It’s a rainy night in Cannon Beach and the curtain is about to open on the final dress rehearsal of the Coaster Theatre’s winter show, “Scrooge the Musical.” The weeks leading up to this moment have been grueling for the cast; the last few days have been chaos for the tech crew. But, lines down and technical glitches resolved, the show is ready for an audience.
For years, the Coaster Theatre was perhaps best known for its annual production of some version of Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol.” Since the 1970’s, members of the community—from sandwich makers to librarians to students—came together to dress up in top hats and spread some holiday cheer. Those community members who didn’t take part in the show were sure to come and watch. The theatre truly brought the community together.
Now, for the Coaster Theatre’s 40th anniversary, the show is making an appearance for the first time since 2004.
Coincidentally, that 2004 show marked my first experience with acting, at the age of nine. I enthusiastically donned a boys’ costume, playing the part of the crutch-wielding Tiny Tim. That play sparked my love of the stage, and inspired me to perform in many more Christmas shows, playing anything from an orphan to a member of the Von Trapp family.
However, a move to Tillamook County changed things significantly, making for a lengthy commute and later nights. And by the time I’d started high school, I was far too busy with the typical assortment of teenage occupations—school, work, friends, activities, sports—to try and be involved in anything else.
That is, until this year. Senior year, a year full of prepping for life beyond high school and last chances for experiences. I found out that the Coaster was putting on “Scrooge”, and, in a moment of part nostalgia, part insanity, I decided to try and make it work.
Of course, it hasn’t been easy. This fall has found me with little time to spare, rushing from school to speech/debate or cross-country practice to rehearsal for the play, and often eating my dinner in transit from one to another!
But the busyness has definitely paid off. This production has been a great one, as I’ve come to know through getting close with a cast of quirky, talented people, humming Christmas songs since September, and working to make the directors’ dreams a reality. It has been a truly fantastic experience.
In many ways, this opportunity is a gift– one that I realized I wanted to somehow give back to.
So, I decided that for my senior project, I would try to increase awareness of the theater over on “my side of the block.”
I have often felt that there is a huge gap between Tillamook and Clatsop counties. For us on the Tillamook side of things, anything farther north than Manzanita seems to be shrouded in a mist of secrecy—and I know that those from the north can feel the same way. However, since this gap is one that I’ve been commuting across daily, I feel that I’m pretty qualified to try and bridge it.
There’s a myriad of things that both counties have to offer, and I think that it’s a shame not to connect the two.
So if you have an evening to spare, consider spending it in Cannon Beach—I can tell you from experience that the drive will be worth your time! As the curtains open on a scene straight out of 1840’s-era London, you’re sure to be entranced as cast members from Tillamook and Clatsop Counties alike draw you into the world of a timeless holiday classic.
— The post was also published in the Tillamook Headlight-Herald.