Talk with Douglas Quattrock
November 17, 2016, by Melissa
Acting has been a part of Douglas
Quattrock’s life for decades now, but like a kid at Christmas,
he waits all year to take the stage for Theatre Three’s “A
Christmas Carol,” which opens this weekend. Quattrock, 52, of
Selden, is director of development, group sales and special
events coordinator for the theater. On stage, he’s Bob Cratchit,
the long-suffering clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge and the father of
Tiny Tim. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Quattrock
as he prepares to play the quintessential character for the 27th
How long have you been with Theatre Three?
I performed in my first show at Theatre Three in 1982 and became
an official part of the staff in 2004.
you interested in acting?
I grew up in New York City
and then moved out to Long Island in high school. I had to take
an elective, and they had a spot open in chorus, but I didn’t
realize I could sing. After that I spent a lot of time in the
music room and taught myself to play piano. From there I got
involved with the school’s productions and discovered I had a
passion for it, whether I was acting or on the stage crew.
When did you first appear in ‘A Christmas Carol’?
Back in 1989, I was doing a show in East Islip, and (director)
Jeff Sanzel saw me perform. He came backstage and asked me if I
would audition for Bob Cratchit for the upcoming production at
Did you hope to play Bob Cratchit
from the beginning?
Absolutely. I’d seen the
production before and a few friends had done the role before me.
I’ve loved the story for as long as I can remember. I love
[Cratchit’s] hope and connection to his family — he comes from a
large family, just like I do. We grew up in a small apartment
and my parents always struggled to make Christmas special for
us, even if they couldn’t afford much. They taught us it was all
Do you feel you’ve brought anything
new or different to the role?
As I’ve gotten older,
I come to appreciate more the value of family and what really
matters in life … I focus so much on that in the role. I hope
people can see that, and that my family knows how much I love
and appreciate their support.
Tell me about the
While Scrooge, Mr. Fezziwig and myself have
been the same for many years, there are also new people that
come onboard every year. They bring a fresh, new energy to the
show and new dynamics. For example, I’ve (appeared with) many
different women who were playing Mrs. Cratchit over the years.
Each of them has her own way of playing the role, which affects
our relationship on stage. It’s really exciting to see how it
changes with time.
What is it like working with
the young people in the cast?
The children are just
amazing. It’s fun to watch them grow up and go on to other roles
in the show or other productions over the years. [Director]
Jeffrey [Sanzel] works so hard to instill good values and
responsibility in them, to let them know how important they are
to the show. If they’re not on stage, they’re either watching
rehearsals or doing homework — they need to keep up with every
aspect of their lives. Theater provides such a wonderful outlet
of expression and education for children.
it like working with Jeffrey Sanzel as both director and
He has so much passion and warmth not only
for this story, but for everything he does here professionally.
I consider him a friend. It’s amazing for me to watch him make
the transformation into Scrooge — he’s very scary. It’s
especially so because he’s also my boss in real life! But we
have a unique relationship.
Is the show scary?
Are there any special effects?
Yes, it is scary — we
don’t recommend it for children under five, and if they’re five,
they shouldn’t sit in the front. There are fog machines, strobe
lights, loud noises, darkness, voices from below, a 14-foot
ghost and much more. We recommend that they watch other versions
of “A Christmas Carol” first so they have an idea of what the
Is this your favorite time of year?
Without a doubt!
‘A Christmas Carol’ will be
adding extra shows during the Port Jefferson Dickens Festival,
which falls on Dec. 3 and 4 this year. What do you most enjoy
about the Dickens Festival weekend?
seeing how the whole village embraces this production. They
decorate [Port Jefferson] so beautifully and everyone comes
together to support what we do. It’s like the whole place comes
What is so special about community
It’s about taking limited resources and
creating the best productions from that. We create with heart,
imagination and a lot of hard work. That comes from within. And
when a show goes well, it’s that much more exciting and
People have said that you always make
them teary-eyed in your last scene with Scrooge. How does that
make you feel?
That’s my favorite scene, even though
it’s the shortest between us. From Bob’s perspective, the whole
story has been building up to that moment, when Scrooge says
(Bob’s) son, Tim, will walk again. Scrooge has so many
redemptive moments in the last few minutes of the show, and it’s
so powerful. I love knowing that moves people. I want people in
the audience to see that even the tiniest gestures of kindness
can mean so much to someone. That is Christmas to me. If the
audience can walk away with that message, and capture the spirit
of the season, then I’ve done my job.
the Dan's Papers Review of A Christmas Carol
a humbug to be had at Theatre Three’s ‘A Christmas Carol’
by Michael Tessler -November 23, 2016
Though the holidays are usually filled with joy, they’re certainly not without their own special breed of stress, which seems to melt away as Theatre Three gifts our community with a profound and magical experience that allows us to escape into the marvelous imaginative world of the late, great Charles Dickens. Theatre Three provides more than just a distraction — it provides unparalleled delights that will stir up the best childlike emotions in each of us.
