If you’re looking for a true holiday treat this season, get your tickets to see A Christmas Carol as soon as possible. Not only were Christmas carols stuck in my head for the 48 hour period following the show, but my desire to give to those in need this season was completely rekindled.
The Ford’s Theatre cast was full of youth and passion that was easily apparent during the numerous musical sequences throughout the show. Director Michael Baron of the Signature Theatre undertook this timeless tale with the intention of creating “a world that evokes the spirit and time period of the Charles Dickens story but with a touch of fancy to celebrate the holiday season.” His use of music and dancing allows for a certain degree of audience involvement — because it’s hard to not sing along to the classic caroling songs this time of year.
Edward Gero‘s portrayal of Ebenizer Scrooge was inspirational. Gero is by far the most experienced member of Baron’s cast, having been in over 70 productions for the Shakespeare Theatre Company during his time in DC. Scrooge’s transition from bitter old man to charitable soul felt so real that you found yourself truly sympathizing with his past heartbreaks, present troubles , and future goals.
To me, the standout members of the cast were the children. These kids have got some pipes on them. They belted out carol after carol with such a jolly demeanor that you couldn’t help but smile along with them. Jordi Parry’s portrayal of Tiny Tim deserves extra praise for making me cry during Scrooge’s visit with the ghost of Christmas Present (played by Anne Stone). That “God Bless us, everyone” gets me every time. Kudos to you Jordi, job well done.
The unsung heroes of the production go to the design team. Shows like A Christmas Carol are seen by audiences with high expectations. Thanks to designers Lee Savage and Alejo Vietti, those expectations were met and surpassed due to accurate sets and costumes rich with a classic Victorian touch. Credit is also due to Rui Rita for lights, Josh Schmidt for music and sound, Shea Sullivan for choreography, and Jay Crowder for Choral Direction, without which the show would not have been the same.
There was definitely a creepy factor to the evening. Had I been a 5-year-old with my parents seeing this play for the first time, I would have definitely shut my eyes as tight as possible when the ghost of Joseph Marley (played by Drew Eshelman) and the ghost of Christmas Future appeared. That fear factor is a definite plus to the show as a whole, forcing audience members to pay attention and feel with Scrooge’s during his epic struggle to learn what matters most in life.
I tried to think of something wrong with this production and came up with nothing. Baron should be proud of his adaptation, cast, and crew. It’s obvious that they’re hearts are full of love for this show — and that’s what makes it a must see.
So don’t be a humbug! Go see A Christmas Carol. It’s worth it.
“A Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre
Now through Janury 3rd
511 10th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Tickets are still available.
All photos by T. Charles Erickson.