A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
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This brand new musical retelling of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic follows the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve. They take him on a tour of his past, present, and future in order to change the man he is to the man he must become. The lushly orchestrated Broadway-style score by Steve Parsons and witty lyrics by John Popa breathe new life into the beloved tale. This brand new adaptation is even more epic, magical, and joyous than the story of Christmas redemption you thought you knew.


SYNOPSIS


Act I 

It’s Christmas Eve in London and the streets are bursting as Londoners joyously finish preparations for the big day.  Only miserly Ebenezer Scrooge seems resistant to the power of Christmas but not even he can stop everyone else from celebrating.  (“Overture/The Season Starts Today.”)

Trying to work but constantly distracted by fools and their Christmas Spirit, Scrooge laments the state of the world around him.  (“Scrooge’s Song.”)  No sooner does he get back to work when he’s visited by nephew Fred, who invites his only uncle over for Christmas dinner, even though he knows the invitation will be ignored.  As expected, Scrooge angrily expels his nephew from his office, only to be interrupted again by 3 Collecting Men, hoping Scrooge will donate to those less fortunate (“Mr. Scrooge.”)  Scrooge dismisses them as sternly as he did Fred, leaving him alone in the office with his clerk Bob Cratchit.  Nervously, Cratchit asks Scrooge for the entirety of Christmas Day off work.  Scrooge reluctantly agrees, but insists Cratchit return to work early the day after Christmas.  Cratchit runs from the office before Scrooge can change his mind.

In the streets, Bob picks up his young song, Tiny Tim, who has to walk with a crutch due to declining health.  Bob briefly encounters Fred and the two of them wish one another the best of the holiday season.  Once Fred leaves, Tim asks if his older sister Martha will be coming home for Christmas dinner.  Unsure of the answer, Bob cheers Tim up by telling him that some day all the children, even Tim, will leave the house.  Despite his happy front, when left to his own thoughts, Bob asks God for a little more time with Tim before his health turns for the worst.  (“Next Christmas.”)

With the workday complete, Scrooge leaves his office, continuing to mutter to himself about the sad state of affairs in London.  He trudges to his own door but before he can open it, a ghostly face -- that of his dead associate Jacob Marley -- takes over his door knocker and bellows his name.  Scrooge recoils in terror but eventually dismisses the occurrence as humbug and retires to his home.  (“Scrooge’s Song” Reprise.)  Once inside, he’s greeted by his housekeeper Mrs. Dilber, who also asks to have Christmas Day off.  Feeling his charity has been abused enough, Scrooge refuses her request and she stomps off.

Finally left alone, Scrooge starts to settle in for the night, only to have the peace shattered by the ghostly appearance of his deceased partner, Jacob Marley.  Scrooge tries to dismiss Marley’s appearance as impossible but Marley is insistent that Scrooge hear his message.  Doomed to an eternity of suffering for the sins of his life, Marley is trying to offer Scrooge a chance at salvation.  Scrooge will be visited by three spirits, who will try to save him from the mighty chain that he is destined to carry for all eternity.  Scrooge tries to disregard the opportunity but Marley is desperate and forceful.  (“Look at These Chains.”)   After delivering his message Marley is violently dragged by his chains back from where he came.

Not sure what to make of his visit from Marley, Scrooge falls asleep, only to be awoken later by the sound of his clock.  Confused, he seems to have woken up earlier than he went to sleep.  Before he can make sense of it, he’s visited by the first of the three ghosts Marley spoke of: The Ghost of Christmas Past, a luminous woman who promises to show Scrooge how to fly as they take their journey through his past.  Despite his reluctance, Scrooge takes her hand and they’re whisked off into the night.  (“Walk With Me.”)

The Ghost and Scrooge land in what is a familiar place to Scrooge.  He recognizes everyone, but they’re from his childhood.  How he wishes to speak to them now!  He’s saddened, though, when he sees a lonely young boy seemingly without friends or family, and recognizes the boy as himself.  Struck by such a sad memory, he continues to ask the Ghost why she’s brought him here.  His spirit lifts briefly when young Scrooge is reunited with his sister, Fan, who comes to bring him home for Christmas.  Again, though, Scrooge’s happiness is tempered by a memory of loss, as Fan passed away after giving birth to her one son, Scrooge’s nephew Fred. 

