A Christmas Carol (Broadway)
Ebeneezer Scrooge and his ghostly encounters come to life in this lavish and thrilling Broadway adaptation.
Show Essentials
12
Roles
+ Ensemble
U
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

The musical opens at the Royal Exchange. "London Town Carol" is sung, and lamps glow. Christmas is near and all are awaiting the early close of the Exchange so the holiday can officially start. From bankers to charwomen, all wish each other "A Jolly Good Time," looking forward to the holiday fun ahead. Mr. Smythe and his daughter, Grace, enter looking for Ebenezer Scrooge, hoping he will give them a bit more time to pay their mortgage. In a draft of cold wind, Scrooge enters with his clerk, Bob Cratchit. Mr. Smythe approaches Scrooge to ask for more time to pay--he needs money for his wife's funeral. But Scrooge denies the request, and tells little Grace, "You'll learn soon enough, child, that Christmas is a HUMBUG!" When asked for charity for the poor, Scrooge replies,"Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?" Cratchit tells him about his sickly youngest son, Tiny Tim, but Scrooge pays little mind to him and grudgingly gives him Christmas off. Scrooge believes that charity has "Nothing To Do With Me," as he ventures home through the streets, encountering some of the denizens of the city and treating them all rudely. The funeral of Mrs. Smythe passes, giving Scrooge a chill.

We travel to Cratchit's humble home, where Bob Cratchit and his son, Tiny Tim, set off to buy the makings of their meager Christmas feast. Bob tells his son that "You Mean More To Me" than anything. Meanwhile Scrooge meets his nephew Fred, who invites him for Christmas dinner. Scrooge has never met Fred's wife, Sally. Fred assures his uncle he wants nothing from him, but Scrooge sends him on his way.

Scrooge's harsh treatment of his fellow Londoners includes a sandwich board man, advertising a Christmas pantomime, a blind old hag, and a lamplighter (all of whom we will meet again as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet To Be). He refuses to buy tickets to the pantomime, refuses to help the lamplighter, and refuses to give alms to the blind old hag.

When he arrives at his home he has a vision--the face of his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley. Later, in his parlor, the Ghost of Marley materializes, bound in chains that he, himself, forged. Marley conjures up all the mournful ghosts of greedy former business associates, who scare Scrooge silly and try to convince him to change his ways ("Link By Link"). Marley tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts "who yet may stop you ending up like me."

The clock chimes One, and Scrooge is awakened by a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past (who looks remarkably like the Lamplighter). The ghost sings of "The Lights of Long Ago" and shows Scrooge scenes from his past: his father being taken to jail for non-payment of debts, and his separation from his mother and his beloved sister, Fan. Next we see Scrooge at twelve saving every cent he earns, working in a boot factory. The young boy writes to his sister Fan and dreams of "A Place Called Home" but Fan will die giving birth to Fred. Next, Scrooge is reminded how joyous he used to be at "Mr. Fezziwig's Annual Christmas Ball." Here Scrooge realizes that an employer can make his workers happy. While the festivities continue, Scrooge watches his younger self, still filled with light, as he propose to his beloved Emily ("A Place Called Home").

Young Scrooge and Marley go into business, growing more ruthless as they become more and more successful. They turn on their former benefactor, jolly Mr. Fezziwig, and demand he repay a debt to them. Later, Emily, breaks off her engagement with Ebenezer, returning her gold engagement ring, which she feels he will value more than her. Desperate to end these painful visions, Scrooge chases the Ghost of Christmas Past away, and is left desolate and alone.

The clock strikes Two, and Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present (Sandwichboard Man.) The ghost presents Scrooge with a lavish array of Christmas treats which all come to life and dance ("Abundance and Charity"). Next the ghost whisks Scrooge off to Bob Cratchit's house where the family enjoys "Christmas Together." "Christmas Together" continues with a visit to Fred's house, where everyone toasts Scrooge, despite his absence; finally, all of London celebrates love, friendship, and family--the true joys of Christmas, "together, all over the earth." The ghost shows Scrooge how fragile Tiny Tim is; then he reveals two more children in a desperate state of need: they are Ignorance and Want. When asked if Tiny Tim will live, Scrooge is told that if these shadows remain unaltered by the future, the child will die.

Scrooge begs to know what he can do to change the future, but the clock strikes Three and he is whisked to St. Paul's graveyard by the ominous Ghost of Christmas Yet To Be. (Blind Old Hag). Gravediggers are digging a grave. ("Dancing On Your Grave.") Scrooge doesn't know who has died.

A corpse is unceremoniously dumped from its bed while the undertakers strip the body of its clothes and bedclothes. Scrooge sees the Cratchit family grieving over the grave of Tiny Tim. Finally he sees his own name on a gravestone, and understands that he will die alone and unmourned. He vows to change his ways, "Yesterday, Tomorrow and Today." Scrooge has a miraculous vision of children singing like angels ("God Bless Us Every One"), but his joy is interrupted by the ghost, who tries to wrap him in a shroud and wrestle him into his own grave.

