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Jennifer Teel in LYRIC’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Photo by KO Rinearson

Do you have questions for a ghost? We do!

We talked with Jennifer Teel who plays the Ghost of Christmas Past in LYRIC’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Teel has been with Lyric for 4 years, and this is her 3rd time to be playing the Ghost of Christmas Past. Let’s take a look at how Teel prepares for this role!

How do you get into character? 
The act of putting on crazy amounts of glitter, and being covered in sequin puts me right into the zone. Top that off with the first push off of soaring through the air, it’s pretty easy to get into character. It’s hard not to feel magical when you’re flying above the crowd and you see children grinning ear to ear while waving to you.

What is your favorite part about playing a ghost? Why?
I think my favorite part of being the Ghost of The Christmas Past is her message and how efficiently she delivers it. I’ve always envisioned her as Scrooge’s guardian angel of sorts, and that she represents his lost innocence. Secretly I think she is Fan, Scrooge’s little sister who passed away long ago, and I channel her when delivering my lines.

How do you like performing your entire part in the air? 
For the most part, I love it. Toward the beginning of my air time, it’s always fun, but about half way through, I start to really feel the harness. But regardless of the pain, it is still a unique experience and always a thrill. We’ve timed it, and I’m in the air between 21-22 min, straight.

What is the hardest part about performing in the air?
The hardest part is continually moving, keeping everything controlled, finding and keeping the timing with my flying coordinators, and making it look like the whole thing is smooth and easy. Many people don’t know that I have little control of my movement while I’m up in the air. Anytime I move up and down, someone else is controlling that. Anytime I fly forward, or turn around, I have no control of that. All of that is done by my flying coordinators. The only thing I control is my arm, leg movement, and my tilt. I tilt my body and move my arms to signal when I am ready to move from one place to the next. If our timing is even a second off, and I tilt before they move me, I can flip completely around. It is a well rehearsed dance, between myself and the flying coordinators to make it all look smooth.

How does CAROL differ from other productions you have been a part of?
I’ve actually played the Ghost of Christmas Past twice at different theatres before joining LYRIC’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Surprisingly, there are several differences in Lyric’s production from the past productions I’ve been a part of. For instance, Lyric’s production is the only show I have ever flown in. None of the other shows had a giant 20 foot terrifying puppet for the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The seamlessness of all the scene transitions was one thing that amazed me. Incorporating traditional Christmas carols for every scene change makes the show feel almost like a musical, without the added the time it would take for big show numbers. It really is impressive how fast moving and impactful this production is.

How has the show changed from year to year?
Well each year we have a new group of children brought into the cast. I feel they bring new life and a freshness to the show every year. Watching the new kids during the rehearsal process is always a blast. Everything is new to them. That helps all of us who come back each year to see the show through a new set of eyes. Helps us to find the magic and importance of the story we are telling.

What does a day-in-the-life look like for you?
If it’s a weekday: Get up, take the kids to school, grab coffee ASAP, check and reply to client emails, jump in the shower, head to the office and prep for upcoming events, pick up kids from school, attempt to get errands/a chore done, eat (somewhere in there), head to the theatre, throw hair in pin curls, put on stage makeup, get into costume, start the show, grab dinner (if I didn’t get to eat before hand), head home to say goodnight to kids, then snuggle with my husband while watching TV until I fall asleep.

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