It’s Christmas season once again here at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. Scrooge sets out on his journey of revelation in the 35th anniversary of “A Christmas Carol” directed by Steve Scott. The holiday classic has become a tradition and whether you have seen it before or not you will be drawn into the magical path of redemption that comes with the Holiday season. From the second you walk through the doors you are transported to Christmas Eve as the joyous sound of Christmas carolers rings throughout the lobby.
The grumpy old Scrooge, wonderfully portrayed by Larry Yando, is visited by his late friend and business partner, Jacob Marley played by Joe Foust, succeeded by three ghosts: Christmas Past, Present and Future. Marley’s entrance was shocking to say the least, which seemed to be a common theme throughout the play, appearing abruptly with clamorous echoes of his anger. As Scrooge is taken on the adventure to open his mind, eyes, and heart to the love that is all around him the audience is following right along with him. While Scrooge is forced to look within himself the audience also does the same. I left with a greater appreciation for money as the economic issues of the timeless tale struck rather close to home.
“A Christmas Carol” wouldn’t be the wondrous beauty it is without the technical part of the production. The set, lighting, and costumes are all key to the play’s success. The set was extravagantly designed to match the time period and to capture ones the audience’s attention. Each set was detailed to perfection and with incredible hydraulics they were brought on and off stage with ease. The stage remained well balanced as far as the set and blocking went but from the side box balcony seats my view was strongly obstructed. The lighting was another way to beautifully set the mood of each scene from small flashing strobe lights during the entrance of the Ghost of Christmas Past to the dark gloom of the Ghost of Christmas Future. Each ghost was unique in his or her costume, from the bright white of Christmas past to the deathly black of Christmas future, setting them apart as characters.
What kind of play would it be without the inspiring artistic work of the actors? As an ensemble the actors seemed to effortlessly blend together in the common goal of illustrating the story for their audience. They all truly seemed to have an understanding for the script. I was in “A Christmas Carol” myself and I left The Goodman with a stronger understanding of the story than when I was actually in it. There were times when an accent was overplayed slightly such as Nora Fiffer who played Scrooge’s old love interest Bell. Apart from that I found the acting nearly flawless. Larry Yando did an exceptional job in his fifth time playing the lead of Ebenezer Scrooge. He had the character down from the simple way he licked his fingers to each Bah Humbug.
“A Christmas Carol” is running through Dec. 29 2012 and I strongly suggest that you make it a must see. The play runs 2 hours and 10 minutes with an intermission. Tickets are available online, by phone, or at the box office, ranging from $25-$82 and worth every penny. The message of “A Christmas Carol” was evident and depicted through surprise, music, and even laughter as Scrooge makes his transformation. The show will leave you with the warm fuzzy feeling inside and a smile on your face and the words “God Bless us everyone” ringing through your ears.