“A Christmas Carol,” Second City Style: Twist Your Dickens or Scrooge You!

“A Christmas Carol,” Second City Style: Twist Your Dickens or Scrooge You!
Beth Melewski (Charles Dickens’ orphan),Tim Stoltenberg (Charles Dickens’ orphan), Peter Gwinn (Charles Dickens’ orphan), Sayjal Joshi (Little Orphan Annie), Robyn Scott (Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz) and Frank Caeti (Batman) in The Second City’s Twist Your Dickens, Or Scrooge You! by Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort at Goodman Theatre (December 5, 2014 – January 3, 2015).

With the “holiday season” starting earlier and earlier every year, it is about this time of the season that many have had a little too much Christmas.

For those of you to whom this applies, may we suggest Second City’s “Twist Your Dickens or Scrooge You!”  It’s fun, funny and creative in a style that Second City does so well.

“Twist Your Dickens, Or Scrooge You!” by former Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort is a “twist” on the Goodman Theatre’s staple, Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”  The twisted tale incorporates an eclectic collection of well-known characters into the familiar storyline.

One should know before they enter the Goodman’s Owen Theatre that “Twist Your Dickens”  is played for laughs—nothing is sacred.  It is a parody, it contains sexual references, swears, and is meant to be sacrilegious.

If this is not your thing, stick with the traditional “A Christmas Carol” down the hall in the Goodman’s larger Albert Theatre.

However if you are willing to throw caution to the wind—and set aside your puritan restraints—maybe even eased by a glass of wine or two–you are in for a lot of laughs.

Be advised, your own misdeeds may come back to haunt you. Before entering the show you will see a table with red and green strips of paper where you are asked to contribute one of your misdeeds. Make sure to write one down and deposit it in the box on the table. You’ll see why once the show begins.

The talented cast includes: The always impressive Francis Guinan as a most believable Scrooge (note: Brian Boland replaces Guinan for all performances starting December 26); Frank Caeti as a hilarious Ghost of Christmas Past; Peter Gwinn as Jacob Marley; Sayjal Joshi is a delight as Tiny Tim while Tim Stoltenberg does Bob Cratchit well with Robyn Scott playing the droll Mrs. Cratchit.

Beth Melewski shines in several roles–highlighted by her hilarious mash-up of Christmas favorites including “Police Navidad,” and “Chess’ Nuts Roasting on an Open Fire”.

(L to R) Beth Melewski (Peppermint Patty), Tim Stoltenberg (Pigpen), Sayjal Joshi (Sally), Peter Gwinn (Linus), Robyn Scott (Lucy) and Frank Caeti (Charlie Brown) in The Second City’s Twist Your Dickens, Or Scrooge You! by Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort at Goodman Theatre (December 5, 2014 – January 3, 2015).

(L to R) Beth Melewski (Peppermint Patty), Tim Stoltenberg (Pigpen), Sayjal Joshi (Sally), Peter Gwinn (Linus), Robyn Scott (Lucy) and Frank Caeti (Charlie Brown)

The fast-paced show packs a lot into its 2 hour and 15 minute (including intermission) running time.

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, you’ll see “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in a whole new light including some very funny local references.

You’ll also see Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s Misfit Toys; Jimmy Stewart as a confused George Bailey; Dorothy Gale, Orphan Annie, and even Batman.

Each show features a cameo appearance by a local celeb. The opening night crowd was delighted to see Celebrity chef Rick Bayless. Other scheduled guest celebs include: author Aaron Freeman; comedian Shad Kunkle; Orange is the New Black’s Adrienne C. Moore; comedian Eddie Mujica; hip-hop artist Che Smith aka “Rhymefest”; comedy duo TJ and Dave; NPR’s Peter Sagal and lots more from sports, politics and the media.

The play assumes that the audience is familiar with the original tale. If you have never seen, heard or read “A Christmas Carol” you may want to do some homework before you attend otherwise you will miss a lot of the humor.

To those who say “bah, humbug” to toying with the original “A Christmas Carol”–no one is twisting your arm to attend.

However, the show, partly through word of mouth, is drawing large audiences with some shows already sold-out. So if you want to see this one, you’d be smart to get your tickets ASAP.  The show has been extended through January 3, 2015.

Click here for tickets and information or call 312 443 3800.

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