I’m happy to have a new piece in Oregon’s ArtsWatch. This “Artist Profile” outlines the history of “Christmas Carol” director Charles Grant.
Since arriving in town in 2016, Grant has made his mark in an array of roles on stage and film. Now he’s Portland Playhouse’s producing director, and director of this year’s hit “A Christmas Carol.”
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.” That’s Scrooge’s famous redemptive line from Charles Dickens’s holiday classic A Christmas Carol, which is playing at Portland Playhouse through Dec. 30, and it’s particularly pertinent to this year’s director of the 10th annual production of the show.
In 2023, A Christmas Carol is being led by Charles Grant, in his first time as director of a mainstage show. Grant has been in town for only seven years, but he’s already made an outsize name for himself in the Portland theater community.
In fact, his star has been rising since nearly the day of his arrival in Portland in 2016, when he had graduated with a BFA in Acting from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and auditioned for an acting apprentice role at Portland Playhouse.
Nikki Weaver, head of the apprenticeship program at the time, saw talent. Within weeks of his arrival in Portland, Weaver threw Grant into the deep end of the pool, casting him as understudy for the award-winning powerhouse Victor Mack in the Playhouse’s production of How I Learned What I Learned.
“I did end up going on stage for a student matinee – Victor was so awesome,” remembers Grant. “He was so supportive, as well as Nikki and the director Kevin Jones. David Levine was our stage manager. It was a small group, but very supportive.”
It was a year of firsts. That year, Grant was also cast at Portland Playhouse as the Ghost of Christmas Present – and Mrs. Fezziwig! – in his first-ever experience being onstage for A Christmas Carol, and it was also the first year the Playhouse featured a female Scrooge, the multi-talented Jennifer Rowe.