By now, people know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the man who goes from most hated to most loved after a night spent with the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come.
Is it the gorgeous sets created by Todd Rosenthal? Maybe it’s the festive costumes by Heidi Sue McMath? Is it Director Henry Wishcamper, who deftly draws the audience’s attention to one side of the stage so preparations can be made on the other, giving the illusion (appropriately) that magic is happening?
Maybe it’s the cast, led by Larry Yando, returning for his seventh year as Scrooge. Yando plays this character with a perfect combination of anger and humor, and the transformation that comes is both hilarious and heartwarming to watch.
There’s also the Cratchit family, with Ron E. Rains as Bob and Penelope Walker as Mrs. Cratchit. This family’s story has always been my favorite, to see a couple with so many mouths to feed and kids with so little be so very thankful for everything they do have. It also doesn’t hurt that the kids are adorable. Nathaniel Buescher steals the show as Tiny Tim, as do Paige Collins as Martha, Phillip Cusic as Peter, Ava Morse as Emily and Skye Sparks as Belinda.
Of course, I would be remiss to not mention Patrick Andrews as a Ghost of Christmas Past quite different from any I’ve seen before, and Lisa Gaye Dixon as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Both are impressive and provide sparkle (literally) to the dreariness of Scrooge. Plus, I must mention Kim Schultz, who is hilarious perfection as Mrs. Fezziwig and the other minor characters she plays.
Perhaps Goodman’s seats are filled simply because “A Christmas Carol” is a beloved Charles Dickens classic complete with plenty of holiday cheer, and by the time December rolls around each year, who couldn’t use a little cheer? Whatever the reason, the crowds keep coming, and for good reason. “A Christmas Carol” isn’t just good holiday theater. It is simply good theater.