Amongst all the parties and gift-giving, it becomes shockingly easy to forget what Christmas is truly about -- being loving, kind, and charitable toward our fellow man. Seeing a show like A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theater is a good way to remind us what is so special about this holiday. The well-known tale tells the story of a greedy old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future in order to learn an important lesson about how he should treat others. Based on Charles Dickens’s novel of the same name, the show has become a major Christmas icon around the world.
The Guthrie’s performance of the show had some incredible highlights, such as the amazing set and special effects, the strong presence and abilities of the entire cast, and the beautiful, period-appropriate costumes. Upon entering the theater, I was immediately impressed by the detailing on the set -- the frost on the storefront windows, the piles of snow surrounding the edge of the thrust stage, the gentle glow of the streetlamps. Because the show is only performed in one theater, it included a large, intricately detailed rotating house and a variety of incredible special effects, which we don’t always get to see at the traveling Orpheum performances. For example, a giant window above Scrooge’s bedroom could be opened to allow the Ghost of Christmas Past (Tracey Maloney) to drop down into the room on wires. There was also a trapdoor in the middle of stage and a few different fog machines that gave the spirits a very dramatic exit and added to the magic of the show.
I was also very impressed by the show’s immense talent. J.C. Cutler did an incredible job as Scrooge, making the intimidating character a bit more funny and relatable with a few jokes here and there. Each of the Christmas ghosts did a very good job with their parts, but I especially liked the grace and poise that Tracey Maloney brought to the Ghost of Christmas Past with her grand gestures and royal posture. The ensemble also did a very good job, giving their characters different quirks that made them all unique and fun to watch.
One of the most amazing thing about the show, in my opinion, was the beautiful costumes. They all had amazing detailing and added to the personality of each character. For example, Maloney’s ghost wore a long, flowy white gown that allowed her to almost float across the stage, adding to her ghostly appearance. There were obvious differences between the expensive fabrics and tattered rags that the rich and poor character’s wore, making it easy to see who belonged to which class in the show. These details made the show even more enjoyable because it was obvious that a lot of people had put their heart and soul into the show.
Overall, the show was very enjoyable and seemed to put everyone into the Christmas spirit. If you’re looking to start a new holiday tradition, I’d definitely suggest taking this show into consideration.