Who We Are
Artistic Director, Show Creator, Co-adaptor, Producer, Actress, Snow maker
I remember stepping off the plane in London in cold rainy February, not knowing a soul, A Carol in my bag and a list of emails that the Dickens Fellowship in New York had given me. Our show had blossomed from an idea in my old notebook, an inspiration from my having been in A Carol during my MFA days at the National Theatre Conservatory...
It was my first time with his text. There were lines around the theatre, families flocking to get study guides for Carol. My hoop skirt fell off during the Fezziwig Dance in front of a sold out audience of 500. Mr. Fezziwig swirled it above his head and we all laughed 'til we cried. I was hooked. Dickens. The heart.
From my notebook, to my living room in Harlem, a sold out reading in NYC, a show to London. How can I explain the teas, the tours, the research shared, the meals, the talks, the laughter, the doors opened to me and our little Carol? The ripple effect, the heart, humanity and generosity. While creating this show, there have been so many good souls supporting our efforts. Hundreds of volunteers and interns from all over the world. I have no words to describe the amazing experiences I have had in grander moments and small all because of the Dickensian spirit.
Where do you find him? In the research? The letters? The streets of London? The pages of his prolific work? I have found him there, certainly. But, where I have found him most is in the "hearts and homes of people," just as he wished. From Harlem in my busted up jeans, using my savings, grabbing old chairs from the streets and books from the thrift store...to London and (I hope) one day, all over the globe. Indeed, the "story weaver at his loom" weaving us together with his work echoing out over time and space.
Welcome! We hope you feel this is your Carol too... and thank you for being part of our journey. We made every bit of it with all the heart, soul and craft we have. We see the Carol as a bridge for humanity, and our dream is to build a global show.... for Everyone... everywhere. What if this little book could change the world?
Artistic Director, Show Creator, Designer, Producer, Snow maker
What effect may we have as one individual on this shared journey to the grave? Fred’s annoying optimism aside, it’s an awfully (as in full of awe) real question that Dickens poses for all of us, everyone. And, in Dickens’ mind the answer is limitless. The acknowledgment of that fact and such a responsibility that we all share is staggering. We roam around this world, randomly and purposefully bumping into each other and leaving an inevitable impression. Of course, we as human beings are gonna screw that up at times. So, yes, I’m going to need another opportunity to make it right. We all have at some point gotten that chance. Another chance. Second, third, whatever, we learn at different paces.
They are invaluable, these do-overs. Take note.
This classic, in the absolute truest sense of the word, wormed its way significantly into my life over 20 years ago. It won’t let loose. Of any of us really. We all have Carol stories of our own. An opportunity to share it again, in a simple and sophisticated manner, with some fantastic “fellow-travellers”, who could resist?
Narrator, Our beloved Mr. Scrooge
Alongside the transformation of his Scrooge, Austin Pendleton now sports a personal conversion to Dickens and the profundity of the world within his writing spurred on my last year’s A Christmas Carol reading.
“For most people in the world, the world is not fair and then there are different ways you deal with that in terms of your relationships with other human beings. But, it’s a fact that Dickens doesn’t shy away from. There’s no self-pity in Dickens. The whole piece is profound, when you start to live inside it.”
A writer, director, performer and teacher with a long and storied career in film, television and theatre, Austin is a paradigm of the American artist.
His talent is only secondary to his spirit of generosity.
Arthur joined Everyone’s Carol last year at St. Mark’s as Marley and will be back with us again this year. Arthur was a founding ensemble member with the Negro Ensemble Company and was worked on and off Broadway throughout his storied career of more than 50 years.
He received an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in 1997, a Lucille Lortel award for Outstanding Featured Actor in 2006, and in 2015 the Actors’ Equity Association Paul Robeson Citation Award.
Arthur's Marley is all things we expect Marley to be, haunting and exacting with a laser focus on his mission with Scrooge. In addition, just under the surface, there’s a big huge heart, a wide soul, a vast humanity, and vulnerability trapped inside the chains of his own making.
