For the 35th year The Goodman Theatre in Chicago is staging the story of Scrooge in its annual production of Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol.”
Few things embody the holiday spirit more than Ebenezer Scrooge on a fateful Christmas Eve when his life is forever changed.
This production soars with a brilliant cast of actors, fabulous set design and magical encounters with four spirits.
Chicago actor Larry Yando returns to the Goodman to lead the cast for his fifth year in the lead role.
Yando is perfection as Scrooge, masterfully taking on the classic tale’s main miserly and mean-spirited character. His poor and long-suffering clerk Bob Cratchit is also brilliantly and sympathetically portrayed, for the sixth year, by Ron Rains.
Rains is fabulous as Bob Cratchit, the kind-hearted clerk to Scrooge and loving husband and father to several children, including the very sweet but very ill Tiny Tim.
Beginning with the first scene we see in Scrooge a very angry man in the heart of the Christmas season. He has no time for the holiday and no patience for anyone or anything that hints at merriment or compassion.
When he is visited by his long-dead partner, the ghost of Jacob Marley (Joe Foust), a terrified Scrooge is told that this night would be his last chance at redemption. He will be visited by three more ghosts this Christmas Eve, an experience Scrooge would rather not have.
He begins his journey with the Ghost of Christmas Past, played with a lighthearted touch by Elizabeth Ledo. Together they take flight back to the early days of the now elderly Scrooge. Here we learn what led him to become the miserable man he is now.
Penelope Walker as the Ghost of Christmas Present is up next. She shows Scrooge some behind the scenes glimpses of what goes on in the lives of all those he walks amongst, but seemingly never sees for whom they are or what they really want and need.
The Ghost of Christmas Future (Jodan Brown) is appropriately foreboding in his larger than life full black hood and robes. As we know from the Dickens novel, numerous movies and other stage productions, the future looks bleak for Scrooge. But, he does have one chance at redemption.
Set designer Todd Rosenthal has created a wonderfully traditional Victorian London village with amazingly imaginative sets for Scrooge’s bedroom, the homes of his nephew and the Cratchits and numerous other magical places past, present and future that we visit on our journey with Scrooge.
Costumes by Heidi Sue McMath are also traditional, with some fun and spirited inventions for the ghosts.
There are numerous adaptations of “A Christmas Carol” every holiday season. But The Goodman Theatre with Steve Scott as director has mastered this production. This show is a highly recommended holiday theater experience for the entire family.
“A Christmas Carol” runs through Dec. 29 at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago. For tickets and information visit the theater’s website.