By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
There’s nothing cold hearted about actor Mark Kleinman
Mark Kleinman and Christmas are synonymous in the Valley.
Playing Ebenezer Scrooge in the Hale Centre Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol” for seven years, Kleinman moved to the Silver Star Theater in Northeast Mesa two years ago.
Kleinman has plenty of reasons why he enjoys portraying Scrooge, a cold-hearted miser who despises Christmas. He brings his best characteristics to Silver Star’s “A Christmas Carol: A Musical.”
“No. 1 the story has always intrigued me,” he says. “Even when I was a teenager, I enjoyed reading the story and always loved it. Then I got to play Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, in New York. They stuck really close to the book. I loved it.
“A few years ago, when I started getting into that age range of being able to do Scrooge, the Hale opened that door to me and I tried it. I just love his arc and the transition he makes. I love the story of repentance, too. We can always look to better ourselves and make amends and become a better person.”
Kleinman—whose “A Christmas Carol” at the Silver Star Theater runs through Saturday, December 28—is inspired by the other actors who are hired for the shows each year.
“Scrooge is the same character and the same lines, but I’m dealing with different people,” he says. “And so, doing it with different people is fun for me. I enjoy the process of reacting and being touched by others and how they play the role.”
The dinner theater is a multimillion-dollar facility that rivals its Las Vegas counterparts. The custom-designed showroom features tiered seating with unobstructed views and state-of-the-art sound and lighting. It has ample parking for cars and buses and hosts 18 different shows.
Kleinman is well versed in all-things theater. He’s a multiple AriZoni Award winner with prizes presented for best actor and best supporting actor.
In addition to Kleinman’s performing acumen, he brings more than 20 years of business management, including tour manager for Des Moines Metro Opera for five years. As a member of the Silver Star’s executive management team, he helps it provide top audience experiences in the Southwest. He says it’s challenging to balance Silver Star’s multiple shows; sometimes two different shows are staged in the same day.
Kleinman’s family helped found Mesa. He and his parents moved to Casa Grande early on so his father could take a basketball coaching job there.
He attended the University of Arizona and studied vocal performance. From there, he sang in various opera companies around the world, including those in New York, Des Moines and Orlando. Kleinman returned to Arizona when touring became too arduous.
Kleinman is enjoying his role as Silver Star’s general manager and resident actor. He and the staff have big plans for the theater including possible summer shows to help get year-round residents out of the house and into Silver Star’s “great air conditioning,” Kleinman says.
“They can watch a good family show and bring the kids and grandkids,” he says.
Silver Star is owned by Mike Todd, who also has the Desert Star Playhouse in Utah. His children
“He’s a great owner,” Kleinman says. “He understands theater inside, outside, backward and forward. It’s good to have a boss who knows what’s going on.
“He wants us to put our best foot forward at all times and makes sure it looks professional and we act professionally.”