Come in and know him better: Stuart Harmon in his 20th year of a Christmas Carol at the Palace

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Stuart Harmon, right, portrays the ghost of Jacob Marley in “A Christmas Carol.”

“When you’re on stage, performing…it’s all make-believe, but nothing feels that real. And when you can feel an audience emotionally reacting to something you’re doing, it gives you a sense of power. And if it’s only just a momentary power or control over your own life, that might be enough. But, for a few moments, you’re in charge of something.”  – Stuart Harmon


In his 20th year of the Palace’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” Stuart Hartman, who portrays Jacob Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Present, reflects.

“It has been a fantastic show to watch grow from fairly humble beginnings. The Palace was really redeveloping its place in Manchester and growing its audience and reinvigorating the whole theatrical experience in Manchester. It’s come so far, and the show has gotten so good that I actually still feel absolutely honored and completely lucky to be a part of it. They pull in actors from all over the country. They audition in New York, and they come up here and they just absolutely blow my mind every time and I think, that’s it. I’m going to be replaced next year. But, somehow they keep letting me sneak into the cast,” says Harmon. 

A native of California, Harmon is a teacher at the Academy for Science and Design in Nashua. His theatrical career includes more than 30 shows on the historical Palace stage, an extremely impressive duration for someone who did not consider themselves an actor.

“I was singing in a professional choir group in Massachusetts, ”says Harmon, “and it was breaking up. One of the fellow singers there said you should be a musical theater singer. They said, the Palace is going to be doing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and you should audition. I did, and got in the show, and I didn’t even know it was a professional production and when I got the paycheck the first weekend I was like, would they still pay me if they knew I would do it for free?”

At the conclusion of his run at the Palace in 2019 Harmon’s life took an unexpected turn.

Right after the show closed, I became seriously ill with the flu and simultaneously developed an infection in my foot,” Harmon explains, all of 2020 I was in bed. I had to undergo four separate operations which eventually led to the removal of my left foot.”

Harmon’s biggest fear was how the amputation would affect his stage career.

“I’ve been walking for most of this year, but really only the last few months have I had a high-quality prosthetic that I can walk normally with. The good news is, I’m able to perform this show with absolutely no changes whatsoever, and no one in the audience will even know that there is any issue at all,” Harmon says.

Harmon

Harmon professes his favorite role to be that of Jekyll and Hyde in “Jekyll and Hyde the musical.” When asked what roles he has yet to play that he would like to, Harmon responds, “I have not yet performed the role of Sweeney Todd in “Sweeney Todd,” and Judas in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” my two last dream roles, but I played about eight out of my top 10, so I really can’t complain.”

The Palace presents its annual tradition of the timeless classic A Christmas Carol Nov 26-Dec 22. Purchase tickets here.