge,” he said with a laugh.
The nationally known actor has frequently played Bob Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol” at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., where he is based. Two years ago, Bloch also got to play the bah, humbugging lead for a short run, but his first role with Lyric is his first opportunity to delve into the part of Scrooge from the beginning of rehearsals. It also reunites him with Lyric's artistic director, Michael Baron, who previously directed Bloch in Ford's production of the yuletide favorite.
“We are ecstatic to have Chris join the cast,” Baron, who is directing Lyric's “A Christmas Carol,” said in an email. “This being the third year of the production, it is the perfect time to bring a fresh perspective into the character of Scrooge. Chris is a superb actor, and we are excited for Oklahoma audiences to see him on stage for the first time.”
Bloch, also known for his roles in “Les Miserables,” “1776” and TV's “The West Wing,” started doing the holiday classic in about 1997 in his hometown of Minneapolis. He played Jacob Marley at the Guthrie Theater there and later went on tour and worked at regional theaters, playing any number of parts in the seasonal story.
“I'm a little bit of a purist when it comes to the Dickens ‘Christmas Carol' because I think it's such a great story to begin with,” Bloch said.