Happy 168th Birthday to Dickens’ Christmas Carol!

19 Dec

Charles Dickens’ holiday classic “A Christmas Carol” was first published on this day in 1843. We celebrate the story’s 168th birthday today! Dickens wrote the book during the early Victorian era when England was experiencing a renewed interest in forgotten Christmas traditions and when new traditions such as the Christmas tree and Christmas cards were starting to gain popularity. The story was an immediate success and has never been out of print since it was first published so many years ago. It’s also been adapted to the stage, film, opera and a whole host of other media, including this condensed, customizable eCard version courtesy of the folks at JibJab.

That gives you the gist of the story, right?

Of course, we’re ticketing a ton of “Christmas Carol” inspired events this week and we highly recommend re-visiting this holiday classic. Whether you see it as a criticism of 19th Century capitalism or as a testimony to the power of charity and good will or if you simply love a great ghost story, there’s something for everyone, humbug or not, in Dicken’s classic tale.

TONIGHT! Monday, December 19

Bah Humbug!  Austin, Texas   Now in its 9th year!  It’s Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” with an amazing twist: one actor plays all the roles in this powerful tale of hope & compassion! Award-winning stage actor J. Damian Gillen transforms before your eyes & ears into all those beloved characters…from Scrooge to Tiny Tim, in this magical and imaginative re-telling of the holiday classic! Complete with numerous costume changes, special effects and traditional Celtic Christmas tunes!  Great fun for the whole family!

Comedy Roast of Mister Scrooge  Saint Paul, Minnesota  Combining one of comedy’s oldest traditions (savagely mocking someone) and one of the holidays oldest traditions (getting too drunk and telling people what they really think), all the classic, beloved characters of the “Christmas Carol” finally get their chance to give Scrooge what’s coming to him with words that Charles Dickens never even knew. This raucous and uproarious evening is the perfect anecdote to those that prefer a little more spice to their holidays. This ain’t the Guthrie’s “Christmas Carol!” Adults only. Strong language.

Tuesday, December 20

A Christmas Carol: A Victorian Reading  Portland, Oregon  “A Christmas Carol” is one of the most beloved holiday stories in the English language. Here is the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his Christmas eve conversion from “covetous old sinner” to “as good a friend as the City of London would ever know”! In the mid 1860s, Charles Dickens took to the stage to give dramatic readings of this story to sell out crowds. Working from the text of the author’s original reading copy, veteran professional actor Thom Bray faithfully re-creates the theatrical experience that Dickens’ Victorian audiences had! Appearing as Mr Dickens himself, Mr. Bray re-creates a magical moment in history when literature met theatre. Performed downtown in the beautiful, Christmas-decorated Old Church, itself a late Victorian building, “A Christmas Carol” is wonderful family entertainment.

A Tex-mas Carol!  San Antonio, Texas  It’s Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” with an amazing twist: one actor plays all the roles in this powerful tale of hope & compassion! Award-winning stage actor J. Damian Gillen transforms before your eyes into all those beloved characters…from Scrooge to Tiny Tim, in this magical and imaginative re-telling of the holiday classic! Complete with numerous costume changes, special effects and traditional Celtic Christmas tunes!  Great fun for the whole family!

Wednesday, December 21

An Improvised Christmas Carol  Seattle, Washington  Seattle’s Funniest Christmas Show Returns! First performed in 1985, “A(n Improvised) Christmas Carol” brings Charles Dickens’s Christmas classic to the stage with a twist! What if Scrooge owned a pet store? What if the Ghost of Christmas Past was a Film Noir detective? What if Tiny Tim wasn’t so tiny? The audience gives suggestions up front, and UP’s improvisers use these suggestions to tell an all new tale of how Christmas can (or can’t!) change Ebenezer Scrooge’s life! This is a great show for families, shoppers, tourists, and audience members of all ages!

A Christmas Carol – The Ballet  Broomfield, Colorado  Danse Etoile’s “A Christmas Carol” captures the classic Dickens tale in a lively story ballet. Set in the 1930s, it tells the story of a stingy old ballerina who is visited by the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future and finds the true meaning of Christmas.. Funny, lively, and at times moving, the ballet will lift your spirits with beautiful choreography, colorful costumes and live singers and musicians. A premiere not to be missed, just in time for the holidays. Suitable for all ages.

A Christmas Carol  Hudson, New York  Now a tradition for six years with Walking The Dog Theater, the performance of this timeless story continues its evolution. Let Dickens’ classic inspire the spirit of the holiday season!

Thursday, December 22

Dickens A Christmas Carol  Vashon Island, Washington  Don’t miss this holiday classic! Drama Dock brings Dicken’s: “A Christmas Carol” to Blue Heron Art Center. Director Christopher Ott shares more about the about the production in a recent interview. Why a Christmas Carol? “Along with five calling birds and mommy’s infidelities with Santa Claus, “Christmas Carol” is an integral part of the holiday season. It is the most recognized tale of redemption in the popular culture of my era, and has been told again and again in many different formats and adaptations. We’re using a script that is as close to Dickens’ words and thematic sensibilities as is possible on a small stage with a time constraint of less than two hours.” Do you think the play is outdated? “I think the play is timelier today, perhaps, than it was when I first saw Mr. Magoo perform it. With our current political climate, the horrendous increase in poverty in America and the wealth gap between the rich and the poor, I believe this play has a message that is completely resonant with the world we live in today and needs to be heard.” But it’s Victorian England. Will the audience get it? “We are planning to update it a wee bit. The costumes will be modern garb and there will be references to what is currently happening in America to help bridge the gap between then and now. It will not be a wholesale rewrite of Dickens’ words, but we will add some touches that make it current.”

