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Sherlock rises from the ashes for merry Christmas

Terry Edward Moore as Sherlock and Stephen Grenley as Watson

Terry Edward Moore as Sherlock
and Stephen Grenley as Watson
Erik Stuhaug

Working the audience at a recent Saturday performance, Taproot Theatre’s artistic director Scott Nolte sounded positively giddy. “We have less than 100 tickets left to sell!” he declared. “For the entire run!”

John Longenbaugh, the local writer of Sherlock Holmes And The Case of the Christmas Carol now playing at Taproot, even found himself begging for a ticket for a midweek performance. “Tickets are going fast!” he said.

For any theater, such news definitely creates as much holiday merriment as a well-spiked eggnog. A popular Christmas show brings much needed dollars at the end of the year and, with luck, introduces the theater to new crowds that will spill over to next year. The Cinderella story of this Greenwood success began with an arson fire that burned down the building next door to Taproot and shut down the show “when we had barely started rehearsal,” recalled Terry Edward Moore, the Sherlock then and now. For Moore, the current hit has its roots in Longenbaugh’s script. “John has done a marvelous job of keeping what is familiar, both about Sherlock and Christmas Carol, and then adding enough surprises for the audience.”

Moore has played both Sherlock, at the Bathhouse and on radio, and Scrooge, for ACT’s famous Christmas Carol. “This character is definitely Sherlock, not Scrooge,” said Moore. “One of the things I like about Sherlock is that he has better defenses than Scrooge.”

When confronted by ghosts, Sherlock subjects them to the same close logical and slightly annoying deductions that he would apply to any visitor to 221B Baker Street. “He is so much more self-aware on so many levels and a tremendously proud man,” said Moore. “Getting him to the point where he can admit that he needs to change, that takes a lot of doing. As an actor, it has been an interesting process for me to find where all the chinks in Sherlock’s armor are.”

For the audience, discovering those chinks, as well as numerous old friends from both Doyle and Dickens, is obviously an attractive proposition this winter.