A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is now in its 42nd year of production at Goodman Theatre, and we see no reason to stop its presentation of this epic tale of one man’s redemption. Its poignant message about empathy, the treatment of those less fortunate, and how having a sympathetic heart can heal the soul of humanity is priceless. It’s a holiday treat every family should enjoy.
It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a crotchety old miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley along with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. It is from those visits that came throughout the night that overwhelmed Ebenezer is with joy to redeem himself being grateful that it all happened before Christmas Day. After these horrifying but crucial visits, the mean-spirited Scrooge transforms into a kinder, gentler man.
Goodman’s Theatre, A Christmas Carol, is filled with topnotch performances, songs, singing and dancing with amazing sets, and eye-popping effects. This year’s production, which once again features a diverse cast, seems to have a livelier, cantankerous, and funny Scrooge. Larry Yando is, without a doubt, one of the best Scrooge you will ever witness. As much as we love Allen Gilmore, who is an excellent and exceptional actor that embodies each character he plays, it will be a challenge for him to top Yando’s performance as Scrooge.
The return of Jasmine Bracey as The Ghost of Christmas Present was another good call by Goodman. Bracey, who recently appeared at Goodman in “How To Catch Creation” (Directed by Niegel Smith & Written by Christina Anderson), is excellent as the boisterous second of the three spirits that haunt Ebenezer Scrooge, to prompt him to repent.
Also returning in the beloved role of Tiny Tim is the delightful and adorable Paris Strickland. Paris (Seen Below) was born with stage 3 neuroblastoma, a rare cancerous tumor that begins in the nerve tissue of infants and very young children. Paris stated in an interview that “Tiny Tim had a challenge in his life too, so we have a little connection.” Playing the courageous cripple boy Tim Cratchit. Strickland authenticly portrays the loveable son of Bob Cratchit, even adding the feeble limp of the disabled son. She is an inspiring example and talent for all children.
Other notable roles were Thomas J Cox (Bob Cratchit), Johah D Winston (Mr. Fezzwig), Breon Arzell (Dick Wilkins), and Christopher Sheard (Young Scrooge).
The set design brought animation and imagination, bringing the audience into the story, and the house of Scrooge was horrifyingly immaculate. Goodman stayed with the original adaptation with a few changes here and there; however, you can never get enough of that classic line, “bah-humbug and any of the famous one-liners Scrooge boorishly utters. A Christmas Carol is much more than a holiday performance; it’s a heartwarming and endearing story about how family love can conquer all, even the mean Scrooges of the world.
Goodman Theatre, “A Christmas Carol” opened on November 16 in its Albert Theatre and runs a little over two hours.
Let’s Play highly recommend this perfect holiday treat for the family.
Goodman Theatre Presents
A Christmas Carol (42nd annual production)
By Charles Dickens
Directed by Henry Wishcamper
Adapted by Tom Creamer
November 16 - December 29, 2019
Filed under: ChicagoNow