‘Scrooge’ actor keeps on giving

Lee Iden will be back on stage at Salem Community Theater this weekend to reprise a role that has become a specialty for him.

The Minerva-area resident will again play Ebenezer Scrooge in SCT’s biennial production of “A Christmas Carol,” which opens Friday.

Iden has played the role at least a dozen times. He has every nuance and emotion down so precise that it’s hard to imagine anyone else filling his shoes.

The first time Iden portrayed the old miser was at Salem in 1983. Then his children were born and he put his acting avocation on hold.

He returned to the role at SCT in 1996 ... and again in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. Not to mention a 2006 production at Players Guild in Canton. It’s the only role he plays these days.

In Iden’s hands, the audience can sense the anguish of Scrooge to the point of sympathy. It’s what makes the production so effective.

What is it about Scrooge that holds such appeal for Iden? He explained in a phone chat this week.

“Ebenezer Scrooge is the epitome of what a lot of people are like,” said Iden. “They turn their back on family and friends and get caught up in making a living, and kind of lose what Christmas is all about. And Scrooge did it all on his own. It wasn’t any harsh blow that life dealt him as much as his own choices.”

Iden lives in East Rochester, near Minerva. He retired from his job with Minerva School District in 2007 and has since become pastor of Herrington Bethel United Methodist Church, which is in a rural area north of Carrollton.

Iden isn’t the only actor returning to SCT’s “Christmas Carol.”

Also reprising their roles are Tim Gotchling as Bob Cratchit, Bruce Marhefka as Dickens, Terry Krebs as Jacob Marley and Dick Fawcett as the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. The theater is at 490 E. State St., Salem. For reservations, call 330-332-9688.

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