Interview: Robert Tully And Jordon Ross Weinhold of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

Back by popular demand!

By: Nov. 15, 2023
Interview: Robert Tully And Jordon Ross Weinhold of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

Interview: Robert Tully And Jordon Ross Weinhold of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre Back by popular demand!! The Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre is once again telling the family favorite, A Christmas Carol. A fabulous meal and a classic holiday show, this will certainly sell out fast. 

Broadway World was fortunate to get a few minutes of time during busy rehearsals to learn more about this show from two of its main characters, Robert Tully (Scrooge) and Jordon Ross Weinhold (Marley).

BWW: Can you tell our readers a little about your background in theater?

Tully:  Typical story. I started in my church choir as a kid, then High school theatricals. I studied voice in college and got involved in local community theater in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. I moved to Los Angeles at 27 and got involved in the theater scene there. Throw in four years as a singer actor for Norwegian cruise lines, one year with Ringling Bros & Barnum and Bailey circus, and various other performing opportunities around the world and you have my sorta eclectic performing background.

Weinhold: It feels like I’ve always been in theater, ever since I was little. I studied musical theater at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, and once I graduated, I never stopped working. I am very grateful to be an actor, and have opportunities working with the most creative people. For me, theater is a sanctuary, and I don’t know what I’d do or where I’d be without it in my life.

BWW: Audiences are very familiar with this story and the characters. Have you attempted to be true to this character/role or have you made it your own in some way?

Tully:  I think this version (the Alan Menken musical) is beautiful in its own way. The music is marvelous and I think it gives interesting takes on these familiar characters. I think that staying true to the script and interacting with the other performers (who are amazing, btw) is the best service I can give this production. 

Weinhold: I have tried to do both. These are iconic roles, but this is also a unique musical adaptation with lush Alan Menken music. Our director Ford Haeuser has given me the freedom to explore Jacob Marley, letting me go to a dark, weird place with the character. It’s meant to be scary. It’s meant to be disturbing. The addition of music and singing allows me to bring an obscure physicality and movement to the role that I might not be able to do in another version of the story.

BWW: Is this a role you have played before? Anything about this role that excites or challenges you?

Tully: This is the first time I've performed the role of Scrooge. The amazing arc of this character is the big challenge. To realistically portray the changes he goes through is the most exciting aspect of this production. 

Weinhold: I played Ebenezer Scrooge when I was a senior in high school. I feel like I’ve been playing these characters my whole life; it’s one of the most quotable stories. Playing Jacob Marley excites me because it gives me the opportunity to be scary in a family-friendly Christmas musical. Every show is a challenge. This one demands so much of you as an actor. I’m playing a ghost with chains, and spooky makeup. It’s very heightened and stylized. You have to go all in, and not hold back.

BWW: This show, with such great character development, relies on actors' ability to embody the complexity of their character while connecting with the rest of the cast. Can you tell us how you develop your role and the efforts you make to build chemistry with your co-stars?

Tully:  In my opinion, the biggest strength of this production is the quality of the entire cast. It's like an "All-Star" team of local actors, singers, and dancers. My approach is to watch and listen. What are your co-actors saying? How are they saying it? What is their voice & their body saying to you? Trying to react to that realistically is my primary goal. 

Weinhold: A lot of it is trust. If I trust my fellow actors, it allows me to explore the scenes with them, and we develop the characters that way. It’s teamwork. I can plan forever, and do all the homework, but I never truly know what I’m going to do in a scene until I’m with my scene partners. Having the director Ford there to steer the ship really helps when you feel you’re getting lost at sea.

BWW: Are there any favorite moments in the show or actors who are especially great to work with? 

Tully: The two big production numbers, "Fezziwigs Christmas Ball" & "Abundance/ Charity" are huge, incredible pieces. How the cast retains and performs those pieces just blows me away!

Weinhold: This entire cast is great to work with. My big musical number in the show is titled “Link By Link.” I always look forward to that scene, and working with Bob as Scrooge and most of the cast as the ghouls and ghosts. It’s spooky, fun and very intense. I always love the finale, “God Bless Us Everyone.” The music is so beautiful, and it involves every member of the company. Offstage, I enjoy watching “Fezziwig’s Annual Christmas Ball” performed by Frank Hughes, Shannon Connolly, and the Company. I also love watching Tyler Price and Ensemble perform the Act Two opening tap number, “Abundance and Charity.” 

BWW: Dinner theater can be very demanding with the volume of shows. How do you maintain the needed energy level?

Tully:  By being smart. I'm not a spring chicken ( 63 years old). So rest, sleep & eating right are the boring but true answers to that question. I also am a member of a local gym ( ESporta) so I integrate that into my schedule as well. The show itself is so interesting & challenging that I am drawn into the passion of it every time.

Weinhold: Luckily, this show is short. It’s a brisk 90-ish minutes. That being said, it’s jam-packed with many, many characters and costume changes for the entire cast. I always remember how much I love this cast, this story, and beautiful production, so that makes it easier to perform night after night.

BWW: You have performed at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre before. What brings you back? 

Tully:  Honestly, it's the people. From Will Prather on through the rest of the production staff, crew, and cast. They are friendly, welcoming and appreciative. That means the world to me.

Weinhold: I really wanted to do this show. There have been times, Dutch Apple has reached out to me, offering a show that wasn’t on my radar. A Christmas Carol was different. I let them know I wanted to be involved. A Christmas Carol is one of my favorites, and I love this version. I felt really lucky when I was cast. Playing the Ghost Of Jacob Marley and understudying Scrooge. I couldn’t pass on that.

BWW: Are you a regular in Lancaster, PA? With a growing food and arts scene, how have you found your experience here?

Tully: This is my third production here in Lancaster. I'm a huge fan of Central Market and the eclectic little shops surrounding it. I'm still discovering new shops and  restaurants. Also, as a runner, I love the trails and parks in the area. 

Weinhold: I am originally from Lancaster, and still a local. I am always impressed with how the arts and theater companies are growing in this area. We have enough to keep me here, and I feel very privileged to be part of the Lancaster theater arts scene.

BWW: Is there anything else you would like audience members to know?

Tully: COME SEE THIS SHOW!  It's a beautiful story told in a beautiful way. And the shows are selling out fast. And thank you for your support!

Weinhold: This is a universal story about kindness and not growing bitter. I think we always need A Christmas Carol To remind people to love one another and enjoy the pleasures of life.

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