Performing in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is practically a rite of passage for any theater professional, and yet somehow, Milwaukee actor Matt Daniels has managed to dodge it for three decades.
“It is a staple in basically every town that has a regional theater,” Daniels says. “And the weird thing about it is that in my nearly 30-year career now, I have somehow missed every production of A Christmas Carol.”
Until now, that is. This holiday season, Daniels will start right at the top by starring as Ebenezer Scrooge in Milwaukee Rep’s 47th performance of the classic at the Pabst Theater (Nov. 29-Dec. 24). “[The Rep’s version] has such incredible moments of theater magic with the costumes, and the snow falling and the set,” Daniels says. “But for me, in any production of it, it’s really the moment when you realize that Scrooge is in it so deep that he can’t turn back.”
While this is his first time bah-humbugging for an audience, Daniels isn’t a stranger to the stage. He studied at Juilliard and had careers in L.A., New York and Chicago before landing in Milwaukee in 2008. You may have seen him in shows at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, First Stage and, of course, The Rep. Most recently, he played Henry Etches in Titanic:
As he prepares for his next performance, Daniels thinks about the Scrooges who came before him – many of whom played the role multiple times. “It’s a legacy to step into those shoes, and one that I am very aware of and respectful of,” Daniels says. “I feel honored to be in the company of those who come before.”
Tickets and more information for A Christmas Carol are available at milwaukeerep.com.