It is suddenly Christmas morning and Scrooge wakes up, wrestling with his own bed sheets! Thrilled to realize he hasn't missed Christmas, he gives a young boy money to buy a prize turkey. Dancing through the streets of London, Scrooge sings "let it all have to do with me!" as he hands out charity, forgives Mr. Smythe his debt, and amazes the Lamplighter, Blind Old Hag and Sandwichboard Man with his generosity; then he goes out into the audience, giving out candies and treats.

Scrooge delivers the prize turkey to the Cratchits and promises to raise Bob's salary and help his struggling family. Carrying Tiny Tim on his shoulders, Scrooge goes to his nephew's house hoping to be allowed to come to dinner. Fred and Sally sing, "Welcome home, Uncle Scrooge, welcome home to family."

It starts to snow and everyone sings a reprise of "Christmas Together," and all build a giant snowman. Tiny Tim calls out, "And God bless us, every one!" And the musical ends with the song, "God Bless Us Every One"--"Star by star up above, and kindness by human kindness, light this world with your love/And God bless us every one."

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Flexible
Cast Type: Children
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Scrooge
A man who lost his father to creditors as a kid and has grown up heeding his father's advice to save his money. Until he realizes how terrible he's become, he is grumpy, unsympathetic man and has no time for anyone or anything.
Gender: male
Age: 45 to 65
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Mr. Cratchit
A father and husband who cares deeply for his family, particularly his youngest son. He works hard to provide for them but is mistreated by his employer, Scrooge.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 40
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Mrs. Cratchit
Tiny Tim's mother and Mr. Cratchit's wife. She is a loving mother who tries to provide the best for her children with what she's got.
Gender: female
Age: 30 to 40
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Tiny Tim
Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit's youngest son. He is crippled and sick, but is the definition of loving Christmas spirit. He constantly reminds his family that as long as they all have each other, they will be happy.
Gender: male
Age: 9 to 12
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Fred
Scrooge's nephew and only living relative. He is a pleasant young man who believes in the good a joyful Christmas spirit can make in the world.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Ghost Of Christmas Present
A jovial, larger-than-life ghost who comes back to show Scrooge all the joy, love, and celebration he his missing out on while those around him celebrate Christmas. Actor doubles as Sandwichboard Man.
Gender: male
Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Ghost Of Christmas Past
An ever cheerful, sprightly ghost who comes back with the history book of Scrooge's past to show him the events that led to his current state. Actor doubles as Lamplighter.
Gender: male
Age: 40 to 60
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Blind Old Hag / Ghost Of Christmas Future
A beautiful, and terrifying wrath, the Ghost of Christmas Future is strong and silent as she shows Scrooge what will happen to him and those around him if he continue down the path he is currently treading.
Gender: female
Age: 50 to 65
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Marley
Scrooge's former business partner who, before his death, was exactly like Scrooge. Comes back as a ghost in chains to warn Scrooge of how his life decisions will bind him in the afterlife.
Gender: male
Age: 45 to 55
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Scrooge's Mother
Array
Young Scrooge
Array
Fan
Array
Emily
Scrooge's fiancé from when they were young. She is a beautiful girl, not impressed or in need of money.
Gender: female
Age: 18 to 25
Vocal range top: B5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Mrs. Fezziwig
The consummate hostess and Mr. Fezziwig's wife, she loved to help throw the Christmas party every year. She is prideful.
Gender: female
Age: 50 to 60
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Mr. Fezziwig
A portly, jolly man who used to throw a huge Christmas party every year for the community. He was Scrooge's first boss and after teaching him all he knew, he became deeply disappointed in the man Scrooge became.
Gender: male
Age: 55 to 65
Vocal range top: B5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Ensemble
Charity Elves; Bankers; Street Vendors; Sailors; Ghosts; Jailers; Clerks; Monks
Full Song List
A Christmas Carol (Broadway): Hear the Bells
A Christmas Carol (Broadway): Jolly Good Time
A Christmas Carol (Broadway): Nothing to Do With Me
A Christmas Carol (Broadway): Link By Link
A Christmas Carol (Broadway): Lights of Long Ago (Part 1)
A Christmas Carol (Broadway): Fezziwig's Annual Christmas Ball
A Christmas Carol (Broadway): A Place Called Home
A Christmas Carol (Broadway): Money Machine Montage
A Christmas Carol (Broadway): Abundance and Charity
A Christmas Carol (Broadway): Christmas Together
A Christmas Carol (Broadway): Dancing On Your Grave
A Christmas Carol (Broadway): Final

Show History

Inspiration

A Christmas Carol, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and a book by Mike Ockrent and Lynn Ahrens, is an adaptation of Charles Dickens' novella of the same name, considered a classic Christmas story. The creators were drawn together by the desire to make a show that could appeal to children who had never or rarely experienced live theatre. Ockrent in particular was inspired by the "Pantomimes" he would attend as a young child every holiday season in north London. As Ockrent says in his original director's note, "I hope that kids and families will experience the same thrill I had all those years ago of enjoying the show and the wonderful reminder that nothing need remain the same, that within us all we have the capacity to share, communicate and love each other.

