A Cup of Cheer with Judy Dery of A Christmas Carol

Today Judy Dery joined me for A Cup of Cheer.  She is playing Mrs. Fezziwig and other roles in A Christmas Carol. Judy was in the cast the first year that I joined the A Christmas Carol family.  She has a wonderful smile and such a warm heart that it draws you in.  I am so pleased that she continues to share the holidays with us.  Please come see her in the show… she is truly something special!

A Christmas Carol is open to the public now!!!  Get tickets by calling the box office at 248-377-3300 and remember to check our website at www.mbtheatre.com for more information!

~Travis W. Walter, Artistic Director


Judy Dery portrays Mrs. Fezziwig and others in A Christmas Carol


A Cup of Cheer with Judy Dery


How many years have you been in A Christmas Carol?

This is my 10th year.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Christmas!  I’ve had 5 Mr. Fezziwigs (4 “1 or 2-nighters” with understudies), and 8 Fezziwig daughters.  I have so enjoyed watching the young actors grow up in the cast.  I’d love to see one of them who “graduated” at 14 (per our agreement with Actors’ Equity) come back at 18 and be a caroler.

What is your favorite part of the holiday season?

The lights.  I go a little crazy at my house – something different in front every year.  I start them on Thanksgiving and keep them up till January 6 for Epiphany/Twelfth Night.  I like to drive through neighborhoods looking at what others do.  They just make me feel good.

What is your favorite part of the story A Christmas Carol?

The happy ending.  “God bless us, every one.”

There are many school matinees for A Christmas Carol, what is fun/special about performing for children?

Their reactions are so honest.  Many of them are happy to be coming to see the show.  Some of them are just happy to be out of school for the morning.

Bob Cratchit asks Scrooge for “one more piece of coal” do you prefer your house to be “warm as toast”, “just right”, or “cold enough to hang meat”?

“Just right” for me; which might be “warm as toast” to someone else.

Scrooge promises to find Peter Cratchit a job and Martha almost misses Christmas dinner because she has to work … what kind of jobs did you have when you were young like Peter and Martha?

Mostly I babysat.  Living in a neighborhood where there was an elementary school and a public park with a swimming pool, there were lots of children.

Favorite Christmas Drink.. Egg Nog or Wassail?

Wassail.  I have a great recipe.

Scrooge loves money… When you get a present, do you prefer money or a gift?

I like a gift – preferably something small, personal and inexpensive.

Scrooge is visited by two charity men early in the show… have you done any charity work or are there charity organizations that you support?

Let’s see…  I’ve answered phones at, and donated to, public television.  I was chair of our local fund-raising group, Equity & Friends Fight AIDS.  And I’m a member of the Meadow Brook Theatre Guild.

Scrooge is visited by four ghosts… do you believe in ghosts?

Yes.  (insert sly smile)

If you were visited by the spirit of Christmas past how would you welcome looking back on your life?

I’d love it!  Memory Lane is one of my favorite places to stroll.  I’ve been blessed.  There are so many times I’d like to recollect; and people.  I’d love to see my high-school drama and music teachers; my first audition for Terry Kilburn (I got the part!  Guys and Dolls – my first Equity contract.)…  And my grandmother.  I think I miss her most at Christmas.

Next project after A Christmas Carol?

Costuming at Detroit Repertory Theatre.  I’ve been doing costumes there for about eight years.

The Fezziwigs host the best parties. Any memorable moments from holiday parties you’d like to share?

Oh, my!  I used to throw a Fezziwig-worthy party on the Sunday after New Year’s – sorta the last party of the holiday season.  Did it for years.  Took the tradition with me when I moved to California (1978-83).  They went away when I started getting acting work around the holidays, sometimes, even, out of town.

The spread at the Fezziwig’s party is unbelievable…. what is your favorite holiday food?

Mom’s kielbasa and chrzan (horseradish with beets) served with her fried onions and potatoes and two kinds of kapusta.

Other favorite Charles Dickens novels?

A Tale of Two Cities.  “’Tis a far, far better thing I do….”

Why do you think so many families come to see this show year after year?

Tradition.  Ours is so faithful to the novel in Charles Nolte’s script and the set and costume designs.  I like to tell people our show looks like a Victorian pop-up book.

What is your favorite holiday?

Oh…   Christmas!

Baking is huge during the holidays, do you bake? if so what do you like to bake?

I don’t.  But I enjoy what others bake.

What message do you hope the audience takes with them about A Christmas Carol?

Kindness wins.  We need more kindness in the world.

Finish this sentence: “My favorite gift that I ever received during the holiday season was_________”

“… my first typewriter.  I was 11 and wanted a toy typewriter like the one my best friend had.  You turned a wheel to the desired letter, pressed down on it and the letter was printed on the paper in the roller.  Santa brought me a Remington Rand.  I cried happy tears.  I still have it.”

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