Chicago, November 28, 2011. The Goodman Theatre's A Christmas Carol is back for its' 34th season. The classic story of the cheerless and greedy Ebenezer Scrooge, who represents the worst of humanity, and his kind hearted but poor clerk Bob Cratchit has become a part of the Goodman Theatre holiday tradition and a must-see for many--some of whom know every line of Tom Creamer's adaptation.
The sold-out Sunday performance offered an ambitious jump-start to the 2011 holiday season--once again touching the hearts and souls of many with its timeless and soulful message. The show opens with the cast in fine tune as they set the mood with holiday songs and period costumes (Heidi Sue McMath) foretelling the story that is about to unfold.
Acclaimed Chicago actor Larry Yando, who is such a perfect fit for the role of Scrooge that he could have been him in a previous life--recreates Ebenezer Scrooge in A+ form, appearing in the role for the fourth time since 2007. With over 200 credits in Chicago theater under his belt, director Steve Scott takes the reins for this holiday classic for the first time in nearly two decades adding some subtle nips and tucks that make for a lively, festive presentation. A total of 28 cast members round out the production with 13 newcomers and the rest veteran actors from past Christmas Carols.
Those familiar with the Chicago theater scene will recognize many of their favorites among the outstanding cast members. There's Ross Lehman as the wonderfully festive Mr. Fezziwig who recently appeared in Goodman's "Stage Kiss" and is often seen at the Marriott Theatre as well as many other highly-regarded Chicago area performances spaces; his wife, Mrs. Fezziwig, is played equally as festive by Ora Jones, a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble with numerous Chicago credits. Returning for her fourth time to Christmas Carol is Karen Jane Woditsch as Mrs. Cratchit. Many may fondly recall Woditsch as Julia Child in Timeline Theatre's "To Master the Art." Bob Cratchit is captured in picture perfect form by Ron Rains in his fifth go-round in that role.
New to this year's Christmas Carol is Elizabeth Ledo as the Ghost of Christmas Past. Ledo adds a special bounce and cherub-like quality to what sometimes can be a dark and forbearing role. Other new actors include Nora Fiffer as Belle; Nathan Hosner as a commanding Jacob Marley; Emjoy Gavino as Martha Cratchit; and Jarrod Zimmerman as the inflexible Young Scrooge.
As a veteran observer of Christmas Carols past, I found this Christmas Carol present to be a special treat. This year's production served up an excellent mix of well chosen actors and a well designed set by Todd Rosenthal. Both Scott's direction and Rosenthal's set contributed to a little lighter, brighter and happier Christmas Carol than some past productions I have seen that were very dark and frightening--especially to the eyes of young children. The two-hour and 10-minute running time including a 15-minute intermission was just right--not too hot or not too cold. As Tiny Tim might say, "God Bless Us, Everyone"-- including the Goodman Theatre for delivering this "Dickens' tale in such a delightfully wrapped package.
Tickets and Show Information.
Tickets to A Christmas Carol are $25 to $92. They can be purchased at the Goodman Theatre box office at 170 N. Dearborn, by phone at 312 443 3800 or online. Running time is 2 hours and 10 minutes including a 15 minute intermission. The show runs through December 31, 2011 in the Goodman's Albert Theatre.
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