You’ll have to forgive Tony Delgado if he looks a little sleepy these days. The 13-year-old Lake Highlands boy is juggling a full schedule as a seventh grader at Lutheran High School with his role in the Dallas Theater Center’s production of A Christmas Carol. Tony will be playing the role of The Ghost of Christmas Past, a part usually reserved for an adult.


“I’ve been auditioning for A Christmas Carol for five years now,” explains Tony. “The first two times I auditioned I wasn’t chosen for a part. Then, I was selected for the part of Baby Scrooge, which has no lines. Last year, I was cast as the adolescent Scrooge and had a few lines. But this year, I have tons of lines!”


Memorizing his lines hasn’t proven to be a problem, though. Says Tony: “At this point, I know the entire script.”


Tony’s professional acting career began somewhat accidentally. His family was new to the Dallas area, and his mother enrolled him in an acting class at the Lake Highlands Recreation Center. She says that it was right around this time that he began to show a strong interest in theater arts. “He would watch movies with us and began to be very excited by people who wrote, directed and acted,” says Evelia Delgado. “He would say very firmly: That’s what I’m going to do when I grow up.”


Tony’s acting teacher saw potential in him, and encouraged him to audition for A Christmas Carol. Although Tony didn’t get cast that year, he had caught the acting bug. He continued to audition, and his perseverance appears to have paid off.


Preston Lane, who adapted the play and directed Tony his first two years, has great hope for the young actor’s future. “I think he’s fantastic,” says Lane. While directing Tony in his first role in A Christmas Carol, he approached Evelia after a rehearsal.


“He told me that he saw great potential in Tony, and strongly encouraged me to enroll him in formal acting classes,” she says.


John Moscone is directing this year’s production. Although the role of Christmas Past is traditionally given to an adult, the part was given to a 13 year old last year as well. “He really paved the way for me,” says Tony.


Tony is currently rehearsing six days a week, often from right after school until 9 or 10 in the evening. With dinner and homework to contend with when he finally gets home, this can mean a very late bedtime. But, his love of acting seems to provide him with an extra reserve of energy.


“Tony never complains about his schedule,” says Evelia. “Even if he seems tired when I drop him off at rehearsal, he always comes out happy and excited. He is just so focused on this, and it truly makes him happy.”


In addition to his role in A Christmas Carol, Tony has acted in his school play, and in the Garland Civic Theater’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit. He is currently taking classes at Young Actor’s Studio and looking to audition for other roles in the Spring.


For now though, he continues rehearsing for the show, which runs through December 24th. In his very limited free time, he goes to basketball practice, rollerblades and hangs out with his buddies. It’s a schedule most grown-ups would find exhausting, so if he’s caught snoozing through social studies, let’s hope his teacher will go easy on him.