A Christmas Carol (musical)
|A Christmas Carol|
|Basis||Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol|
|Productions||1994 Madison Square Garden
A Christmas Carol is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and book by Mike Ockrent and Lynn Ahrens. The musical is based on Charles Dickens' 1843 novella of the same name. The show was presented annually at the Paramount Theatre in Madison Square Garden from December 1, 1994 to December 27, 2003.
The original 1994 production was directed by Mike Ockrent with choreography by Susan Stroman, sets by Tony Walton, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, sound by Tony Meoloa, and musical direction by Paul Gemignani. Walter Charles played Ebenezer Scrooge.
Tim Curry, Tony Randall, Roddy McDowall, (in his last and final role before his lung cancer death in October 1998) Frank Langella, Tony Roberts, Jim Dale, and Roger Daltrey have all played the iconic role of Ebenezer Scrooge in productions of A Christmas Carol.
In 2004, the production was adapted for television and produced by Hallmark Entertainment for NBC. It was directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman and features Kelsey Grammer as Ebenezer Scrooge, Jason Alexander as Jacob Marley, Jesse L. Martin as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Jennifer Love Hewitt as Scrooge's former fiancee Emily whose name is Belle in the novel and other film adaptations.
The opening numbers are "The Years Are Passing By" and "Jolly, Rich, and Fat". In later productions the two numbers are combined as "Jolly Good Time." Scrooge first encounters the three ghosts of Christmas in their real-world guises as a lamplighter (Past), a charity show barker (Present), and a blind beggar woman (sometimes cast as Future) ("Nothing to Do With Me"). Scrooge's long-suffering employee Bob Cratchit buys a Christmas chicken with his son Tiny Tim ("You Mean More to Me").
The visit of the ghost of Jacob Marley ("Link By Link"), features a half-dozen singing, dancing spirits presented with various levels of makeup and special effects. One of these ghosts in this version is known to be an old colleague of Scrooge and Marley's, Mr. Haynes, who was said to be "mean to the bone", resulting in his charred skeleton. Other puns include a spirit with a safe embedded in his chest, who "never had a heart".
The Ghost of Christmas Past reinforces the character's signature theme of illuminating Scrooge's worldview ("The Lights of Long Ago"). (One notable departure from Dickens' novella in this portion of the film is its depiction of Ebenezer Scrooge's father, identified as John William Scrooge, being sentenced to debtors' prison while his horrified family looks on in a scene inspired by events from Dickens' own childhood.)
The Ghost of Christmas Present ("Abundance and Charity" and "Christmas Together"), makes his point that Christmas is a time for celebration, generosity, and fellowship. The former takes place at a fantastical version of the charity show he was seen promoting on Christmas Eve, and the latter whisks Scrooge on a tour of London that includes the homes of his nephew Fred, his clerk Bob Cratchit, and Mr. Smythe, a recently widowed client of Scrooge's lending house.
The entire Christmas Future ("Dancing On Your Grave", "You Mean More to Me (Reprise)", and "Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Today"), culminates in Scrooge's awakening in his bedroom on Christmas morning.
"What a Day, What a Sky" bookends "Nothing to Do With Me", dramatizing Scrooge's new outlook as he races through the streets of London making amends. (The film concludes with a reprise of "Christmas Together" featuring the entire cast.)
- "The Years Are Passing By" – Gravedigger
- "Jolly, Rich and Fat (A Jolly Good Time)" – Ensemble
- "Nothing to Do With Me" – Scrooge, Cratchit
- "Street Song"("Nothing To Do With Me") – Scrooge, Cratchit, Fred, Jonathan, Sandwich Board Man, Lamplighter, Blind Old Hag, Ensemble
- "You Mean More To Me" - Cratchit, Tiny Tim
- "Link By Link" – Ghost of Jacob Marley, Ensemble
- "The Lights of Long Ago" (Part 1) – Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge Family
- "God Bless Us, Everyone" – Scrooge's Mother, Fan (aged 6), Scrooge (aged 8)
- "A Place Called Home" – Scrooge at 18, Emily, Scrooge
- "Mr. Fezziwig's Annual Christmas Ball" – Fezziwig, Mrs. Fezziwig, Scrooge, Ghost of Christmas Past, Ensemble
- "The Lights of Long Ago" (Part 2) – Scrooge (aged 18), Marley as a Young Man, Emily, People from Scrooge's Past
