A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a classic story that is repeatedly told to new generations throughout the holiday season. Goodman Theatre has been producing the play adaptation for many years, and this year has got to be one of the best. This can probably be attributed to outstanding set done by Todd Rosenthal, and just an overall fantastic production. The play centers on Ebenezer Scrooge (Larry Yando), a greedy and stingy old man who is, in one night, visited by three ghosts. Over the course of the night, Scrooge realizes that faults in his actions and changes his ways before it’s too late. The play emphasizes values such as family, hope, charity, and love.
Some set pieces, including Scrooge’s house, are completely different from last year, but the overall set is definitely a step up from last year. The set redesigns are absolutely gorgeous and the attention to detail on each piece is phenomenal. Every inch of the set fits together perfectly. The best set piece this year is Scrooge’s house because of how well it represents Scrooge. The house seems distorted and unkempt, just like Scrooge refuses to take care of his soul by acting virtuous and kind. Another great part of this particular piece is the special effects used when Scrooge enters the house and when Jacob Marley’s ghost appears to him. It is, in general, a job well done by set designer Todd Rosenthal and director Henry Wishcamper. The lighting and other effects such as the use of smoke and sounds throughout the play are used very well and were great decisions made by lighting designer Robert Christen and sound designer Richard Woodbury. All the effects add to the actions of the characters on stage in such a way that the effects drew you in as opposed to taking you out of the story. Music in this play is very beautiful to listen to. Just as with the other effects, the music, chosen by music director Andrew Hansen, fits whatever scene it was playing in and matched the mood.
Larry Yando is, yet again, a great choice to play Scrooge. Yando has played Scrooge in the Goodman’s production of A Christmas Carol over five times. Because of this he seems very comfortable and eager in his role. Whether Scrooge’s character was the brain-child of adapter Tom Creamer, director Henry Wishcamper, or Yando, Scrooge was stingy and grumpy but added comic relief exactly when necessary. Yando’s only fault seems to be ‘over-acting’ Scrooge’s transformation to cheerful. This is the only part of Yando’s acting that seemed too over the top and far too fake. The Cratchit children (Matthew Abraham, Haley Bolithon, Bryden M. Cleveland, Francesca Mereu, and Mia Moore) were also great because they were able to bring light into some of the sadder scenes. The rest of the cast was also very energetic and cheery throughout the play, in a way that did not seem at all overdone or fake.
This is my second year attending the Goodman Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol, and I have to say that it has absolutely gotten better. It is more dramatic, more eye-grabbing, and the cast is more energetic and outgoing. This play will definitely put you in the Christmas spirit, and will also make you think about helping those less fortunate around you.