Productions

A Christmas Carol first hit the Broadway stage on December 1, 1994 at the Paramount Theatre at Madison Square Garden, originally choreographed by Susan Stroman. It was then performed in a limited engagement every December from 1994 to 2003. In 2004, the musical was adapted for television in a production produced by Hallmark Entertainment. The television special features performances from such talents as Kelsey Grammar, Jason Alexander, Jesse L. Martin, and Jennifer Love Hewitt. The musical received its UK premiere at the Tabard Theatre in London, running from December 6, 2013 to January 5, 2014.

Cultural Influence

  • A Christmas Carol ran for eleven straight holiday seasons, the only major show to run for so long by strictly being a holiday engagement. This has helped pave the way for theaters to put up annual holiday musicals such as A Christmas Story and Elf The Musical.

Trivia

  • The original Broadway production received Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for Best Musical.
  • Several notable men have come into the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge over the years, including: F. Murray Abraham, Tim Curry, Tony Randall, Frank Langella, Tony Roberts, Jim Dale, Roger Daltrey, and Roddy McDowall in his final role on Broadway.
  • Kelsey Grammer, who plays Scrooge in the Menken/Ahrens A Christmas Carol on NBC in 2004, was in a workshop production of Sunday in the Park with George when he read for the guest role of Frasier Crane in Cheers.

Critical Reaction

"A Christmas Carol is soaring, delightful musical theatre with a treasure house of beautiful, evocative music [...] every element contributes to the joy of the occasion." - Talkin' Broadway

"A tonic for adults, and for children a transfixing journey [& ] Musically speaking, Mr. Menken is an optimist, which [...] makes him the right man when it comes to spreading good cheer. Ms. Ahrens keeps her lyrics simple." - The New York Times

"The music itself that gives the show its amusing and heart-warming edge. Many of Menken's catchy tunes [...] continue to dingdong after the show." - The Public Review

Outer Critics Circle Award

1994 - Best Broadway Musical, Nominee (A Christmas Carol)

Outer Critics Circle Award

1994 - Best Choreography, Winner (Susan Stroman)

Drama Desk Award

1995 - Outstanding Musical, Nominee ()
1995 - Outstanding Costume Design, Nominee (William Ivey Long)

Connect

Billing

Based on the story by Charles Dickens

Requirements

Under the terms and conditions of your organisation’s Performance Agreement, the following credits must appear on all advertising (including websites) relating to the production. Credits must be reproduced faithfully in accordance with the following layout. No alterations or deletions can be permitted unless stated below.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL 100%
The Musical 33%

 

Music by
ALAN MENKEN
Lyrics by
LYNN AHRENS
Book by
MIKE OCKRENT &
LYNN AHRENS 50%
 

 

Based on the story by Charles Dickens 50%

 

Original Choreography by
Susan Stroman 50%
 
Originally directed by Mike Ockrent 50%

 

Originally Presented by Radio City Entertainment
At the Theater at Madison Square Garden 33%
 
The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited.

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
CHOREOGRAPHY GUIDE, VOLUME 11
CHOREOGRAPHY GUIDE, VOLUME 21
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK35
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE2

Production Resources

Resource
PERFORMANCE ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
FULL SCORE VOL 1 OF 2
FULL SCORE VOL 2 OF 2
KEYBOARD PATCH SOLUTIONS
LOGO PACK
LOGO PACK DIGITAL
ORCHEXTRA
PRODUCTIONPRO
REFERENCE RECORDING
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND
VIRTUAL STAGE MANAGER

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASS(ACOUSTIC BASS)
CELLO
DRUMSCOWBELL , DRUM KIT , FINGER CYMBALS , GONG , MARK TREE , RATCHET , TRIANGLE , WOODBLOCKS
HARP
HORN
KEYBOARD 1
KEYBOARD 2
PERCUSSIONANVIL , BASS DRUM W/PIATTI , BELL TREE , BOXING BELL , CHAINS , CHIMES , FINGER CYMBALS , FLEXATONE , GONG , MARK TREE , ORCHESTRA BELLS , POP GUN , SIREN WHISTLE , SLEIGH BELLS , SMALL CABASA , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , TAMBOURINE , TEMPLE BLOCKS , TIMPANI , TRIANGLE , WOODBLOCK , XYLOPHONE
REED 1CLARINET , FLUTE , PICCOLO , SOPRANO SAX
REED 2CLARINET , ENGLISH HORN , OBOE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
REED 3ALTO SAXOPHONE , Bb CLARINET , Eb CLARINET , FLUTE , PENNY WHISTLE , PICCOLO
REED 4BASS CLARINET , CLARINET , FLUTE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
REED 5BASS SAXOPHONE , BASSOON , CLARINET , FLUTE
TROMBONEEUPHONIUM , TROMBONE
TROMBONE 2BASS TROMBONE , TUBA
TRUMPETFLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
TRUMPET 2FLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
TRUMPET 3PICCOLO TRUMPET , TRUMPET
VIOLA
VIOLIN
VIOLIN 2