The Ghost takes Scrooge to another scene, Scrooge is somewhat older now, a strapping teen, seemingly working diligently at the office of Old Mr. Fezziwig.  Upon closer inspection, it’s clear that Scrooge is not working at all, but daydreaming about a potential dance later that night with the girl of his dreams, a girl named Belle.  (“Ten Minutes More Part 1.”) Scrooge’s distraction is interrupted by the appearance of his happy-go-lucky friend Dick Wilkins, and then by Mr. Fezziwig himself, along with his wife.

Mr. Fezziwig pretends to scold the boys before sending them off to get ready for the party.  Mrs. Fezziwig, though, takes a second to help build Ebenezer’s confidence as he gets ready to dance with Belle.  Left alone, Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig remember that they too met under similar circumstances all the years ago.  (“Ten Minutes More Part Two.”)

Mr. Fezziwig’s Christmas party is soon in full swing and brings merriment to everyone with song and dance.  (“Nothing Else Like Christmas.”)  Ebenezer and Belle meet and dance with the other partygoers.  He’s nervous but Belle keeps telling him to try and have fun. 

After the dancing is done, Mr. Fezziwig promises everyone an extra day off work and sends them on their way.  Left alone, Ebenezer tries to finish cleaning the office, hoping to impress Mr. Fezziwig with his ambition.  Belle finds him and he’s embarrassed that he couldn’t afford to get her a Christmas present.  Together they dream of the future where they won’t have to worry about money and where all they’ll need is one another.  (“One Day.”)

This idyllic moment of young romance is interrupted again by The Ghost, who moves the clock forward again, this time showing Ebenezer, slightly older but already hunched over his desk at all hours of the night.  Belle comes in, begging him to join her for Christmas at the Fezziwig’s but Ebenezer stays working.  (“Walk With Me Reprise.”)  Desperate to reach him, Belle asks Ebenezer what she would have to be so he would notice her.  When he continues to look away, she returns his ring to him and leaves.  (“I Have To Know.”)

Devastated by having to witness this personal tragedy again, Scrooge begs The Ghost to take him home.  While it appears that’s what she’s doing, Scrooge actually finds himself again surrounded by the dancers from the past, now moving in a stylized, slower rhythm.  Belle appears and is met by Dick Wilkins and together the two of them dance away together.  Scrooge screams for The Spirit to take him home.  Finally, she returns and lights a match as he shivers before her.  She blows out the match and Scrooge is left alone in the dark.  (“Act One Finale.”)

Act II

Scrooge is again awoken from his sleep, this time by a large boisterous man who calls himself The Ghost of Christmas Present.  The Ghost drags Scrooge out of his bed and into the streets of London, stopping to help as many people as he can along the way, using what are clearly magical powers to help give everyone in need just a little bit more.  (“Beats the Dickens Out of Me.”)

Scrooge bickers with The Ghost, though, wanting to know why he should give away all that he’s worked so hard to earn.  The Ghost scoffs, telling Scrooge that every man must act in the present to help others, otherwise the future has no foundation from which to be built.  (“Forever.”)

When Scrooge doesn’t understand, The Ghost takes him to another part of London, the tiny home of the Cratchit family.  There Scrooge sees Mrs. Cratchit and the children preparing a Christmas dinner, while waiting for Bob and Tiny Tim to come home.  Once Bob and Tim arrive, so does the eldest daughter Martha.  (“The Cratchits.”)  As the younger children clean up for dinner, Bob tells his wife about Tiny Tim’s exemplary behavior in church. 

The family then sits down for Christmas dinner.  Moved by their plight for the first time, Scrooge sees the dinner is too small for so large a family and asks The Ghost to use his magic to make the dinner into a feast.  When Scrooge asks if Tiny Tim will live, The Ghost laments that he sees an empty seat in the chimney corner.  Scrooge is dismayed but The Ghost harshly rebukes him, stating he can only give them enough for one day but asks who will take responsibility for this family in the future.  Before he can respond, Bob Cratchit offers a toast to Mr. Scrooge himself.  Scrooge can’t help but feel unworthy. 

Tiny Tim and Bob then start talking to Martha about moving away and how some day even Tim will move away.  Worried that if he ever leaves he won’t be able to find his way home, Bob reassures him that fathers and sons have a special way of finding one another.  (“A Child Alone.”)

