For many, December is the most wonderful time of the year. But for five resident actors at the Greenville Little Theatre, it’s also the busiest.
They have roles in all three of the productions the theater will stage in December – the main stage production of “Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Goose”; the young audience show, “Frosty”; and the school touring show, “Charlotte’s Web.”
“It’s such a great challenge to know this many roles,” said Jamie Ann Walters, who plays Mrs. Hudson the landlord in “Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Goose,” four different characters in “Frosty,” and the lead character in “Charlotte’s Web.”
Fortunately for Walters, each show has a different feel and each character has their own unique voice. “None of my characters would say what the others say, so that helps,” says Walters, who also serves as GLT’s marketing assistant during the day.
And Walters carries the scripts for each show for times when she’s going into rehearsal for one show but still has another show on her mind. “Often actors don’t think they need the script once they’ve memorized their lines, but that’s the greatest tool you have from the playwright to get into character and into the show,” she notes.
Resident actors Carter Allen, Latreshia Lilly, Cory Granner, and Craig Smith also have roles in each of the three productions. All told, each will spend at least 130 hours rehearsing and performing. Performances of “Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Goose” and “Frosty” will overlap for a week, with “Frosty” playing during the day and “Sherlock” playing that evening.
“Being a GLT resident actor is a demanding job,” says Sam McCalla, GLT’s associate artistic director, who hires resident actors for each season, “especially during the holiday season.” He adds, “The actors we end up with are craving those busy times of year, when they get to work on multiple productions, juggle loads of responsibility, and perform all day long.”
And it takes a lot of planning to put the rehearsal schedule together. Rehearsals for “Frosty” can’t be at night because “Sherlock Holmes” rehearses then, and most mornings GLT on Tour is performing “Charlotte’s Web” at a school. The theater already has booked 90 performances of “Charlotte’s Web,” which runs through May.
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose
It’s Christmas Eve in 1892 in London, and Holmes and Watson set out to unravel the mystery of the Shropshire Slasher and the missing Blue Delilah diamond. They have three primary clues: a trail of dead geese, a man in a red scarf, and an old, beat-up black hat. But in addition to finding the culprit, Holmes discovers something else. “‘Sherlock Holmes’ is all about the true meaning of Christmas,” Walters said. “It’s remembering to be thankful for the people around you, something we often forget in our hectic world.”
WHEN Dec. 7-9 & 13-16 at 8 p.m.; Dec. 9 at 2 p.m.; and Dec. 10 & 17 at 3 p.m.
Written by Catherine Bush, “Frosty” tells the story of a young orphan boy named Billy, who finds an old hat, which he places on a snowman’s head. The snowman comes to life. The two go on an adventure in New York City as Frosty tries to help the boy find his real family in time for Christmas.
WHEN Dec. 12-16 at 10:30 a.m.; Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.; and Dec. 16 at 2 p.m.
WHERE Greenville Little Theatre, 444 College St.