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(Above) Larry Yando as Scrooge reflects on his life choices in Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol. Photos by Liz Lauren.

3-Dec-23 – Now in its fifth decade of delighting families, Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” is back at The Goodman Theatre through December 31.

“A Christmas Carol is a Chicago tradition, one that I celebrated from the audience as a child, then as a mom, and now as an artist,” said heralded Chicago director Jessica Thebus. “This year, we lean into the notion of how we can find each other in celebration, when so much that we encounter in our world seeks to divide us.”

Thebus returns for her fourth season – at the helm of a diverse cast of newcomers and familiar faces.

The holiday classic, adapted by Tom Creamer, tells the story of a stingy, greedy old man who transforms into the most generous person on the planet as he is visited by four ghosts. It is a timeless tale of family, love, and redemption.

Northwestern University

“My vision for the show this year is for an urgent call for peace,” said Thebus (left). “I also want the audience to come away with having seen this show with many generations and enjoying its celebratory appeal. I wanted people to still feel the experience as something fresh and surprising.”

Northwestern University

Everyone’s beloved miser, Larry Yando, takes on his 16th year as Ebenezer Scrooge. His performance always seems refreshed as if he’s doing it for the first time.

Applause to Christian Lucas, making his debut as Tiny Tim.

Opening night included Goodman’s annual tree lighting, accompanied by a chorus from the Benet Academy Madrigals and William Buchholz on flute.

“As I watched the snow come down on opening night, I was reminded that the little blessing of snow is the opening of peace,” recalled Thebus. “It’s never too late to change and celebrate.”

The Victorian-era costumes are colorful and festive. Heidi Sue McMath’s costume designs are brilliant. The movable sets by set designer Todd Rosenthal engage the audience with Victorian England homes, offices, and streets that come to life like a snow globe. The special effects, lighting, and dramatic music shake the audience throughout the show.

The four ghosts who visit Scrooge, taking him through a flashback of his life and giving him the opportunity to change his ways, are all different and powerful. Thebus says she wanted the ghosts to “convey a strong sense of power, both to Scrooge and the audience,” and this reviewer believes Thebus accomplished this and more.

(Right) Larry Yando as Scrooge and trans/nonbinary performer Lucky Stiff as the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Photo by Liz Lauren

Next up for Thebus is directing the original play, “How to Know the Wildflowers,” written by Northwestern University faculty member Julie Marie Myatt and performed at the university in April. Thebus has taught directing at NU for more than ten years. Her new project focuses on a woman during the “Russian flu” pandemic in the United States in 1889 who connected to nature to bring her back to life.

When asked about the similarities between the two productions, Thebus said, “They’re both about healing and the power of the human spirit.”

Goodman offering enhanced, accessible performances

Every year, The Goodman offers optional performances to enhance the experience for all types of audiences.

A “touch tour” allows audience members to walk on stage before the theatre opens and touch costumes, props, and other physical pieces of the sets. A touch tour and audio-described performance via headsets is scheduled for December 9 at 12:30 p.m., with another touch tour at 2:00 p.m.

Photo by Liz Lauren

An ASL-interpreted performance will be offered on December 15 at 7:30 p.m.

(Left) The cast of “A Christmas Carol,” now playing at The Goodman Theatre.

There will also be a performance, on December 17 at 2:00 p.m., captioned with an LED sign. Then at 7:00 p.m., the performance will be captioned in Spanish.

And on December 30 at 2:00 p.m., a “sensory-friendly” performance will create a performing arts experience for patrons with other social, cognitive, or physical challenges.

Tickets: A Christmas Carol 2023