Haunted by what he just saw, Scrooge asks to be taken home.  The Ghost seems to oblige but they end up in a dark section of London.  Instead of his usual neighbors Scrooge finds himself in the presence of rogues and the homeless.  Even though he normally feels threatened by such people, Scrooge is moved by them as they quietly pray amongst themselves for a better life.  (“Rogues’ Song/Shine A Light On Me.”)

As quickly as they arrived in the solemn poor section of London, The Ghost and Scrooge arrive at the home of his nephew Fred, where a raucous party is underway.  Fred’s friend Topper is leading party games and flirting with any lady present.  Fred still takes a moment to lament that his uncle hasn’t arrived.  Rather than let Fred drag the party down, Topper leads the friends in a game of ‘Yes and No.’  Even Scrooge himself tries to get involved, only to be dismayed when the horrible creature Topper is describing turns out to be him.  Despite the laugh, Fred toasts his uncle and he and his wife, Elizabeth again express their love for one another.  (“Yes and No/One Day Reprise.”)

The partygoers dissipate and Scrooge finds himself in the darkness with The Ghost.  The mood has darkened significantly.  The Ghost reveals two ghostly children, Ignorance and Want, who are clinging to his legs.  He tells Scrooge to beware them for they are a source of great evil.  (“Forever” Reprise.)  The Ghost and the children leave and Scrooge is left alone for the first time.

Scrooge turns and sees he is in the presence of a frightening, silent ghost, The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.  Scrooge tries to get answers from The Ghost but all it does is point, and reveal The Collecting Men from earlier, all speaking disrespectfully about someone who had just perished.

The Collecting Men are then interrupted by three surly individuals, one we recognize as Mrs. Dilber, the other are her friends, Old Joe and Molly.  Mrs. Dilber is gloating about the items she took from someone who had just died, going so far as to pull out the bed curtains she took from his room while he lied dead.  Scrooge recognizes the bed curtains as his own.  The three grave robbers then try and justify their outrageous lives to The Collecting Men, who want no part of it.  (“We Build Ourselves Up.”)

Disgusted by what he’d just seen Scrooge begs The Ghost to show him an example of someone paying death the respect it deserves.  Again, The Ghost points, this time to a gravestone.  Before Scrooge can ask whose gravestone it is, the Cratchit family, minus Tiny Tim, emerges, clearly in morning. 

Scrooge is shattered as Bob sings at the grave of Tiny Tim.  Tim’s spirit rises from the grave and tries to offer Bob solace.  Finally, Scrooge himself joins in and the three of them - Scrooge, Bob and Tim - vow to find their way together.  (“The Graveyard.”)

Finally emboldened to take action, Scrooge confronts The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, begging for another chance to make things right.  (“Scrooge’s Epiphany.”)  He runs to The Ghost who flies into the night and leaves Scrooge alone on the ground. 

Scrooge looks up, though, and realizes he’s no longer in the graveyard, he’s home, on his bedroom floor.  He is ecstatic and vows then and there to be a better man and lead a better life.  His first act as a changed man is to give Mrs. Dilber the day off work.  As she runs off he starts getting dressed, only to look out the window and wonder what day it is.  He sees a young boy running through the streets, who tells him it’s Christmas Day.  Scrooge tells the boy to go fetch the prized turkey hanging in the poulterer’s window.  The boy runs off, ready to face the challenge.

Emerging into the crowded streets, Scrooge quickly runs into The Collecting Men, who are not happy to see him.  He tells them they will come to his office the next day and accept a rather large donation from him.  The Collecting Men are practically knocked over by Scrooge’s generosity.

Scrooge then waits for Fred and Elizabeth and begs their forgiveness, promising to join them for dinner later that night, assuming the offer still stands.  Fred is overwhelmed with happiness and he and Belle head home to start making dinner.

The boy returns with the turkey and Scrooge pays him, then slings the turkey over his shoulder and heads to Bob Cratchit’s house.  There he plays a slight prank on Bob, pretending that Bob was supposed to be at work.  Only when Bob stands up for himself does Scrooge let him in on the joke.  He gives the family the turkey and promises to make every day better for the Cratchits from that day forward.

Scrooge and The Cratchits then become part of the chorus in the streets as they celebrate Christmas Day, together as one.

QUOTE


…beautifully captures the spirit of Christmas.

