Fans of Charles Dickens’ classic tale of redemption and the Christmas spirit will have five different productions to choose from this holiday season.
A Christmas Carol follows the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean-spirited, miserly old man who hates Christmas. One fateful Christmas Eve, he is taken on a journey where he meets the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. These supernatural encounters show him the error of his ways and the old man has a change of heart, becoming more generous and compassionate as he learns to live out the true meaning of Christmas.
The story has been adapted numerous times on stage and on screen. This year, five versions of A Christmas Carol will be streaming on various platforms beginning the end of November to January 2021.
1. Geffen Playhouse production (November 28 to January 3)
The streaming performance was adapted from the 2018 stage production directed by Michael Arden (Spring Awakening, Once on this Island). The proceeds from this production will benefit more than 50 U.S. theaters. Tickets bought from the production’s website for viewing in the U.S. will automatically benefit the closest theatre according to the viewer’s billing ZIP code, with international ticket proceeds split among all participating theatres.
2. Estella Scrooge: A Christmas Carol with a Twist (Until January 31)
This version also features characters and storylines from other Dickens classics such as Great Expectations, Little Dorrit, Bleak House, Nicholas Nickleby, and The Pickwick Papers.
This show is billed as “the first fully-realized musical to be filmed in virtual production” and, as opposed to the Zoom squares that have become commonplace during the lockdown, this production makes use of greenscreen technology, virtual sets, hundreds of images, animations, and digital environments blended in post-production with the footage of the actors.
The book and direction are by Tony winner John Caird (Les Misérables, Nicholas Nickelby) with book, music, and lyrics by Paul Gordon (Jane Eyre). Estella Scrooge stars Betsy Wolfe (Waitress) as the title character, with Clifton Duncan (The Play That Goes Wrong) as Pip Nickleby, Lauren Patten (Jagged Little Pill) as Dawkins, Patrick Page (Hadestown) as MR. Merdle, Carolee Carmello (Parade) as Marla Havisham, Danny Burstein (Moulin Rouge!) as Ebenezer Scrooge, and an extensive cast of Broadway veterans.
3. The Old Vic: In Camera (December 12 to 24)
This version was adapted by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and stars The Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln as Ebenezer Scrooge.
This production is directed by Matthew Warchus (Groundhog Day, Matilda) and is part of the Old VIc’s In Camera series which has streamed several plays live from the stage of London’s Old Vic theater without an audience. The live production was nominated for a Tony last year.
The cast will also include Melissa Allan, Rosanna Bates, John Dagleish, Tim van Eyken, Sam Lathwood, Eugene McCoy, Myra McFadyen, Gloria Obianyo, Maria Omakinwa, Golda Rosheuvel, Michael Rouse, Clive Rowe, and Sam Townsend, with Rayhaan Kufuor-Gray, Lara Mehmet, Lenny Rush, and Eleanor Stollery sharing the role of Tiny Tim.
4. Primary Stages (December 16 to 20)
This virtual reading is adapted by Smash creator Theresa Rebeck and Erin Daley and is directed by Rebeck.
Tony nominee Raúl Esparza will star as Scrooge, having recently appeared in Rebeck’s play Seared. Joining him in the cast of this reading are his Seared co-stars Krysta Rodriguez, David Mason, and W. Tré Davis as well as Mary Bacon, Abadi Bacon Leynse, Kimberly Chatterjee, and Matthew Saldivar.
Viewers may purchase tickets for the live stream and a VIP post-show holiday party and the proceeds will go to the Primary Stages Teen Programs. All on-demand viewings will be free but reservations are required.
5. Trinity Rep (December 17 to January 10)
This production by Rhode Island’s Trinity Rep will be streaming for free. It stars Joe Wilson, Jr. as Ebenezer Scrooge and will be directed by Curt Columbus.
This adaptation is an hour long and was filmed partially in-person under safety guidelines and partially remotely from actors’ homes. It will also be available for virtual school field trips.