The Juilliard-trained artist began his unorthodox path to fame quite by accident 50 years ago while practicing on a Long Island RR platform during a delay in service. Graseck has enthralled tens of thousands of straphangers and concert-goers, many of them now a faithful following, with a repertoire ranging from Bach and Paganini to Gershwin and Cole Porter. His audience is equally diverse, from CEOs to rappers.
"The spontaneity of the streets gives one a sense of relaxation. You’re playing more from your heart in a certain way. The street has allowed me to feel happy playing."
Jim communicates to his audiences through both music and words. His ease with his violin and his audiences has made the familiar sound new and the transcendent sound immediate. His sheer virtuosity and riveting style are well represented with virtuoso pieces, popular standards, show music and rock classics. Jim joined us with Everyone’s Carol in 2012 for our shows in Brooklyn at the Irondale. He is the spark that ignites the text, the sharp piercing beauty in the stillness.
Co-adapter, Word Sculptor
I became a lover Dickens when I performed in the first American production of Nicholas Nickleby for 18 months, culminating in a production contract run at the Blackstone Theatre in Chicago. For the last 10 years I have continuously and exclusively read his novels. This adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” was originally conceived as an intimate, private reading that celebrated the author’s voice as much as the story he tells. That is still my commitment. As the text has distilled over the last 4 years, the goal has been to keep the action flowing with the author’s voice leading us. We must hear his humor and heart to experience his story. We are committed to the authentic presentation of Mr. Dickens’ story. Rarely in an actor's life does a project come along that offers a challenge to the actor, solace for the soul, relevance to his life and the opportunity to share it....all at once.
Social Media & Development
Hadeesa currently lives and works in Birmingham, England as a Senior Planning Coordinator for the NHS Blood and Transplant. She met Laurie and discovered Everyone's Carol whilst on a writing retreat in France, where she learned of the amazing story behind this inspirational project. Immediately, she knew she had found something special, a unique project filled with tremendous potential to change lives, to change the world. In the story, and in Dickens' own example, she found hope, inclusion, and the simple message that your past does not define you, and nor does it limit you. Returning to England she knew that she wanted to be a part of this project in any way she can, and so her journey with the show continues. Currently she is looking at funding opportunities and helping to manage social media.
Hadeesa graduated from Aston University with a degree in International Relations & Sociology. She tries to balance her time between her work with Everyone's Carol, and various projects focusing on mental health, religion, culture, and identity. She is also working on her first novel that looks at the nature-nurture debate.
Vocal Coach/Movement, "the actor whisperer"
Theresa currently teaches voice and speech at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and in private practice, works with actors, broadcasters, news anchors, and corporate clients. She has taught introductory voice to undergraduates at the New York Conservatory of Dramatic Art, to high school students at the School for Film and Television Summer Program, and South of Broadway Summer Conservatory.
As a performer, Theresa appeared on Broadway in the Tony® award-winning productions of The Heidi Chronicles and I’m Not Rappaport, and in productions Off-Broadway, Lincoln Center, and on PBS American Playhouse as well as many regional theatre productions across the country. A proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA and VASTA, Theresa holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and is a certified Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework®.
Kurt is the Co-Founder/ Director of Broadway Kids Auditions, 'developing confident and extraordinary kids inside and outside of the audition room'. www.broadwaykidsauditions.com
A native of Denver, Colorado, Kurt has served as the associate director/choreographer for A Chorus Line at the North Shore Music Theatre.
His performing credits include: Broadway- A Chorus Line (revival); tours- 42nd Street (revival) and White Christmas; Off-Broadway- A Naughty Knight, Roadside, All Is Love. Other credits include: NYC (Radio City Christmas Spectacular) and Regional (Arena Stage, Goodspeed Opera, Ford’s Theatre, Houston TUTS, Geva Theatre, Cape Playhouse, Pittsburgh CLO, and three seasons with the Sacramento Music Circus).