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Now Opening: ‘A Christmas Carol’ Arrives on Broadway

Category Broadway

|by Ron Fassler |

A new adaptation of the classic novel, just in time for the holidays

When Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was first published in 1843, no one could have predicted it would still be a hot property 176 years later. Artists in theater, film, television and dance have remained forever interested in presenting the fable in new and creative ways – especially the dozens of major actors who have for more than a century and a half invested in portraying Ebenezer Scrooge – one of literature’s most famous iterations. Now an all-new stage version, first produced at London’s Old Vic Theatre in 2017 to great acclaim, is to be added to the long list of adaptations. It opens this week on Broadway for a limited holiday engagement at the Lyceum Theatre and stars Campbell Scott, whose father (the inimitable George C. Scott) starred in a highly acclaimed television film in 1984. And though the younger Mr. Scott has maintained his boyish charm over the years, he is now in fact one year older (fifty-eight) than his father was when he played Scrooge.

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‘A Christmas Carol’ is now playing at the Lyceum Theatre through Jan. 5, 2019 (Photo: ‘A Christmas Carol’)

‘A Christmas Carol’ is now playing at the Lyceum Theatre through Jan. 5, 2019 (Photo: ‘A Christmas Carol’)

The prestigious team responsible for this new production are its director, Tony Award winner Matthew Warchus (God of Carnage); playwright Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), cast members Tony Award winner Andrea Martin (My Favorite Year, Pippin); La Chanze (The Color Purple); and two-time Tony Award winner scenic and costume designer Rob Howell (The Ferryman). That’s a lot of Tony talent!

Rounding out the cast are Erica Dorfler (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812), Dashiell Eaves (A Time to Kill, A Behanding in Spokane), Hannah Elles (Bright Star, Godspell), Brandon Gill (Holler if Ya Hear Me)Evan Harrington (Peter and the Starcatcher, Once), Chris Hoch (War Paint, Matilda), Sarah Hunt (The Last Ship), Matthew Labanca (Irving Berlin’s White Christmas)Alex Nee (Once), Rachel Prather (The Band’s Visit), and in his Broadway debut, Dan Piering, a 2012 nominee for the Jimmy (the National High School Musical Theatre Award). Also making their Broadway debuts are Sebastian Ortiz (age seven) and Jai Ram Srinivasan (age eight), both of whom are physically disabled, and will alternate in the roles of Tiny Tim.

A list of the extraordinary actors who have played Scrooge reads like a who’s who of the American and British theater. Personal favorites of my own include Alistair Sim (possibly the best ever) in the 1951 film, Michael Caine (The Muppets’ Christmas Carol), Albert Finney (the film musical Scrooge), Walter Matthau in an animated TV version called The Stingiest Man in Town, Bill Murray as Frank Cross in Scrooged, as well as the aforementioned George C. Scott. And I’m especially partial to Jim Backus in the cartoon Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. If you’ve never seen it, trust me, it’s wonderful (and features a score by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, who wrote Funny Girl).

Though not boasting an original score, this Christmas Carol will have plenty of music. Twelve Christmas carols have been interpolated, including “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” and “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.” All of which should add up to a festive and moving tribute to the spirt of Christmas, which is always at the heart of any version of this timely classic. “God bless us, everyone.”

A Christmas Carol is scheduled for a limited engagement through Jan. 5th at the Lyceum Theatre, 149 W 45th St., New York, NY 10036.

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