Goodman Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol”

The Goodman Theatre’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol” is a Chicago tradition that has filled families with holiday spirit for 34 years.

If attending this show hasn’t made your yuletide to-do list yet, this year is a good time to start.

“A Christmas Carol” tells Charles Dickens’ tale of the stingy, cold-hearted curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge (Larry Yando). Several spirits visit Scrooge and attempt to change his indifference toward the destitute and his humbug attitude toward Christmas.

Sunday’s opening night performance commenced with a jovial medley of carols to set the mood. Gorgeous sets by Tony Award winner Todd Rosenthal brought Victorian London to life on stage, specifically in Scrooge’s home and two-story office.

Powerful performances by veteran actors like Ron Rains, as Bob Cratchit, and Penelope Walker, as the Ghost of Christmas Present, carried the show forward. The ebullient Walker, who has played the spirit for 7 seasons, steals scene after scene with a flourish of her Christmas “spice.”

Unlike some portrayals of Scrooge that are downright cruel, Yando’s Scrooge has a heart—just hidden under layers of distrust and sadness.

And Yando leads the charismatic ensemble cast to an uplifting conclusion. Audience members of all ages will impulsively join them in singing “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and leave the theater feeling a little bit merrier indeed.

“A Christmas Carol” is 2 hours with a 15-minute intermission and runs through Dec. 31. Tickets start at $25. For more information, call 312-443-3800 or visit

Article updated for 2011 by Laura Hine.