Dick Boyd, better known to Omaha as Scrooge, turned 90 on Tuesday.
Each winter for one-third of his life, Boyd spent three months rehearsing and playing the part in the Omaha Community Playhouse production of “A Christmas Carol.” He played opposite more than a dozen Tiny Tims and many, many Ghosts of Christmas Present, Past, and Future, and even his wife, Miriam, who joined the cast when she got tired of spending rehearsal and performance evenings at home alone.
He retired from the role five years ago, but the character and his lines are still firmly etched in Boyd’s memory.
“Probably not in the right order, but I can do most of them,” he said.
Boyd grew up in Nebraska City, one of five children, and got his start onstage in high school one-act plays. He won the best actor award one year at a high school competition in Peru, Neb. He doesn’t remember the name of the play, but he remembers it was about five men trapped in a submarine. He played the easy part, he said, the cowardly one.
At Midland College, he traded acting for singing. He met Miriam, the college president’s daughter, in the school’s a cappella choir. When the choir went on tour for three weeks, they got to know each other better.
Those college performances were the first of many together.
They both became teachers. Their first jobs were in Shelby, Neb., where they joined a small theater group and both got roles in a production of “Kiss Me Kate.”
“She was the heroine, and I was the hero,” Boyd said.
From Shelby, they moved to Ceresco, Neb., before landing in Council Bluffs in 1955, where they’ve been ever since. In 1960, they both earned roles in an Omaha Community Playhouse production, though Boyd doesn’t remember which one. They acted in many, many others over more than 40 years, including another production of “Kiss Me Kate.”
“She was still the heroine, but I was the villain,” he said.
Now, they sing together in the choir at St. John’s Lutheran Church.
They go to the symphony and the opera. They go to plays and musicals, though Boyd said trading the stage for the auditorium took some getting used to.
“You’re always looking for the things you could have done,” he said.
And they listen at home to the classical and show music they’ve loved all of their lives.
“We do everything together,” he said. “Music brought us together, and apparently it kept us together.”
Since retiring from “A Christmas Carol,” they’ve had more time for holiday parties and get-togethers, he said.
But every year, they still go together to the Omaha Community Playhouse, to see the story Boyd knows by heart.
“It’s still a good story, and always will be.”
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