–Kerry Clawson, The Beacon Journal


Characters:

Ebenezer Scrooge - Male, 50’s or older.  Scrooge is a grumpy old man who’s buried a lot of memories by focusing only on his work and material success. Vocal Range: A2 – F#4

Bob Cratchit - Male, 30’s and up. Bob is a good-natured and hard-working man, doing his best to stay positive while supporting a large family and working for a difficult boss. Vocal Range: C3 – Gb4


Fred - Male, 20’s and up.  Fred is the opposite of his uncle Scrooge - upbeat and optimistic he celebrates his life, even though he’s not well off financially. Vocal Range: C3 – G4

Young Ebenezer - Male, late teens-early 20’s.  Unlike his older self, Young Ebenezer tempers his drive to succeed with a dash of wide-eyed romance. Vocal Range: C3 – G4

Belle - Female, late teens-early 20’s.  Belle is the girl of Young Ebenezer’s dreams, who falls for him but is strong and independent enough to walk away when he chooses work over her. Vocal Range: B3 – E5

Elizabeth - Female, 20’s and up.  Elizabeth is Fred’s better half, confident and strong, a modern woman who isn’t afraid to let her voice be heard. Vocal Range: B3 – E5

Tiny Tim - Male, between 8-12.  Tiny Tim is Cratchit’s partially crippled son who still believes in everything around him, despite his physical condition.  Vocal Range: D4 – D5

Ghost of Christmas Past - Female, late teens and up.  The Ghost seems soft and airy, but her seemingly abstract questioning of Scrooge jogs memories intentionally pushes him to address memories he’d be happier to push aside. Vocal Range: B3 – F5

Ghost of Christmas Present - Male, adult.  Loud and boisterous, The Ghost lives in the moment but mixes his good nature with a serious understanding of the weight of time. Vocal Range: Ab2 – Gb4

Jacob Marley - Male, older.  The ghost of Jacob Marley shows the tragic end of a life lived like Scrooge’s.  He deals in heavy emotions at all times - anger and anguish mostly. Vocal Range: C#3 – Eb4

Old Joe - Male, older.  Old Joe is a street person with a wicked sense of humor who’s not afraid to engage in some dirty business. Vocal Range: A2 – E4

Molly - Female, adult.  The female equivalent of Old Joe. Vocal Range: A3 – C5

Collecting Men 1-3. Male.  The Collecting Men are somewhat lovable fops who finish one another’s sentences and have their sales pitch down to a science. Vocal Range: Man 1, Bb2 – F4; Man 2, Bb2 – Bb4 (falsetto;) Man 3, Bb2 – F4

Mr. Fezziwig - Male, 40’s and older.  Mr. Fezziwig is a huge personality who is loved by all and who wants nothing more than to share his success with everyone around him. Vocal Range: C3 – E4

Mrs. Fezziwig - Female, 40’s and older.  Much like Mr. Fezziwig, Mrs. Fezziwig is a big personality who turns everything she touches into a celebration. Vocal Range: C4 – D5

Mrs. Dilber - Female, 50’s and older. Scrooge’s miserable housekeeper who runs with a rougher crowd than Scrooge probably knows. Vocal Range: A3 – C5

Mrs. Cratchit – Female, 30’s and up. Bob Cratchit’s supportive wife and mother to their large brood. Vocal Range: A3 – D5

Martha Cratchit - Female, older teen and up.  Bob Cratchit’s oldest child who has moved out but who makes it home for Christmas, knowing how important it is to the family. Vocal Range: C4 – E5

Belinda Cratchit - Female, pre-teen.  Bob Cratchit’s younger daughter. Vocal Range: A3 – A4

Willie Cratchit - Male, pre-teen.  Bob Cratchit’s younger son. Vocal Range: A3 – A4

Peter Cratchit - Male, early teens.  Bob Cratchit’s oldest son, on the brink of adulthood but not quite there yet. Vocal Range: C3 – D4

Boy Scrooge - Male, pre-teen.  Scrooge as a child is sullen and lonely, mostly content to bury himself in books rather than engage the world around him. Vocal Range: Non-singing role

Fan - Female, pre-teen.  Scrooge’s slightly older sister, her warmth is such that she can make even Boy Scrooge’s saddest day better.  Vocal Range: Non-singing role

