Backstage at ELAC’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

By Jing Ye

The theater building at East Los Angeles College came alive with the festive spirit as the cast and crew of “A Christmas Carol” gathered for a rehearsal on Nov. 17. 

Professor Vanessa Mizzone Pellegrini, is one of the directors for the unique adaptation of the timeless classic.

“This is a classical tale with a new spin,” Pellegrini said.

The production boasts a diverse cast of 17 student actors, some of whom are stepping onto the stage for the first time. Not having enough actors led to double and even triple casting for some roles.

Rehearsals started in October, with the ensemble meeting three-to-four times a week. Each session lasted an hour and 40 minutes. 

Pellegrini emphasized its fast-paced style, and the timeless story of the miserly Scrooge, the stingy and horrible old man. 

Tony Jimenez, an East Los Angeles native, takes on the challenging role of Scrooge. As the lead actor,  Jimenez talked about the demanding nature of the part. 

“I can’t afford to slack off. I have to memorize all the lines by heart,” Jimenez said.

He expressed his excitement and determination in tackling his first lead role.

Jimenez, who initially aspired to be a writer for video games and later considered a career as a vegan chef, discovered his true passion through ELAC’s theater programs. 

“It was just lots of fun,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez talked about his newfound obsession with musicals. 

Despite the challenges of making a living in the acting industry, Jimenez works at the golf club to help support him while he pursues his career in acting.

The anticipation for the show extends beyond the performances to the artistically designed costumes and skillful makeup. Jimenez shared details about the transformative process, including having his hair spray-painted to achieve a pale and gaunt appearance.

Reflecting on the journey, Jimenez began the first reading of the play in June and the subsequent months of rigorous rehearsals. 

“I found myself obsessed with musicals,” Jimenez said.

“A Christmas Carol,” is set to play on Dec. 1, 2, 8 and 9. 

Tickets can be purchased in advance on or at the door.  

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