Since 1978, the Goodman has annually produced A Christmas Carol, providing thousands of Chicago families with not only a joyful tradition filled with holiday merriment, but also a yearly opportunity to see that change is possible even in our darkest hours.
As 2020—a year of grief and lost opportunities for so many of us—draws to a close, we feel strongly that this story is needed more than ever. Together with my producing partner, Goodman Executive Director Roche Schulfer and “founder of the feast” who initiated this production at the Goodman 43 years ago, we are pleased to present an audio adaptation of the production you know and love. Streamable for free from anywhere, at any time during the month of December, A Christmas Carol—An Audio Play features a cast of 19 of Chicago’s finest actors and diverse voices that have become a hallmark of this production over the decades.
At the helm of this audio play, and in her first year with the production, is director Jessica Thebus. I have long admired Jessica for her fruitful collaboration with playwright Sarah Ruhl and her accomplishments at many theaters in Chicago and around the nation. At the Goodman, her collaborations with Sarah include on The Clean House (2006) and the world premiere of Stage Kiss (2011). At Steppenwolf, her credits include Sex With Strangers, Intimate Apparel, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, When the Messenger is Hot, and Sonia Flew. She has also worked at Boston’s Huntington Theatre, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, among many others. Jessica possesses an uncanny ability to bring a play’s humor to life while maintaining its more serious themes; her style and strengths are a perfect fit for A Christmas Carol.
Also instrumental in creating the audio play was Richard Woodbury, the Goodman’s resident sound designer, who brings the story to vibrant life with music, effects, and a soundscape that transports us to Dickensian London. Jessica and Richard worked together with Neena Arndt, the Goodman’s resident dramaturg, to adapt for audio the stage adaptation by Tom Creamer. The text was then rehearsed and recorded by a stellar cast, all of whom embraced the challenge of performing the play in a different medium.
Although I am disappointed that I cannot welcome you to the theater this year, I hope that the production will bring you a dose of holiday cheer, and an opportunity to reflect—and hope—as you look to what next year may bring.