The Goodman Theatre’s 37th Annual “A Christmas Carol” Review - Warms Hearts and Spirits with All-Chicago Cast

With heart-warming joy, the Goodman Theatre’s 37th annual production of A Christmas Carol is back just in time to warm your winter in an all-Chicago, 28-member cast led by the acclaimed Larry Yando in his seventh turn as Ebenezer Scrooge.  Director Henry Wishcamper blends new magic with familiar moments in the production running through December 28 in the Albert Theatre.

Goodman Theater. The Goodman’s Christmas Carol beckons you. Credit Goodman Theatre

The show was well-paced and offered a sumptuously designed set that, turn-by-turn, conveyed starkness and poverty, love and redemption, and also glitter and gasps as the ghosts of Christmas revealed themselves to some fine special effects.

Tickets are $31 - $101.  Call 312.443.3800 (12noon - 5pm daily) or visit the Goodman Theatre website for tickets and a performance calendar.

Larry Yando (Ebenezer Scrooge) in A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre (November 15 – December 28, 2014).www.goodmantheatre.org/joy. Credit Liz Lauren

In Christmas Carol, Thomas Cream’s adaption of Dickens’ 1843 classic takes on the iconic tale of greedy British businessman Ebenezer Scrooge, whose sizable bank account is only matched by his hatred of the holidays. One Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts who take him on a spectacular adventure through his past, present and future, helping him rediscover the joys of life, love and friendship.

Larry Yando (Ebenezer Scrooge) in A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre (November 15 – December 28, 2014).www.goodmantheatre.org/joy. Credit Liz Lauren

“It’s an honor and a joy to return to this production, which has been an important annual tradition for more than a third of the Goodman’s 90-year history,” said Wishcamper, whose recent Chicago directing credits include The Night Alive at Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Ask Aunt Susan at the Goodman; and The Dance of Death at Writers Theatre. “Larry Yando’s commanding performance as Scrooge, a role that is Shakespearean in scope, deepens each year. It’s thrilling to again collaborate with him and involve new actors—including Patrick Andrews and Lisa Gaye Dixon as the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, respectively—whose performances add exciting new layers to the beloved story.”

(L to R) Lisa Gaye Dixon (Ghost of Christmas Present) and Larry Yando (Ebenezer Scrooge) in A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre (November 15 – December 28, 2014). www.goodmantheatre.org/joy. Credit Liz Lauren

Fast facts about the endearing classic and Chicago tradition:

  • The Goodman production of A Christmas Carol has introduced nearly four generations of young people to theater
  • Attended by more than 1.2 million theatergoers
  • Goodman established it as an annual offering in 1977/1978—a time when only a handful of U.S. theaters mounted the production
  • Former cast members of the Goodman’s production though the years have included stage and screen notables Jessie Mueller, Del Close, Harry J. Lennix, Felicia P. Fields, Raul Esparza, Sally Murphy and Frank Galati
  • The only artist to work on all 36 previous productions of A Christmas Carol is deeply missed this year. Robert Christen, beloved Resident Lighting Designer (1949-20140)
  • Moving from stage to stadium, football fans can catch A Christmas Carol veteran Ron Rains (in his eight year as Bob Cratchit) sing the national anthem at the Chicago Bears v. Detroit Lions game on Sunday, December 21 at Soldier Field.

(L to R) Larry Neumann Jr. (Percy), Nathaniel Buescher (Tiny Tim), Bret Tuomi (Mr. Fezziwig), Phillip Cusic (Peter Cratchit), Skye Sparks (Belinda Cratchit), J. Salome Martinez (Dick Wilkins), William Burke (Old Joe’s Assistant), Kristina Valada-Viars(Abby),Paige Collins (Martha Cratchit), Ava Morse (Emily Cratchit) and Theo Allyn (Miss Ortle) in A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre (November 15 – December 28, 2014). www.goodmantheatre.org/joy. Credit Liz Lauren

That lobby folly?  Goodwill is spreading in the Goodman’s lobby post-show with monetary donations being raised for two charities.  Season of Concern by the Chicagoland theater community provides care to those living with the effects of catastrophic illness or health emergencies. The Woolgathering Project seeks donations of new and gently used socks in a community effort for the homeless inspired by Molly Glynn, the late wife of A Christmas Carol cast member Joe Foust.

(L to R) Nathaniel Buescher (Tiny Tim), Ron Rains (Bob Cratchit) and Phillip Cusic (Peter Cratchit) in A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre (November 15 – December 28, 2014). www.goodmantheatre.org/joy. Credit Liz Lauren

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