Holiday time in New York offers a multitude of onstage Christmas shows for those who like to soak in the cheer. But among the city's many yuletide offerings, two stories are always especially popular: The dance world has variations on The Nutcracker, and the theater world has riffs on Charles Dickens's 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. If you want to see Dickens's tale of regret and redemption onstage in 2019, you have more than a dozen options, from a lavish Broadway production to star-studded readings and a downtown marionette show. Here they are, in chronological order. God bless them, every one!
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A Christmas Carol in NYC
Campbell Scott plays Scrooge in the Broadway version of Charles Dickens's classic yuletide story about a miser forcibly unclenched by visions of his own grinchiness. Matthew Warchus directs a 2017 adaptation by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child); the production includes visually arresting sequences and a dozen Christmas carols. Andrea Martin and LaChanze play two of Scrooge's ghostly guests.
John Kevin Jones plays Dickens in this one-hour account of the novelist's classic holiday ghost story, adapted with director Rhonda Dodd. The Merchant's House Museum, formerly the home of a wealthy 19th-century family, provides an atmospheric candlelit setting for Jones's seventh annual engagement.
The team behind the two long-running Imbible shows, A Spirited History of Drinking and Day Drinking, spead their cheer to the holidays with a third alcohol-informational musical comedy, aimed at expanding your noggin and your noggin'. The show looks at the history and future of Christmas quaffs through a story that imagines Ebenezer Scrooge planning a party the day after his big epiphany. Admission includes three craft cocktails.
This hour-long original musical adaptation of Dickens's yuletide fable, created by composer Michael Sgouros and librettist-director Brenda Bell, returns for its 11th year at the West Village's Players Theatre. The updated set is inspired by traditional British panto.
Ridiculous Theatrical Company legend Everett Quinton, the widower of troupe demiurge Charles Ludlam, plays Scrooge in this staged reading of Ludlam's faithful 1979 adaptation of the Dickens classic. Quinton also directs the production, a fundraiser for St. John's Church.
Scrooge is an uptown New York real estate vulture in the Classical Theatre of Harlem's contemporary update of Charles Dickens's holiday novella about a miser who gets spooked into accepting the Christmas spirit. Carl Cofield directs Shawn René Graham's adaptation; modernized carols help keep the yuletide high.
Now in its 16th year, Charles Rice-González's holiday play, which subverts both The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol, imagines a queer Latino couple caught in a journey through time one trippy Christmas eve. Witness ’80s flashbacks, Martha Stewart dinner parties and plenty of angelic divas to light the way.
Patrick Stewart performed his own solo adaptation of Charles Dickens's tightwad-redemption tale on Broadway in 1991, 1992, 1994 and 2001. Now he brings it back at the cozy Theater 511 for just two nights, as a benefit for City Harvest and Ars Nova. (Even priced at $500, the tickets have all sold out, but two $25 tickets per performance will be offered via lottery on TodayTix.)
What better way to enjoy the yuletide season than with a full afternoon of 19th-century literature and day drinking? Siren & Sailor Theatre Co. performs a drinking game set to the text of Charles Dickens's familiar tale of a pinchpenny who comes to see the Christmas light.
A starry cast, led by Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins) as the myopic Magoo, performs a stage version of a 1962 animated TV special by the Funny Girl team of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill. Carl Andress directs a company that also includes Sierra Boggess, Claybourne Elder, Michael Potts, Don Darryl Rivera, Frederick Odgaard, Kyle Selig, Matthew Scott, Klea Blackhurst, Jennifer Cody, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Stephen DeRosa and Jeff Hiller.
No.11 Productions throws a holiday bash in the form of an immersive, interactive retelling of Charles Dickens's haunted Christmas fable, ditrected by Ryan Emmons. Forest VanDyke stars as Scrooge, and audience volunteers are recruited to fill in two dozen smaller roles. The show is followed by a merry dance party, featuring featuring music by the Nat Osborn Band.
The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre strings together its own take on Charles Dickens's tremendously adaptable yuletide fable, this one incorporating elements from many other holiday traditions as well as songs in various languages.
Playwright and Smash maker Theresa Rebeck directs a one-night benefit reading of Dickens's unavoidable yuletide parable. The cast includes Tyne Daly, Michael Cristofer, Thom Sesma, Sharon Washington. Proceeds go toward Primary Stages's programs for teenagers. (A $500 VIP ticket gets you a seat onstage and a cameo role.)
The Al Hirschfeld gallery, located in an old Greenwich Village mansion, is the scene of this site-specific adaptation of Dickens's Christmas chestnut. Jeffries Thaiss plays all the roles, using text from the original novella; Eric Scott Anthony provides continual live accompaniment in the form of music and sound effects. Tea and puddings are served before the show; the Saturday evening performance features a fuller holiday buffet.
Random Access Theatre's Drunks Texts wing gets into the Christmas spirits with a booze-soaked interactive rendition of Charles Dickens's haunting parable about the dangers of parsimony. Expect caroling, puppets and drinking games.