Scrooge! The Musical — Team Horoshko/Rudinoff on Set Design and Painting
by Anne E. O’Malley
Theatre-goers who have seen Scrooge! The Musical are giving it a thumbs up and “likes” on facebook as the latest Hawai`i Children’s Theatre production continues on weekends through November 25. Set designer for the production, Ron Horoshko, who also has a couple of bit parts in the play, spoke with forkauaionline.com about set design and about artist Holly Rudinoff, his right-hand assistant.
There was much to tell, but, as Horoshko says, “The bottom line is the children — it’s a place where children can grow and play, in theatre.
“The sets are secondary. It’s bringing 60 kids together for HCT to do a show that takes three months from auditions to rehearsals, then three weeks of the show, so it’s four months out of their lives, and they’re dedicated to it.”
Horoshko says the children do their homework on the set when they’re not rehearsing, but he thinks it’s huge that they get to be in the show “with adults such as Arnold Meister, Freidan Alfonso, Ross Martineau — and Jeff Demma as Scrooge himself — he’s the best ever!”
Horoshko continues, “Director Ed Eaton says after watching Albert Finney in the role, that Jeff is Broadway Plus. Jeff probably has 3,000 lines and seven songs — he’s amazing!”
Prior to the opening of Scrooge! The Musical forkauaionline.com visited the Theatre Warehouse in Puhi. Brrr! The set was dark and foreboding, just as the life of Ebenezer Scrooge himself was. “Bah humbug” are two words everyone who’s come anywhere near Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol can relate to, and it’s the feeling the set emanates.
“It’s such a dark story to begin with, and so beautiful in the end,” says Horoshko. “It’s Charles Dickens’ winter —and we’re on sunny Kaua`i.
“This set is a masterpiece because it’s so unique. Actors get the feeling that they really are in England, that people really are selling hot soup in cans, on the street.”
Part of creating that other, dark world reality, is not only in the magic of the design, but also in the magic of the brush.
Says Horoshko, “Holly Rudinoff has worked a few years with me and is the artist extraordinaire. She feels as if this is her playground.”
Rudinoff is totally at home painting sets and being behind the scenes.
“I fell into it through my daughter’s love of theatre,” says Rudinoff. “I’ve always loved to paint, although they were smaller, more detailed canvasses.”
Throughout high school, she took art classes, eventually earned a nursing degree, and then, through caring for a client as a nurse, she’s had the opportunity to see first-class theatre productions and visit many museums.
“You really see when you look at these great artists, that they were really playing, having fun,” says Rudinoff.
Horoshko interjects a generous comment, saying, “I feel like Holly’s brush stroke is her soul.”
Don’t Miss! There’s more to the story after the photo gallery.
Origins of this set
Says Horoshko, “Eight months prior to opening night, Director Ed Eaton gives me a script. I read it, draw it and make a miniature model and we started building.”
“Then Holly jumps in, and that’s where magic begins, because she applies color on plywood and the magic of the set totally comes alive.
Rudinoff says, “I love all these plays, and this one I’ve seen in so many different forms, I’ve probably drawn from all the types I’ve seen.
“I start with images online, seeing what’s been done. I’ll look at photos, for example, of Ebenezer Scrooge, check out all the images and think about how I can create the set within that period of time — we can create anything in a painting. It starts in our minds.”
Rudinoff feels fortunate to be able to play and create with her daughters, Chloe, 12, who’s been acting since she was five, and Sabryn, 9. Chloe has a few small parts in Scrooge!
“I play a beggar woman, a guy dancer, a girl party guest and a town person,” says Chloe.
What she loves about theatre, she says, is “I really like all the people putting work into it. I like learning songs and harmony. My favorite song is the opening number, the song A Christmas Carol.”
See Scrooge! The Musical — Performance Information
What: Scrooge! The Musical a production of Hawai`i Children’s Theatre
When: Continues on Friday and Saturday nights, November 16-17 and 23-24, at 7 p.m.; and two
Sunday Matinees, November 18 and 25, at 4 p.m.
Where: Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, 4191 Hardy Street in Lihu`e
How much: $12/students and seniors 62 years and older; $15/ adults; free/children ages 3 and under
Tix: Available at the door and at the following outlets: Kalaheo Coffee Co.; Progressive Expressions in Koloa; Times Supermarket in Lihu`e; Papaya’s Natural Foods in Kapa`a; Kong Lung Store in Kilauea; and Harvest Market in Hanalei