Gateway

Tiny Tim in ‘A Christmas Carol’ — a big part for a still little Gig Harbor girl

Piper Harden, 7, as Tiny Tim with Ebenezer Scrooges Ian Bell, left, and David Pichette in “A Christmas Carol.”
Piper Harden, 7, as Tiny Tim with Ebenezer Scrooges Ian Bell, left, and David Pichette in “A Christmas Carol.”

Playing an iconic role in a beloved holiday classic?

No problem.

Staying under 60 pounds so she’s tiny enough to be lifted?

Easy.

Stuffing a head full of curls into her cap.

That takes some doing.

But it wasn’t enough to keep 7-year-old Piper Harden from winning the role of Tiny Tim in the ACT Theater’s production of “A Christmas Carol” in Seattle.

In addition to playing the boy at the center of the Charles Dickens’ classic, the Gig Harbor girl will also play the characters Want and Lil Fezziwig.

Piper has had parts in Tacoma Musical Playhouse productions, but this is her first big performance.

“So excited!” she said when asked about playing Tiny Tim. “I love acting and singing and dancing and being on stage performing.”

“A Christmas Carol” opened Nov. 23 and by the time the production closes Dec. 28 Piper and the rest of the cast will have done 51 shows. That’s a lot of work, but never draining, she said.

“It’s so fun to practice,” Piper said. “I’m meeting a lot of friends.”

When her family learned of the auditions for the production Piper was immediately interested, said her mother, Heather Sanders.

“Piper wanted to do it so we thought, what the heck,” Sanders said. “Let’s give it a shot.”

Piper’s father, Scott Harden, said he was extremely proud of his daughter when he learned she’d been chosen for the role of Tiny Tim.

“She’s done talent shows and always that’s been pretty cool, but it was actually unbelievable when they called and said she got the part,” Harden said. “A whole different level for sure.”

Piper’s acting chops comes naturally, said her parents, neither of whom are actors or performers.

“This is just my talent,” Piper said.

“Carol” director Kurt Beattie said Piper’s ability to act and follow directions is rare for someone her age.

“Piper stood out because of her intelligence, and natural theatrical instincts,” Beattie said. “She is very good at understanding direction and enacting it. This is unusual in one so young.”

About 50 children tried out for the play, said Margaret Layne, director of casting. Of them, five were potential choices for Tiny Tim.

“To audition for the role, the child has to be under 4 foot 2 and 60 pounds, since Scrooge has to lift Tiny Tim,” Layne said.

Piper’s gender didn’t play a part in choosing her for the role, as ACT has had many successful female actresses in the part over the years, Beattie said.

Still, there is all that hair to deal with.

“She’ll wear a cap,” Sanders said. “Piper has a big head full of curls, so it will be interesting.”

If you go:

What: “A Christmas Carol”

When: Through Dec. 28

Where: Allen Theatre, 700 Union St., Seattle

Tickets: $27-$87

Contact: 206-292-7676 or acttheatre.org/season/2018-2/a-christmas-carol

  Comments