Jeffrey Sanzel, the show’s director, faces the unique challenge of annually reimagining “A Christmas Carol.” He seamlessly completes this task with his usual grace and confidence. For over 30 years the show has been a must-see tradition for Long Island families and visitors. Sanzel’s vision shines brighter than ever as he masterfully directs his cast. While the story remains the same, its characters are all the more captivating because of the great direction he provides.
What’s most impressive is that not only does Sanzel direct, but he also stars in the iconic role of Ebenezer Scrooge. For those unfamiliar with the classic Dickens novel, Scrooge is a man whose greed supersedes his humanity. One night he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley (Steven Uihlein) who informs him that hell awaits him if he doesn’t change his ways. This propels him on an unlikely journey of self-reflection and change.
Sanzel plays not only an older Scrooge, but a younger more lively version of himself. His ability to change physicality and characters instantly is one of his most impressive qualities, and there are plenty!
Douglas J. Quattrock as Bob Cratchit & Jeffrey Sanzel as Scrooge in a scene from ‘A Christmas Carol’. Photo by Brian Hoerger, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.
Bob Cratchit, played by the ever-so-gentle Douglas Quattrock, is beyond endearing. There’s a righteousness and goodness about this man that can be felt genuinely by the audience. Cratchit, who works as a clerk for the elderly Mr. Scrooge, endures considerable workplace trauma to make sure his family is fed and taken care of. Despite his hard work, his youngest son, Tiny Tim, remains at the precipice of death. Quattrock will have you grinning cheek to cheek as he embraces his wife played with love by Suzie Dunn and the rest of the family.
Jeffrey Sanzel as Scrooge & Jessica Contino as Ghost of Christmas Past in a scene from ‘A Christmas Carol’. Photo by Brian Hoerger, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.
Alongside Cratchit is the kind-hearted and abandoned nephew of Scrooge, Fred Halliwell. There’s a certain glee in Dylan Poulos’ performance. He’s almost infused with the spirit of Christmas itself, which I suppose would make sense as he also plays the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come! Halliwell seeks nothing more than to rekindle a relationship with his past by getting to know his only living relative, dear Uncle Scrooge. What he doesn’t realize is that his eyes are the same eyes as his departed mother, a painful reminder for old Ebenezer. Fan Scrooge Halliwell (Megan Bush/Sophia Knapp) lives and breathes in certain sequences, and perfectly portrays the love between two close siblings.
Among my favorite cast members is the larger-than-life Fezziwig, played with great fervor by George Liberman. He’s joined alongside his stage wife, played by Ginger Dalton. These two form a comedic pair that will have you smiling as wide as the horizon! There’s something so whimsical about watching Fezziwig’s ball unfold on-stage: the dancing, the singing, everything. Watching you can’t help but feel that you’re up there with them. My favorite part of this sequence is watching the curmudgeon Scrooge transform into a spruce young man who woos and proposes to Fezziwig’s daughter, Belle, played by a belle of extraordinary talent, Emily Gates.
Scrooge (Jeffrey Sanzel) with a very ‘cheeky’ Ghost of Christmas Present (Bobby Montaniz). Photo by Brian Hoerger, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.
All three spirits are truly splendid. Jessica Contino shines as the Ghost of Christmas Past, bringing Scrooge on a journey that forces him to reconcile many of the mistakes and heartbreaks a long life will bring. Bobby Montaniz nails perfectly the essence of the Ghost of Christmas Present, and while he’s not a giant, his impressive voice certainly sounds like he is! His deep laughter will echo in your belly all through the evening!
Finally the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come may be the most visually impressive puppetry I’ve seen at Theatre Three yet (and they pulled out an actual dragon for “Shrek!”). This massive and haunting figure must be at least 15 feet tall and is adorned in a black tattered cloak and hood and is perfectly embellished by the brilliant lighting layout by Robert Henderson.
In addition to an incredible cast and superb lighting, this is one of the most beautiful sets I’ve ever seen. There’s a craftsmanship that far exceeds your usual stage show, and not only does it show but genuinely adds to the ambiance of the production. I’ve got nothing but praise for Randall Parsons, the show’s production designer and his costume counterpart Bonnie Vidal.
