Jack Thorne’s version of the Charles Dickens holiday tale A Christmas Carol opened on Broadway November 20. The limited engagement of the Matthew Warchus–helmed production at the Lyceum Theatre follows two critically acclaimed runs at London’s Old Vic.
The new interpretation stars Campbell Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge, Andrea Martin as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and LaChanze as the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Scott told Playbill he was wary of doing “just another version” of A Christmas Carol—until he read Thorne’s script.
“My experience with this story is one of an audience member: reading the book, seeing the movies as a little kid,” he said. “Jack has done some incredible things with the ghosts in this version, and yet it’s still the story of this guy who changed in one night. Change is always possible, that’s what makes life so thrilling. I think we’re all a little scared and annoyed by change, and this production really points that out.”
LaChanze, a Tony Award winner for The Color Purple, said she was thrilled to be making her play debut with the production (which still heavily includes music).
“I just loved how the creative team let us tell our version of the story and let us bring our contemporary take to it,” she told Playbill. “Originally the director wanted the ghosts to have different accents, I made [The Ghost of Christmas Present] Nigerian. I didn’t want it to sound too familiar. I wanted her to be Nigerian: elegant, beautiful, and intelligent.”
THE VERDICT: Read Reviews for Jack Thorne's A Christmas Carol on Broadway
Fellow Tony winner Andrea Martin said she had never seen a production of A Christmas Carol before taking on this role. “This is my first ever interaction with the show,” she said. “But this story is timeless. Charles Dickens was a humanitarian, he really believed in second chances and believed in redemption.”
Perhaps the biggest stars of the night were Jai Ram Srinivasan and Sebastian Ortiz, who alternate in the role of Tiny Tim. The pair, who both have cerebral palsy, had never acted before this production.
“It brings me to tears every night,” Martin said. “They are so full of life despite all of the challenges they have; it’s a big blessing.”
Also in attendance on opening night were Broadway alums Jessie Mueller, Brandon Uranowitz, Victor Garber, Andy Karl, Orfeh, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Beth Leavel.
Mueller, who is set to star in Tracy Letts’ The Minutes on Broadway this season, said the show is particularly special to her.
“I’ve been going to some version of A Christmas Carol since I was a little girl,” she said. “I actually met my partner on a production of A Christmas Carol, so it’s a story that holds a very dear place in my heart.”