Stage fright? Not for young sisters in Alley’s ‘Carol’

December 14, 2017 GMT

A Friendswood teenager plays the coveted role of Fan, the beloved sister of Ebenezer Scrooge, in “A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas,” at Houston’s Alley Theatre, through Dec. 30.

Elena Vasquez is playing the part in her fifth season to appear in the annual production. Also in the show this year is her sister, Ava Vasquez.

A plum part

They are the daughters of Ray and Amy Vasquez, who are both attorneys.

“I have always wanted to play Fan,” said Elena Vasquez, who is 13 and an eighth-grader at Friendswood Junior High School. “She is a really sweet girl, and I get to sing ‘Barbara Allen,’ a traditional English song.”

Elena Vasquez paid her dues by playing Tiny Tim in her first “Christmas Carol” at the Alley. Then she donned an itchy wig to portray a schoolboy for three years. Last season, she portrayed Belinda, the second-oldest daughter in the Cratchit family in the classic holiday story by Charles Dickens.

“Fan is the role that all of the girls aspire to play,” said her mother. “She gets to wear a pink dress with a cape and ride in a sleigh.”

However, Elena Vasquez noted, “I never realized how heavy the cape was until I put on the costume.”

But that isn’t as challenging as portraying a boy in the show, said Ava Vasquez, 9, a third-grader at Windsong Intermediate School.

AN Itchy wig

“I don’t really like it,” she said, “because the wig is very itchy.”

More to her liking are her other two roles in the show: a cherub and the character of Ignorance, who haunts Scrooge along his journey toward redemption.

“This is only Ava’s second show,” said her mother, who was surprised to see how much her younger daughter enjoyed her first role, as an orphan, Molly, in the recent musical “Annie” at Purple Box Theater.

“She is a little shy, but onstage, she was a little sassy,” her mother said.

Complicating matters is the fact that the Vasquez family, including the girls’ brother, Ray Vasquez Jr., 11, are living in a hotel in Webster while their new house is being built in Friendswood.

The girls explained that their family’s house sold before their new one was finished.

Meanwhile, the Alley Theatre experienced so much damage from Hurricane Harvey that its first production of the fall season was moved to the University of Houston, another one was postponed and “A Christmas Carol” opened a week later than usual.

“We are especially pleased to be able to produce ‘A Christmas Carol’ this year, as it has been an annual holiday tradition for many Houston families,” said the Alley’s managing director Dean R. Gladden. “The production is a celebration of the holiday season, but also a celebration for our artists, crew and staff who have been working so hard to bring us back to our home – the Alley Theatre.”

For ticket information, call the theater’s box office at 713-220-5700 or visit www.alleytheatre.org.

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net