Interview: Rachel Rubin Ladutke of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Nutley Little Theatre

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel for BroadwayWorld. 

By: Dec. 04, 2023
Interview: Rachel Rubin Ladutke of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Nutley Little Theatre

Interview: Rachel Rubin Ladutke of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Nutley Little Theatre

Nutley Little Theatre presents A Christmas Carol by Michael Paller and directed by Rachel Rubin Ladutke. In Michael Paller's unique adaptation of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, renowned author Charles Dickens is visited by the spirit of himself as a young boy.  When The Child demands a story, Dickens is struck with inspiration.  He summons his family and friends, who have gathered for Christmas Eve dinner, up to his attic studio and enlists their help in performing the tale that is weaving his way through his brain.  And so the story unfolds, with the cast of nine playing more than 40 roles.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel for BroadwayWorld. 

Please tell us about yourself. 

I grew up in Long Island, and went to college in Massachusetts.  My wedding was held in the "Alice's Restaurant" church in the Berkshires...I am a wanna-be New Englander.  I live in Nutley with my husband Larry, and our teenage daughter, who also participates in theatre and has performed in two NLT workshops.  We also have an adult son who recently moved to Wisconsin...this is my first holiday season without him underfoot, so I'm glad to have theatre to cheer me up!  I teach Theatre at Passaic Preparatory Academy.  In my "spare time" I love to read, play my guitar, or go for hikes.  My husband and I also make homebrew, but we haven't had a chance to do that lately.  I love folk music and show tunes.  We have lots of pets in our house: cats, dogs, fish, and guinea pigs.

Please tell us about your involvement in theater.

This is the first show I've directed at Nutley Little Theatre, but  I've been at this for over thirty years!  I was fortunate to spend a semester at The National Theatre Institute during my junior year of college.  After graduating, I ran an AEA showcase company in NYC for six years.  I have an M.A. in Theatre from Hunter College/CUNY.  Most recently I directed WORKING at The Strollers, and two short plays in an evening titled THE LAST PASTRAMI SANDWICH with Apricot Sky.  I am a produced and published playwright.  THE UNDERSTANDING was included in NLT's Readers' Theatre series last spring.  My most recent plays are collectively known as the Wickham-verse trilogy.  THE WICKHAM WAY premiered at Teaneck New Theatre last year; THE WAY FORWARD has received readings with The Strollers, Old Library Theatre, and Playhouse 22.  THE WAY HOME is currently under consideration at several theatres.  I am a member of the Dramatists Guild, and I am on the Board of Directors for the International Centre for Women Playwrights.

What inspired you to direct this piece?

I actually directed it once before, many years ago, in the basement of an old church on the Upper West Side of NYC.  It was an incredibly evocative space...sliding doors, stained glass, and a labyrinth of hallways.  It stuck with me because I'd never seen or heard another version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL quite like this one.  For some reason, it's not often done, and I think that's really a shame.  When I was proposing plays to NLT to direct this season, I decided to revisit the script as a possible holiday show.  It was just as fun, unique, and thought-provoking as I remembered.  It's the only play I've ever directed more than once (except for readings of my own plays).

What do you want your audiences to take away from this show?

Because this version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL alternates between people who really existed, and following Scrooge through his journey, it makes everything, and everyone, more relatable.  It's actually a play-within-a-play, because Dickens and his friends and family are performing for each other, as well as for us.  The story is so familiar to everyone that the audience may think they know exactly what to expect...but we have a few fun surprises in the works!

Any upcoming projects you will be working on after this? 

I'm gearing up to direct THE ADDAMS FAMILY at the school where I work.  I only started teaching theatre last spring, so I'm still on a huge learning curve.  I have a couple of script ideas rattling around in my brain, but nothing is demanding to be written yet...so I'm currently focusing on promoting my plays.  I also run an ongoing virtual reading series, States of Play, where we read new scripts over Zoom.  I've been blessed to connect with wonderful playwrights and actors from all over the world. 

Anything additional you would like to add?

There are SO many versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL that it would be difficult to find someone who hasn't seen or heard it countless times.  However, as Dickens says in the play, "I've something else in mind."  This version puts a new spin on the tale you thought you knew.  We have a FABULOUS cast and crew, and working on this play has been nothing but a joy.  If you're reading this, I hope you catch our show and help to spread the joy!  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.

My website is www.RachelWrites67.wixsite.com/website, and if you would like to each out, my email address is RachelWrites67@gmail.com

The cast includes: David Baker, Sarah Eastman, Ryan Green, Ray Hoffman, Beatrice Jinn, Lauren Mangine, James Philips, Christopher Reyes, and Alexis Saarela.  (All but Ray Hoffman are making their Nutley Little Theatre debuts!)

The crew includes : Ansel Brasel, Stage Manager; Natalie Casaburi, Assistant Stage Manager; Alex Oleskij, Set & Lighting Designer; Thomas Donohoe, Sound Designer; Julia Sharp, Costume Designer; Jake Hart, Dialect Coach; Marisa Dolkart Herling, Wardrobe Assistant; Lisa Brigantino, Instrumental Arrangements

Nutley Little Theatre is located at 47 Erie Place in Nutley, New Jersey. Please visit NutleyLittleTheatre.com for more information. 




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