Clara - Female, early twenties and older. A guest at Fred’s party and one object of Topper’s affections. Vocal Range: F4 – C5

Cora - Female, early twenties and older. Another guest at Fred’s party and another object of Topper’s affections. Vocal Range: F4 – C5

Bessie Fezziwig - Female, older teen.  Mr. Fezziwig’s pretty daughter. Vocal Range: Sings only with the ensemble

Topper - Male, twenties and older.  Fred’s somewhat rowdy but entertaining friend. Vocal Range: Bb2 – D4

Turkey Boy - Male, pre-teen.  A boy Scrooge meets on the street who is sent on an errand. Vocal Range: Non-singing role

Dick Wilkins - Male, late teen or early twenties.  Young Ebenezer’s best friend, an outgoing and confident young man. Vocal Range: C3 – F4

Rogues’ Song Soloist #1 - Female, any age. A homeless person, lost and alone in the streets at night. Vocal Range: A3 – C#5

Rogues’ Song Soloist #2 - Male, any age.  A homeless person, lost and alone in the streets at night. Vocal Range: F#3 – E4

Ignorance - Boy, pre-teen. A creepy phantom of a child that torments Scrooge. Vocal Range: Non-singing role

Want - Girl, pre-teen. Vocal Range: Non-singing role

CASTING NOTES: The show was developed with the cast doublings listed below in mind.  While not required, they do often create some dramatic parallels (and give the actors something to do in each act.)

Fred/Young Ebenezer

Belle/Elizabeth

Ghost of Christmas Past/Mrs. Cratchit

Ghost of Christmas Present/Mrs. Fezziwig

Jacob Marley/Old Joe

Mrs. Fezziwig/Molly

Fan/Belinda Cratchit

Boy Scrooge/Peter Cratchit

Setting: London, England 1843

John Popa (Book/Lyrics) With composer Steve Parsons, John has written a musical version of A Christmas Carol, as well as Frankenstein: The Puppet Opera, a multimedia interpretation of the classic horror story.  Along with those shows, he’s written freelance articles about theater, comics, and horror movies.

Steve Parsons (Music) is an award-winning composer, orchestrator, and music director. His composing credits include Evensong (for choir and orchestra), Seascapes (RBC Publications), Frankenstein: The Puppet Opera (Translations Art Gallery), Rise City Silent, Sing!, College Slam (video game, Akklaim), and numerous commissions for symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, and choral ensembles. His musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol has enjoyed performances at The Players Guild Theatre in New York (Off-Off Broadway), and Vietnam (The International Choir and Orchestra of Ho Chi Minh City). As an orchestrator, he has arranged the Grateful Dead musical Cumberland Blues (NYMF, NY), Life Could Be A Dream (Additional vocal arrangements/orchestrations, LA), It’s A Wonderful Life (Regional), and Footloose (Additional vocal arrangements/orchestrations, Rodgers & Hammerstein Library). Other credits: Nunsense and Nunsense A-Men! (music preparation, NY), The Tick (member of the “Tickestra,” FOX), and Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz (consultant and contributor, Applause Books).

Performance Royalties are based on theater particulars. Please fill out an application for a personalized quote.

Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement. To download the show rider for A Christmas Carol, click here.

“…this Christmas Carol is a full-bodied and always engaging story about personalities, relationships, actions and consequences.” – Dan Kane, The Repository

“In both melodic and lyrical presence, the music has all the memorable variety and impact of the finest Broadway musical literature.” – Tom Wachunas, Artwatch

Materials: your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date and will include everything necessary for your production and can be ordered in Printed or Digital format. Printed Materials are provided on unbound three-hole punched loose-leaf paper while Digital Materials are provided via email as downloadable PDF files for you to print in-house. All materials are yours to keep! No deposits, no returns.

The required materials for A Christmas Carol include: 

Production Scripts, Keyboard 1/Conductor, Piano/Vocal Scores

Orchestrations: Keyboard 2, Bass, Percussion, Violin, Cello, Reed 1, Reed 2, Trumpet, Bass Trombone, Horn, 

Available Products: 

Print Edition – Beautifully bound scripts available at wholesale costs to sell in your lobby!

Director's Script – Single-sided script with space for director’s notes.

Reference Recording

Logo/PR Pack – Includes high-resolution artwork, ready-designed posters, reviews and pull quotes, and reference photos

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