Going from a role as an evil criminal to Santa Claus is easier than you think, says Len Henderson.
He is the lead actor in the Norm Foster comedy Dear Santa, running from Nov. 27 to Dec. 13 at the Scarborough Village Theatre.
Henderson’s previous role with the theatre was the villain in The Pink Panther Strikes Again.
“I use the same evil laugh that I did in the last show except now I just make my mouth round and it comes out ‘HO HO HO’ instead of ‘HA HA HA’,” said Henderson with a laugh.
The Whitby resident is a regular actor with the Scarborough Village Theatre and has also performed with the theatre’s musical group and with the Scarborough Players as well.
“I first started with the Scarborough Music Theatre in 1995,” Henderson said. “It’s a good club, I really enjoy working with them.”
Local resident Mike Woodbridge directs Dear Santa and he said he plans on staying in the theatre industry for as long as possible.
“I’ve been directing for about 20 years now and I love it,” Woodbridge said. “I’ll stay in theatre for as long as they need me and want me.”
Woodbridge is semi-retired and is a school bus driver when he’s not acting or directing for the Scarborough Village Theatre.
Dear Santa is a Christmas show that is meant for the whole family.
He said the show appeals to both children and adults because there’s the traditional side of Christmas, but there’s also the adult side added to it in humour.
“It’s a good family affair, but the adults should be able to enjoy it too because there’s some good one-liners in it that Norm Foster’s good at,” Woodbridge said.
The play is about Santa Claus and his elves getting ready at the North Pole for Christmas Eve. A number of complications arise that they’ve got to get around, which is the base of most of the play’s humour.
“One of the problems that comes up is the toy supply train arrives with more needed supplies but no wood glue, which is a real problem because now they can’t even put the toys together in time for Christmas Eve,” Woodbridge said.
Henderson’s Santa is a traditional jolly one who doesn’t have any faults, but he is a little touchy about people making comments about his weight. Henderson said this is a source of a few little jokes in the show.
“[Santa Claus] does what’s necessary to fix the problem and still manages to find a soft spot in his heart for the people who work for him. Some of them have their quirks, but rather than getting irritated by it he just finds them endearing, so he’s a nice old guy,” Henderson said.
Woodbridge said he still acts for the Scarborough Village Theatre when he can. He said he was in the very first show held at the theatre.
“This is a great community to perform for,” Woodbridge said. “For the last 27 years now people have been coming to this theatre, it’s great.”