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The Alley Theatre's A Christmas Carol Continues, Bringing Its Young Actors Into a Great Tradition

Thirteen-year-old Winch Eagleton has been in far more performances (more than 200) of A Christmas Carol at the Alley Theatre than he has ever seen.

This year, the Charles Dickens classic story of Ebeneezer Scrooge's eye- and soul-awakening journey with three ghosts of Christmas (plus Marley's ghost) is being told once again although at the Alley's temporary University of Houston home.

The Lanier middle school student is playing the Young Scrooge at 14 and Peter Cratchit, son of Scrooge's clerk Bob Cratchit in this, his last year with the production. (He'll age out just as his older brother Fritz did before him).

"Young Scrooge, he's like a happy person, a kind person, but he's unhappy with his father sending him away to school," Eagleton says describing his character. Young Scrooge's sister visits him and tells him he's coming home, but as it turns out it's not because his father wants to see him, but because he wants him to take a job.

"That's pretty messed up to do," Eagleton says.

He describes his other character, Peter, as someone who tries to remain happy despite the family's poor circumstances. Eagleton, who will also be appearing in the upcoming Alley production of All My Sons as Bert, the neighbor kid, says he wants to make a career of theater. So far he's avoided most pitfalls (he learned not to run too fast down the stairs as another young actor did before falling) and he doesn't suffer from stage fright.

His greatest sadness was getting his longer hair cut extremely short for his role in The Man Who Came to Dinner. He's learned a lot working with professional actors and director James Black, so even though it's harder work than he ever imagined, he says he loves it. And he wants audiences of all ages to see what they've been rehearsing. Performances of A Christmas Carol continue 7:30 p.m. December 16, 17, 18, 19 and 22; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. December 20 and 21; 2:30 p.m. December 23 and 24. Alley Theatre at the University of Houston, 4116 Elgin. For information visit alleytheatre.org or call 713-220-5700. $26 to $115.

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