It's not Christmas without a little Ebenezer Scrooge. And
fortunately, Goodman Theatre's annual production brings Dickens'
most famous character to life in all his miserly glory, making for
a lovely holiday tradition.
The cozy theater is a perfect spot for a re-creation of
Victorian London, with every seat offering a good view of the
stage. Audiences will delight at the familiar words, from the
show-opening, "Marley was dead to begin with" to Tiny Tim's cheery
"God bless us, every one!" And even if you've seen countless
versions of the 170-year-old novella (The Muppets Christmas Carol
is a favorite in my house), don't be surprised if you come away
with a new appreciation for the story thanks to this faithful
While the youngest tots might be scared at times - it
is about ghosts, after all, and even I jumped at the
sudden appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come - the show
is great for kids in elementary school and up and provides an
introduction to Dickens' famous tale and literature in general. A
young audience member behind me asked a few questions during the
show, but seemed to follow along once the story really got rolling.
Plus, I was surprised at how many laughs there were, bringing the
story to a more accessible level for younger audience members.
The source of most of those laughs is Larry Yando's Scrooge, who
perfectly plays the transformation from a downright mean skinflint
to a man who's been given a second lease on life. I giggled just as
heartily as the younger set at some of his sillier antics. But the
show's sense of humor, while welcome, never overshadows the greater
message of generosity and goodwill.
While the star of the show is undoubtedly Scrooge, the whole
company does an admirable job bringing other characters to life.
Standouts include down-but-never-out Bob Cratchit (Ron Rains),
jolly Mr. Fezziwig (Michael Aaron Lindner), the imperial Ghost of
Christmas Present (A. C. Smith), and the Narrator (Sarah
Chalcroft), who presides over the whole show with a kind twinkle in
Goodman also makes great use of some local child actors,
including an adorable Tiny Tim (Matthew George Abraham), who
delivers his signature line with aplomb.
With just a two hour running-time, including intermission, A
Christmas Carol makes a great outing this holiday season. And it
just might start a long-standing tradition for your family to
return to, year after year … no bah-humbugs about it.
Elizabeth Diffin is the senior editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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