- "Abundance And Charity" – Ghost of Christmas Present, Ensemble
- "Christmas Together" – Tiny Tim, Ghost of Christmas Present, Cratchit Family, Fred, Ensemble
- "Dancing On Your Grave" – Scrooge, Mrs. Mops, Ensemble
- "Yesterday, Tomorrow And Today" – Scrooge
- "The Years Are Passing By" (reprise) - Jonathan
- "Nothing to Do With Me" (reprise) - Scrooge
- "Christmas Together" (reprise) – Company
- "God Bless Us Everyone" – Company
1995 Recording cast
- Punch and Judy Man/Marley as a young man/Undertaker - Christopher Sieber
- Punch and Judy Woman - Donna Lee Marshall
- Organ Grinder - Robert Ousley
- Grave Digger - Bill Nolte
- Mr. Smythe - Joseph Kolinski
- Jack Smythe - Andy Jobe
- Grace Smythe - Lindsay Jobe
- Scrooge - Walter Charles
- Cratchit - Nick Corley
- Charity Men - Robert Ousley, Martin Van Treuren, Walter Willison
- Old Joe/Mr. Hawkins - Ken McMullen
- Match Girl - Arlene Pierret
- Street Urchins and Children - Matthew F. Byrne, Jacy De Filippo, Justin Bartholemew Kamen, Olivia Oguma, Christopher Mark Petrizzo, P.J. Smith
- Sandwich Board Man/Ghost of Christmas Present - Michael Mandell
- Fred - Robert Westenberg
- Jonathan - Jason Fuchs
- Lamplighter/Ghost of Christmas Past - Ken Jennings
- Blind Hag/Scrooge's Mother - Andrea Frierson Toney
- Mrs. Mops - Darcy Pulliam
- Ghost of Jacob Marley - Jeff Keller
- Judge - Michael H. Ingram
- Scrooge at 8 - David Gallagher
- Fan at 6 - Mary Elizabeth Albano
- Scrooge's Father/Undertaker - Michael X. Martin
- Scrooge at 12 - Ramzi Khalaf
- Fan at 10 - Jacy De Filippo or Olivia Oguma
- Fezziwig - Gerry Vichi
- Scrooge at 18 - Michael Christopher Moore
- Mrs. Fezziwig - Mary Stout
- Emily - Emily Skinner
- Tiny Tim - Matthew Mezzacappa
- Mrs. Cratchit - Joy Hermalyn
- The Cratchit Children - Mary Elizabeth Albano, Betsy Chang, David Gallagher, Sean Thomas Morrissey
- Sally, Fred's Wife - Natalie Toro
- Ensemble - Joan Barber, Leslie Ball, Renee Bergeron, Christophe Caballero, Candy Cook, Madeleine Doherty, Mark Dovey, Donna Dunmire, Melissa Haizlip, Michael Howard-Jones, Mark S. Hoebee, Don Johanson, Eric H. Kaufman, John-Charles, Kelly, David Lowenstein, Seth Malkin, Carol Lee Meadows, Karen Murphy, Tom Pardoe, Gail Pennington, Angela Piccinni, Josef Reiter, Pamela Remler, Sam Reni, Eric Riley, Rommy Sandhu, Erin Stoddard Tracy Terstriep, Cynthia Thole, Matthew J. Vargo, Billy Vitelli, Theara J. Ward, Whitney Webster
- Angels - Blessed Sacrament Chorus of Staten Island, PS 26 Chorus, Righteousness Unlimted, William F. Halloran Vocal Ensemble-School 22
David Richards, reviewing for The New York Times, wrote of the 1994 premiere performance, "It would be ill-advised to head off to this 'Christmas Carol' expecting great performances, unless you're expecting them from the stagehands... Although Walter Charles, who portrays Scrooge, is onstage constantly, you can forget for long patches that 'A Christmas Carol' is about his conversion to goodness." He wrote of the score, "After the spectacle, the score by Mr. Menken (with lyrics by Ms. Ahrens) is the production's major drawing card... Musically speaking, Mr. Menken is an optimist, which sometimes puts him at odds with Dickens but probably makes him the right man when it comes to spreading good cheer. Ms. Ahrens keeps her lyrics simple. To the extent that I could hear them, they are not unintelligent."
Lawrence Van Gelder reviewed the 2002 production for The New York Times writing, "Music, dance, colorful costumes and atmospheric scenery -- all intended to make holiday theatergoing a pleasant family experience -- are marshaled here to satisfying effect." Of F. Murray Abraham's performance, Gelder wrote: "Far from the terrifying figure who made blind men's dogs tug their owners into doorways and up courts, Mr. Abraham can scarcely contain the good cheer waiting to burst out in little bits of business before his ghostly encounters."
- "A Christmas Carol Additional Facts". A Christmas Carol (Broadway)at Music Theatre International (MTI). Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- Richards, David (December 2, 1994). "A Famous Miser, Tiny Tim And a Tap-Dancing Chorus". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- Van Gelder, Lawrence (December 11, 2002). "Scrooge's Benign Tendencies Slip Out". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "A Christmas Carol Synopsis and Production". A Christmas Carol (Broadway)at Music Theatre International (MTI). Retrieved 24 January 2010.
- Musical Numbers and Scenes at guidetomusicaltheatre.com
- A Christmas Carol at the Music Theatre International website