There are many additional names in the cast and crew who are deserving of praise, especially the incredibly talented children who alternate each night and demonstrate a professionalism and talent well beyond their years. Give yourself and your loved ones a gift that is truly made of magic. Go see “A Christmas Carol.”
Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present “A Christmas Carol” through Dec. 31. All tickets are $20 in November and range from $20 to $35 in December. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit
Theatre Three's Annual Production of Charles
Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL
23, by Melissa Giordano
The show is
wonderful to begin with; that you can be sure.
Theatre Three's 33rd annual production of the
beloved Charles Dickens classic A Christmas
Carol has certainly become a beautiful tradition
on Long Island. Even with slight changes
throughout the years, this ageless production is
as spectacular as ever.
the Artistic Director of the Port Jefferson
venue, directs the dazzling show running through
December 30th. Additionally, Mr. Sanzel stars as
our favorite miserable miser, Ebenezer Scrooge.
As we know, the story takes place on the night
of Christmas Eve through Chrismas morning
when... shall we say... frugal Mr. Scrooge is
visited by three ghosts to save his greedy soul
from an eternity of shackles and chains. Among
the ghosts that visit are Mr. Scrooge's deceased
business partner, Jacob Marley, and the Ghosts
of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet To Come. Mr.
Sanzel's performance of the role from being
crotchety to ultimately finding the Christmas
spirit is truly inspiring; really the best
Mr. Sanzel leads the
extraordinary, large cast filled with Theatre
Three vets - with some newbies mixed in - many
of whom hold several roles. Among the children,
they even have two casts; "The Ivy Cast" and
"The Holly Cast". At the crux of it, everyone in
the company is outstanding.
In one of the
more noticeable switches this year, Theatre
Three favorite Steve Uihlein takes a turn as
Jacob Marley in a boffo performance. The Ghost
of Christmas Past is strongly portrayed by
Jessica Contino whose powerful and commanding
performance is one you will remember for quite
some time. Furthermore, Long Island theatre vet
Bobby Montaniz is hilarious as the Ghost of
Christmas Present. As for the The Ghost of
Christmas Yet to Come, that costume is operated
this year by Dylan Robert Poulos. Yes, I said
operated. In one of the most elaborate and
amazing of costumes, the faceless
undertaker-like ghost stands almost to the top
of the stage. A ragged, black wrap drapes around
him as he maneuvers back and forth. Unnerving
fog surrounds him and his arms open brusquely to
the sound of thunder as he is taking Scrooge
through his potential future.
As for Mr.
Sanzel's creative team, Randall Parsons' set is
well done. The large stage has concealed
sections and rolling pieces that are cleverly
enhanced by Robert W. Henderson, Jr's
atmospheric lighting. Over the years, Mr.
Parsons has also coordinated the gorgeous
costumes with the brilliant Bonnie Vidal who
sadly passed away this year. You'll notice the
costumes change very slightly from year to year,
but you still get that 19th century aura.
And so, if you haven't seen this incarnation
of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in a while
- or if you haven't seen at all - go see it. The
classic story and this superb cast will surely
get you into the Christmas spirit.
Review: ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Theatre Three:
Broadway on Main Street
by Lori Speiser on November 21, 2016
Theatre Three: Broadway on Main Street opened its 33rd annual production of
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Written in 1843, A Christmas Carol is a
story which has endured throughout the years. It has been retold many times in
text and film, and is filled with themes which are still relevant today. There
is a danger in retelling a story this well-known, as the audience knows what to
expect next, but there is no boredom in this version.
Cleverly adapted and
directed by Jeffrey E. Sanzel, this performance is filled with humor from dry
wit to good fun, sweet family moments and scary ghostly appearances which keep
the tale moving. Once again Theatre Three’s interpretation does not leave the
The sets, by Randall Parsons, were well done and added
to the story telling. While in Scrooge’s office, a bridge in the background
displayed characters coming and going, two side balconies had characters moving
and speaking at other times, and the sets changed location with ease as the
Randall Parsons and the late Bonnie Vidal were
responsible for the wonderful period costumes which helped create character and
set tone. Many of the actors portrayed different characters, a task well done,
and skillfully aided by the changes in costume.
portrayal of Scrooge was excellent. When visiting the past he seamlessly changes
from the younger Ebenezer to the older Scrooge. While there is a musical chime
to highlight the change, his body language and demeanor change with the
character. As he views the scenes shown to him by the ghosts, he starts to
soften, then snaps right back to the hard-hearted Scrooge when questioned.
