Share this Post
Both Ira David Woods are handsome. Both could have had Hollywood careers. Both chose to stay in Raleigh. And this year, both will don the musty wig, hooked nose and half-inch of pancake to play Scrooge for the 41st annual run of A Christmas Carol.
Father “David” will take the evenings and son “Ira” the matinees.
“It’s a nice feeling to be able to relax a little and watch him go up,” says David. “I think it’s time now. I’ll be 68 this November, and I know I’m not going to be able to do this forever. Both my kids, Ira and Evan (Evan Rachel Wood), have said, ‘Dad, we’re going to take it; it’s going to keep going.'”
A role revisited
This isn’t the first time Ira, 30, has played Scrooge. It was just two weeks before opening night in 2010 when Ira was summoned to his dad’s house.
The situation was dire. David needed immediate heart surgery. ‘Hello Mr. Scrooge,’ Ira remembers his dad’s greeting when he arrived.
“It’s like Yoda says, ‘Do or do not, there is no try,’” laughs Ira. “After the first few performances, I really started having fun. If you’re a son and you watch your father, you learn the same technique and the way they do things.”
Dad David wasn’t worried then and he’s not worried now.
Ira grew up at Theatre in the Park in Raleigh, playing in the prop room and acting in a variety of “Carol” roles over the years, including Tiny Tim, the lamplighter and the Ghost of Christmas Future. From there, he went on to have roles in the TV show “One Tree Hill” and movies “Pretty Persuasion” and “Down in the Valley.”
“I went to L.A. for ten years and I was moving up in the ranks, and before dad had his heart surgery and I came back to do Scrooge, I had just had a one-on-one meeting with Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds,” says Ira. “And before that I’d done Old Tom at the Lost Colony. It was such good training to do that outdoor drama and then jump into Scrooge; it felt like everything was clicking into place in this direction.”
That’s when Ira decided to come home.
“I had to make a choice, and I really think I made the best one because success really can be subjective. There was a void in L.A. I went back to visit just for a week recently, and it was good to see old friends and my sister and family, but there’s no pull there. There used to be a pull; I think it was because I felt like I needed to prove something.”
Casting for “A Christmas Carol” starts this month, just in time for Ira to perfect his Christopher Walken impersonation and consider what other ad libs he might add this year.
“It’ll be a joy and a treat to continue the legacy and the tradition.”
Share this Post