Twenty four years ago Beth Henderson, owner of the White Pines Inn, was trying to come up with some creative marketing ideas to promote the log lodge restaurant located in the White Pines State Park.
One of her young cooks from Sterling threw out a random idea—what if White Pines were to start a dinner theatre?
The cook's roommate was an up and coming actor and director by the name of Brent Young. Maybe the two could get together?
And the rest, they say, is history. It just so happened that Young was the co-author of a two person comedy spoof on Dickens', "A Christmas Carole".
Scrooge the Comedy debuted during the Christmas season in 1989 with Young as director and star character, Ebenezer Scrooge. The comedy was an instant success and has been playing to sold out audiences every year since, Henderson said.
"Young starred as Scrooge during the first season only. There were several other Ebenezers over the next few years until the role fell to veteran Chicago actor Tom Ventriss who kept it for years until his death at age 74," she said. "For the past 11 years Rick Johnson, Bartlett has had the honor of portraying the miserly curmudgeon who sees the error of his ways."
Early this fall Henderson was in need of a replacement for the current director and on a fluke, contacted Young whom she had only seen on a couple rare occasions since that first season. Young said yes and is back after a 23-year hiatus.
"He stars not as Scrooge this time but as the show's narrator," Henderson said. "The plans are to run Scrooge the Comedy for this season and then close it after the show hits the quarter century mark - the 25th consecutive year in 2013.
"The show can best be described as Saturday Night Live meets A Christmas Carole," Henderson said.
"It is appropriate for all ages with no swearing or bad language, but just a side note—it is littered with double entendres, quite similar to today's sitcoms on TV. Make plans to see this hilarious comedy because you only have two years to catch it before it is - history!"
For more information call the White Pines Inn at 815-946-3817 or visit www.whitepinesinn.com.