Jessica Contino was both assertive as The Ghost of Christmas Past as she
took Scrooge back to look at his beginnings, and sweet and kind as Fred’s young
Bobby Mantaniz, as The Ghost of Christmas Present, was boisterous
and mischievous He brought high energy to his scenes with infectious laughter as
he teased and mimicked Scrooge, mocking him with his own words, yet displayed
impressive ire when angered. A true highlight of the show.
Uihlein’s Marley was intensely unsettling as he forcefully expressed his
frustration while warning Scrooge to not follow his path.
Poulos’ Fred is alternately joyful and melancholic as he reveals his
exasperation and sadness with his uncle as his overtures are continually
Douglas J. Quattrock played the meek and long-suffering Bob
Cratchit effortlessly. Balancing his love for his family with the unjustness of
his situation, he made the patient clerk a truly likeable character.
first act culminated in a notable business scene in Scrooge’s office. This busy
scene powerfully epitomized the theme of greed. Other highlights include
Marley’s (Steven Uihlein) dramatic entrance, the jolly banter between Mr. and
Mrs. Fezziwig (George Liberman and Ginger Dalton), and the chilling appearance
of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Dylan Robert Poulous).
Christmas Carol has laughter, chills and sentiment. The Christmas spirit is
certainly present as carols are sung throughout the play. From scary ghosts to
Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, everyone!” this wonderful interpretation is sure to be
a terrific addition to your holidays.
Also, be sure to arrive early to
delight in the cast, in full costume, while they regale you with some wonderful
Running Time: Two hours, with a 15-minute
Advisory: Strobe lighting, and some startling/scary moments.
A Christmas Carol plays through December 30, 2016 at Theatre Three: Broadway
on Main Street– 412 Main Street, in Port Jefferson, NY. For tickets, call the
box office at (631) 928-9100, or purchase them online.
MATTERS review of A CHRISTMAS CAROL:
Commentary by: Jeb Ladouceur,
November 27, 2016
All actors know something that probably escapes the ken
of the average theatergoer: Audiences have a lot to do with the molding of a
performer’s delivery, and ultimately they affect the success of a show. The
reaction of patrons to a stage artist’s interpretation, whether to vocal
inflection or on-stage activity, will invariably tell actors and their director
what works, and what doesn’t. Of course, the experienced director, standing in
for the audience during rehearsals, sees to it that performer and attendee will
usually be in sync come opening night, but not even the most accomplished
director can be a perfect audience-surrogate for an entire play.
Accordingly, it has been my experience that because of this interconnection,
stage shows generally tend to get better with each passing performance … and by
the time a production is ready to close, it will likely be at its polished and
But there are some shows that are so timeless, so
expertly conceived, and sufficiently audience-friendly that the curtain never
really comes down on them permanently. And such a one is Theatre Three’s annual
production of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ a theatrical legend that’s in its 33rd year
at the grand old playhouse in Port Jefferson.
Naturally, it’s impossible
for all cast members in such rare plays to remain in specific roles over the
years. Indeed, the players change … and thus interpretations of a production’s
various characters change along with the new faces. Different actors obviously
bring varying métiers to the parts that were played by someone else the season
before. This is where the insight and adaptability of a perennial show’s
director becomes supremely important. For while the artistic mentor enjoys the
advantage of knowing what’s worked well with audiences in the past, he (or she)
is still charged with evoking the best performances that this year’s actors are
capable of delivering. One thing is certain—they’ll never be identical to the
With ‘A Christmas Carol,’ Director Jeffrey Sanzel enjoys
a distinct advantage in that he wrote the stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’
immortal classic, and he also plays the lead character, miserable Ebenezer
Scrooge. With those dual linchpins in place, Sanzel manages, year after year, to
offer up satisfying productions that Long Island audiences have come to expect
from the master director. Amazingly, he succeeds simultaneously in showcasing
new talent in abundance.
Significant, surely, is the iconic nature of the
novella first published in 1843. In the nearly two centuries since then, the
story has so captured the imaginations of millions worldwide that quotations
from the book have become household terms (“Bah, humbug” – “God bless us, every
one” - etc.). We have a tendency to favor the familiar and the quotable when it
comes to our art … and in particular the performing arts. Dickens contributed
mightily to establishing that, and Sanzel wisely capitalized on it in his
The collaborators might have been separated chronologically
by some two hundred years, but artistically they have a lot in common … and Long
Island’s theater aficionados are the beneficiaries.