By Maya Pottiger
In 1981, Richard Wade produced “A Christmas Carol,” specially written for The Colonial Players of Annapolis. This year, his daughter Sarah is directing it for the first time.
“It’s super surreal,” said Sarah, a Severna Park native who has been in the production 11 times since she was 10 years old. “There’s a little bit of that feeling of responsibility. Also, it’s extra personal because it’s my dad."
However, Richard has completely stayed away from this year’s production.
“She will call me and talk to me about it. I have not offered one single suggestion,” Richard said. “She tells me about something, and I say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting.’ I want her to feel completely free to do this. I know Sarah’s going to do a good job with it, but I purposefully didn’t want her to think I was watching over her or any of that.”
Something new Sarah is bringing to the stage is her take on the costumes.
“We’re looking to make a different statement so it doesn’t look like the ‘Christmas Carol’ you Google and everything looks the same,” Sarah said. “I wanted to give all of the ghosts really different looks. The Ghost of Christmas Future isn’t going to look like a Dementor from ‘Harry Potter.’”
“A Christmas Carol” will be Sarah’s first time directing a show on the main stage. Fortunately, it’s a show she knows inside and out, but she is learning new things about the show from the directing process.
“I’m looking at it from the perspective of every character; I’m not looking at it just coming onto the stage and doing stuff,” Sarah said. “You really do learn about its strengths. It’s not that there are any weaknesses; it’s the interesting ebb and flow of the show.”
The show is 75 minutes long without any stops. The idea, Richard said, is that once the dream commences, it never stops.
“There’s nobody I would trust more with the show because she knows exactly what it was meant to be when we wrote it,” Richard said.
Her father isn’t Sarah’s only personal connection to the show. This year, Sarah’s childhood best friend, Lindsay Zetter, is choreographing the production.
“I think it’s really wonderful for these two young women who grew up together loving the theater,” Richard said. “God knows we sat through performances of ‘Cats’ in our living room.”
Sarah’s husband, Eric Hufford, is playing the Ghost of Christmas Present this year. The two met when they acted in a production of “A Christmas Carol” six years ago.
During the theater’s sidewalk ticket sale on November 17, the line wrapped from the theater down the three blocks to Galway Bay Irish Restaurant and Pub.
“I’m excited to really see it come together. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when I sit in the director’s seat,” Sarah said. “It’s going to be probably the weirdest experience to sit here and watch it go and be like, ‘It’s out of my control. I can’t do anything.’”
“A Christmas Carol” will be The Colonial Players of Annapolis through December 16. All performances are sold out.