New Stage Magic, Old Favorites in 36th A Christmas Carol at the Goodman
Oct 17, 2013
The most wonderful time of the year is underway as rehearsals begin this week for Goodman Theatre's A Christmas Carol, "a joyous present for the entire family" (Chicago Sun-Times), in its 36th annual production. Directing the holiday favorite for the first time, Henry Wishcamper's production features all-new on stage magic-set elements, special effects and more. The cast of 27 (below, includes 14 new and 13 returning cast members) stars Larry Yando, who most recently appeared in Mary Zimmerman's production of The Jungle Book as Shere Khan, in his sixth turn as Ebenezer Scrooge and 8-year-old Matthew Abraham as Tiny Tim for the second year.
"I am honored and excited to direct this beautiful, incredibly moving show with a long history as a centerpiece of Chicago's holiday celebrations; it's an amazing feeling to join that tradition," said director and Goodman Artistic Associate Henry Wishcamper. "I'm thrilled that Larry returns with his complex, hilarious, deeply-felt performance as Scrooge. We have a great cast of newcomers and Chicago favorites joining him."
Longtime Executive Director Roche Schulfer established A Christmas Carol as an annual Goodman holiday offering in 1977/1978-a time when only a handful of U.S. theaters mounted the production. Thirty-six years, 31 Tiny Tims and 20,000 "Bah, Humbug!"s later, 1.2 million theatergoers have experienced A Christmas Carol, which has also served as an entry point to theater for generations of Chicagoans. Stage and screen notables including Del Close, Harry J. Lennix, Felicia P. Fields, Raul Esparza, Sally Murphy and Frank Galati have appeared in the show over the years.
"It was impossible to imagine what a wide-reaching impact A Christmas Carol could have on the Chicago community," said Schulfer, who marks 40 years at the Goodman this season. "Thousands of families make it an annual tradition; those who attended in their youth are now introducing it to their children and grandchildren. Henry's production will feature many familiar delights that our audiences have come to count on, along with some surprises."
Wishcamper becomes the 10th director to helm the production over three decades. Previous directors include Tony Mockus (1978-1983); Gregory Mosher (1984); Sandra Grand (1985, 1986); Michael Maggio (1987, 1988); Steve Scott (1989-1992 and 2011, 2012); Chuck Smith (1993-1995); Henry Godinez (1996-2001); Kate Buckley (2002-2005); and William Brown (2006-2010). Yando is the production's eighth Ebenezer Scrooge, a role previously played by veteran Chicago actors William J. Norris (1977-1983 and 1985-1990); Frank Galati (1984); Tom Mula (1991-1997); Rick Snyder (1998- 2001); William Brown (2002-2005); Jonathan Weir (2006); and John Judd (2007).
Since 1989, the Goodman has used former dramaturg Tom Creamer's adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic 1843 novella-the unforgettable tale of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy business man with a disdain for holiday cheer in Victorian London. One Christmas, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts who take him on an incredible journey that offers him a new perspective on everything from his dusty past to his dark future, and presents him with an opportunity to sympathize with his fellow man and rediscover life and love. "The granddaddy of Chicago holiday entertainment" (Time Out Chicago), A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre is "the crown jewel of the holiday season" (Daily Herald).
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