For the Brenneman family of Anderson Township, the holidays start in November with rehearsals for A Christmas Carol.
Nathan Brenneman, 8, is playing Tiny Tim. Ali Brenneman, 10, is playing young Ebenezer Scrooge's sister Fan.
It would probably be easier on mom Debbie if Nathan and Ali were in the same Carol production, but Nathan is in Covedale's musical version and Ali is in the classic rendition at Playhouse in the Park.
Nathan auditioned at Playhouse last year, but was "a little too big for Tiny Tim," confides Ali, who was already a Carol veteran (she started playing "Want" in 2000). The family heard about the new version at Covedale, Nathan auditioned, and was awarded a small role. This season he's been promoted to Tiny Tim, and gets to sing a solo.
Driving is part of the two-doctor Brenneman family life. Debbie takes Ali, who is home-schooled, to afternoon rehearsals, picks up Nathan, takes everybody on a dinner break, usually somewhere in Mount Adams, before returning Ali to rehearsal, taking Nathan to evening rehearsal and waiting with him before returning to pick up Ali and drive home around 11 p.m.
"It always works out," Debbie explained one night as she efficiently pulled off a crock-pot dinner. (The clock was running, with the family, including dad John, and older sons Chris, 14, and Kevin, 12, gathered around the table for 45 minutes before it was time to hit the road again.)
Nathan isn't sure what he'll try next. Ali, who plans to follow her parents into medical school, nevertheless was planning to be at Saturday's auditions for Annie at the Covedale.
This year the two Carols shared an opening night in early December. No problem, the family split up so that both Carol-ers had a parent and brother in the audience cheering them on.
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