39th Annual “A Christmas Carol” Starts Performances Nov. 19 at Goodman Theatre
With new stage magic and Chicago favorites, Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol—hailed as “the crown jewel of the holiday season” (Daily Herald) and “no better way to get into the holiday spirit” (Chicago Sun-Times)—takes the stage in its 39th year. A Christmas Carol appears November 19 – December 31. More information and tickets available here.
Returning for his fourth year, Henry Wishcamper ’s directs Charles Dickens’ tale of hope and redemption. His production has been praised as “wise and warm… sometimes about loss, sometimes renewal, always about treasur[ing] our time huddled together as ‘fellow-passengers to the grave’” (Chicago Tribune). Leading the cast of 24 is acclaimed Chicago actor Larry Yando, who brings “great joy to the role of Scrooge” (Newcity) as he journeys through his past, present and future to discover the importance of kindness and compassion towards others.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to direct A Christmas Carol at the Goodman, where this timeless story is told in a production that pioneered inclusive casting—a notion that was ground-breaking three decades ago, but common practice today and absolutely essential to the universality of Dickens’ message,” said Wishcamper, Goodman Artistic Associate whose recent Goodman productions include The Matchmaker and The Little Foxes. “ Each year, we approach the production with fresh eyes and make some changes that we hope will delight audiences—both those who are new and those who make the production an annual tradition—and further extend and reflect the story’s relevance in 2016.”
Wishcamper’s cast includes returning favorites Ron E. Rains as Bob Cratchit; Joe Foust as Ghost of Jacob Marley; Travis A. Knight as Ghost of Christmas Past; Kim Schultz as Ghost of Christmas Present; Penelope Walker as Mrs. Fezzwig; Kareem Bandealy as Narrator and Scrooge Alternate; John Lister, who last appeared in the 2011 production, as Mr. Fezziwig; and Nathaniel Buescher in his third year as Tiny Tim, and more. Newcomers include Hannah Gomez, Mariah Gordon, Emma Ladji, Sadieh Rifai, Aaron Stone and Jonah D. Winston.
In addition, Wishcamper has cast Kristina Valada-Viars as Scrooge’s niece, “Frida”—a role traditionally rendered as “Fred”—while J. Salome Martinez portrays Frida’s husband, Abe.
A long-standing holiday tradition for Chicago audiences (and beyond)—more than 1.2 million theatergoers have attended the Goodman’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. First performed in 1978 at the Goodman’s original venue at the Art Institute, the annual offering has hosted 10 directors, 33 Tiny Tims and eight Ebenezer Scrooges who’ve collectively uttered nearly 23,000 “Bah Humbugs.”
As traditionally done for the past 29 years, cast members from A Christmas Carol will be present in the lobby following each performance to collect donations to support Season of Concern, an organization that supports local artists with illnesses, as well as Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS. Since 1991 audiences have raised over $400,000 to spread the holiday spirit to those in need.
About Goodman Theatre
America’s “Best Regional Theatre” (Time magazine) and “Chicago’s flagship resident stage” (Chicago Tribune), Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit organization distinguished by the quality and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Founded in 1925, the Goodman is led by Robert Falls—“Chicago’s most essential director” (Chicago Tribune), who marks 30 years as Artistic Director this season—and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, who is celebrated for his vision and leadership over nearly four decades. Dedicated to new plays, reimagined classics and large-scale musical theater works, Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned hundreds of awards for artistic excellence, including: two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, nearly 160 Jeff Awards and more. Over the past three decades, audiences have experienced more than 150 world or American premieres, 30 major musical productions, as well as nationally and internationally celebrated productions of classic works (including Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey into Night, King Lear and The Iceman Cometh, many in collaboration with actor Brian Dennehy). In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” For nearly four decades, the annual holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol has created a new generation of theatergoers.
The 2016 opening of the Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement (“the Alice”) launched the next phase in the Goodman’s decades-long commitment as an arts and community organization dedicated to educating Chicago youth and promoting lifelong learning. Programs are offered year-round and free of charge. Eighty-five percent of the Goodman’s youth program participants come from underserved communities.
Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.
Today, Goodman Theatre leadership includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Joan Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Cynthia K. Scholl is Women’s Board President and Justin A. Kulovsek is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.
Visit the Goodman virtually at GoodmanTheatre.org