A Christmas Carol, The Musical- The East Bay Holiday Destination!  San Leandro, California  Curtain Call brings Broadway to the San Francisco Bay Area. You don’t want to miss Curtain Call’s “A Christmas Carol”. Charles Dickens’ classic gets the full Broadway treatment with moving sets, flying ghosts, a live orchestra, amazing costumes and a cast that is out of this world!

A TEX-mas Carol at Alba’s Italian Restaurant  Fort Worth, Texas  Award-winning actor and Artistic Director of The Company Theatre, Damian Gillen, plays it all from Scrooge to Tiny Tim in the 9th annual Texas tour of this holiday favorite. This NEW adaptation is called “A TEX-mas Carol” and is still Charles Dickens timeless tale of hope and compassion but this time with a TEXAS twist!  Join ol’ Cowboy Timbo as he spins ya a tall tale round the fire of an ornery old coot by the name of Scrooge and about his one-night haunted hayride of redemption!

Bob Cratchit and Mr. Tightwad  North Hollywood, California  The adventures of Bob Cratchit and Scrooge come to life for the 2011 holiday season, with a new twist! This wild and wonderful musical is set in the Victorian era, but its energy and songs are right up to date. This production of “Bob Cratchit and Mr. Tightwad” is the world premiere! Katrina Wood wrote the adaptation as well as the music and lyrics. Art Wood is the executive producer and musical director. Cratchit! Catch it!

Charles Dickens Begrudgingly Performs “A Christmas Carol.” Again.  Chicago, Illinois  In 1853, ten years after having dashed off his surprisingly successful holiday story, “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens gave his first public reading of the work. The effort was so well received, as well as providing much needed cash, that he continued to perform these celebrated readings for the rest of his career. Now, almost 160 years later, performances of “A Christmas Carol” have become one of our most enduring holiday traditions. The only problem is that Dickens himself has long grown tired of this annual reading. Reports of his death in 1870 were greatly exaggerated, and year after year he has sustained himself with these solo performances, albeit with dwindling enthusiasm as he has moved from the grand concert halls of London to finally, this year, The Building Stage in Chicago’s industrial West Loop. Now, facing his 200th birthday, Dickens has reached the breaking point. He knows he must grant the holiday wishes of his audience but desperately hopes to entertain them with anything but another performance of “A Christmas Carol.”  Created and performed by The Building Stage artistic director Blake Montgomery, “Charles Dickens Begrudgingly Performs “A Christmas Carol.” Again” both celebrates and skewers our attachment to this classic tale. Performed in an invitingly warm Victorian atmosphere filled with holiday treats and traditions, the play captures the essence of the Dickens story and provides an affectionate view of the great author himself rediscovering his own passion.

If Scrooge was a Brother  Memphis, Tennessee  It’s Christmas Eve and Eb Scroo is seeking to snuff out the seasons cheer by demanding that all debts owed him be satisfied before nightfall. Facing imprisonment or a Christmas without presents and a feast, the residents are desperate. In this urban spin of Dickens’ “Christmas Carol,” the ghosts and characters are icons of Black culture and the songs stem from the traditions of gospel, R&B and even reggae.

Carol’s Christmas  Arlington, Virginia  Carol’s been through the worst breakup of her life and refuses to leave the house. Her best friend can’t get her to budge, so her sister borrows from Dickens. Can the ghosts of Ex-Boyfriend Past, Ex-Husband Present, and Partner-Yet-to-Be convince her to open the door and get on with her life? Pinky Swear Productions is proud to present the world premier of Marni Penning’s “Carol’s Christmas,” the 2007 runner-up for the Robert J. Pickering Award for Playwriting Excellence. Directed by Toni Rae Brotons (Cabaret XXX, 2011 Capital Fringe Festival Best Musical), “Carol’s Christmas” features Pinky Swear Company members Karen Lange and Allyson Harkey with Robin Covington, Christopher Herring and Jack Powers in a hilarious holiday comedy for grown-ups and humbugs everywhere.

Friday, December 23

Blackout Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol”  Albuquerque, New Mexico  It’s the Great Depression, seven lonely and downtrodden passengers are stuck in the St. Louis train station when they hear that their train will be delayed. In order to pass the time and take their mind off the late train (and the misery of their lives) the decide to retell the story of “A Christmas Carol.” Their retelling results in a fantastical and rich story that takes you to the heart of that miser Ebeneezer Scrooge and reminds everyone of what the holiday season is really all about.

Carol’s Christmas  Hollywood, California  Carol, a drunken drag queen is visited by three outrageous ghosts, and relives her past as she struggles to find the meaning of Christmas. Contains sexual content-not fit for children.

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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Arts, Comedy, Dance, Drag, Seasonal, Theater


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