For Warren Schultz, just rehearsing in the Spa Little Theater in Saratoga Spa State Park is a wonderful experience.
"I've been down in New York doing off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway, and when you do that you're often rehearsing in basements and on rooftops," said Schultz, who is playing Scrooge in the Home Made Theater production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" opening Friday in the historic theater. "To be able to perform in this space is really exciting. To be able to rehearse in the Spa Little Theater every day is great."
A Colonie native who graduated from Vincentian Institute in Albany, Schultz works at the Skidmore College Library after returning to the Capital Region more than a year ago. He also recently spent a year in Africa working for the Peace Corps, and this is his first time onstage since returning to the area.
"My mother was in a play here long ago for Home Made, 'The Man Who Came to Dinner,' and she always spoke very highly of it," said Schultz. "I did this play down in New York but I played the Ghost of Christmas Present. I haven't played Scrooge before."
He does, however, consider himself something of an amateur historian on the subject of Scrooge and "A Christmas Carol."
"When I was young, probably too young to read, I can remember sitting on my grandfather's lap at his home," said Schultz. "He had a complete set of Dickens' work, and he would read us 'A Christmas Carol' and all of Dickens' plays."
As for his favorite portrayal of Scrooge on film or stage, Schultz has a quick answer: Albert Finney in the 1970 musical version of Dickens' story, "Scrooge."
"It's a great film that's kind of been forgotten," said Schultz. "Albert Finney is really, really good. For this show, I'm just going to try to bring my own inner Scrooge to the part. I have a bit of that cranky old man in me. I think maybe we all have a little, but I've worked on softening my edges."
While taking on the role of Scrooge is a huge challenge for actors, Schultz said he couldn't say no.
"It's a short play and if I had any reluctance, it was because it's hard to show that development in such a short amount of time," he said. "There's quite a bit of change in Scrooge, but there are clues from the author and it's a gradual change. But it's obviously well-crafted, and it all holds up. It's a great story.
"What I like most about the play is that it's a redemption story," Schultz continued. "People can change."
Dianne O'Neill Filer is directing the Home Made production, while Mark Todaro is Bob Cratchit and Emma Jordan is Tiny Tim. Also in the cast are Marilyn Detmer as the narrator, Charles Fitz-Gerald as Marley, Rick Wissler as Mr,. Fezziwig, Susan Dantz as Mrs. Fezziwig, Bryan Turner as Fred and Samantha Levy as Mrs. Cratchit.
'A Christmas Carol'
WHERE: Home Made Theater, the Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs
WHEN: Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, and 1 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 16
HOW MUCH: $18-$12
MORE INFO: 518-587-4427, www.homemadetheater.org