“A Christmas Carol” was written 175 years ago by Charles Dickens—and its popularity has never wavered since, as it appears on stages all over the country. For the past forty years, Goodman Theatre has presented “A Christmas Carol” until going downtown Chicago to see it has become a tradition for many families.
Directed for several years by Henry Wishcamper, the play tells a basic story of the redemption of the leading character, Ebenezer Scrooge by giving him a glimpse at his past, present and what the future might hold if he doesn’t change..
Played by Larry Yando, Scrooge is the embodiment of what the name has come to represent since written by Dickens. He hates Christmas and only begrudgingly allows his underpaid clerk, Bob Cratchit (Thomas J. Cox) to take off Christmas Day. He refuses to donate to good causes with comments about where the poor should go.
Scrooge’s selfish business partner, Jacob Marley who died years earlier returns as a ghost (Kareem Bandealy). Clanging chains wrought by miserly deeds, Marley warns Scrooge he will be visited by three spirits and that Scrooge must listen or be cursed and carry even heavier chains.
Molly Brennan as the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to Christmas scenes when he was a sweet boy, and then, as a young man, to his boss’ party where he falls in love. Then they go to the scene where his neglected fiancée decided to end their relationship because she knew Scrooge wouldn’t love her as much as he loves money.
Jasmine Bracey, the Ghost of Christmas Present, takes Scrooge to Bob Cratchit’s Christmas family feast where she points out that the youngest son, Tiny Tim (Paris Strickland), is seriously ill. The spirit informs Scrooge that Tiny Tim will die unless things change.
The Ghost of Christmas Future (Breon Arzell) shows Scrooge a Christmas day in the future, revealing scenes involving the death of a disliked man and the death of Tiny Tim mourned by Cratchit and his family.
It all adds up so that when Scrooge sees a neglected grave with a tombstone bearing his name he pledges to change his ways.
Christmas morning, his “Bah Humbug” personality has changed to lighthearted laughter as he begins to treat everyone with generosity and compassion.
Portrayed with innovative staging, wonderful costumes and settings taking us back 175 years and an original musical quartet that marches into the past, present and future, the show will appeal to all ages. And it is performed by an excellent, diverse 26-member cast that embodies today’s contemporary spirit.
DETAILS: “A Christmas Carol” is at the Goodman Theatre at 170 N. Dearborn, Chicago, through Dec. 30, 2018. Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes, with one intermission. For tickets and other information, call (312) 443-3800 or visit Goodman Theatre.
Francine Pappadis Friedman
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