‘A Christmas Carol’ hits Ford’s Theatre in full glory for the first time since 2019

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'A Christmas Carol' at Ford's Theatre (Part 1)

It just wouldn’t be the holiday season without “A Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre.

The beloved annual production runs at the historic theater now through Dec. 31.

“I’m in my sixth year, including the radio play [in 2020] and the abridged version that we did last year,” actor Craig Wallace told WTOP. “This is the full complement. We have our young company with us; we have the singing, the dancing, all of the things that people have come to love about this production. … This is the first time we’re doing it since 2019.”

Based on Dickens’ 1843 novella, the play follows London miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who’s visited by the ghost of his late business partner Jacob Marley, the Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, all transforming him from a greedy curmudgeon to a generous soul helping Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.

“We find Ebenezer Scrooge as a man who lacks compassion, he lacks caring, I think he’s a man who’s been hurt in his past,” Wallace said. “As a result, he is visited by three ghosts that show him his past life, his present life and what his future life will be if he doesn’t find love, compassion, charity and hope for his fellow man.”

Stephen Schmidt returns as the Ghost of Jacob Marley; Justine Moral is back as the Ghost of Christmas Past; Rayanne Gonzales returns as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is created by theater magic directed by Michael Baron. Each ghost also has a real-world counterpart like the farmhands in “The Wizard of Oz.”

“The doll vendor reveals itself as Christmas Past; the fruit vendor is Christmas Present and the clock vendor is Christmas Yet to Come,” said Wallace. “We see them in regular life and then we see them in the fantastic life of Scrooge’s journey on Christmas Eve.”

He says Scrooge has such a fun character arc from curmudgeon to jubilation.

At the beginning, Wallace said, “He’s very stiff; he’s rigid; he’s not breathing. After he goes through this transformation, the idea of breathing and seeing life in a new way and not being afraid to dance in the street — I think we all want to do that. I think we all want the courage to be able to dance in the street on Christmas morning.”

As always, the cast will accept charitable donations at the end of the show. You can donate live, or online by scanning a QR code.

This year’s charity is For the Love of Children. “It’s a local organization that provides out-of-classroom educational services to D.C.’s under-resourced youth to help students succeed from second grade to college and beyond,” Wallace said.

The donations speak to the play’s enduring theme of Dickensian inequality.

“It’s filled with all of the love and joy of Christmas, but there’s also the other side of that: that people are struggling,” said Wallace. “Even in 2022, people are struggling. Scrooge looks away and part of the thing Scrooge learns is that he cannot afford to look away, and I think that’s a message that we all can embrace.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'A Christmas Carol' at Ford's Theatre (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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