History of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and A Christmas Carol, The Musical

A Christmas Carol, The Musical opens at The Rep on December 2.

One of the many notable points about Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol, is that it was a hit from the moment it was published in 1843. Six thousand copies were sold within months and eight stage adaptations were in production almost immediately.

Interestingly enough, A Christmas Carol was born out of Dickens’ need for cash. His wife Kate was expecting their fifth child and a large mortgage was putting pressure on the popular author. Though his holiday tale was quickly in high demand, Dickens’ didn’t see as much profit as he wished in part due to pirated versions that soon appeared in the market.

One would have to imagine that Dickens would be astonished at the continuing popularity of A Christmas Carol, particularly in the form of various film and stage adaptations. Every year seems to bring a new take on A Christmas Carol, from The Muppets (1992’s The Muppet Christmas Carol) to Bill Murray (1998’s Scrooged) to Vanessa Williams (2000’s A Diva’s Christmas Carol)

A Christmas Carol, The Musical debuted at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden on December 1, 1994. The show received Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Musical. For ten years the show was a staple of New York City’s packed holiday season. Walter Charles was the first in a long line of high profile performers to play Scrooge. Over the 10 years that the show was presented annually, Tim Curry, Tony Randall, Hal Linden, Roddy McDowall, Frank Langella, Tony Roberts and even Roger Daltry all starred as Dickens’ most famous curmudgeon.

The stage version of A Christmas Carol, The Musical was presented for the final time at Madison Square Garden on December 27, 2003. A year later, a film adaptation of the show premiered on NBC, starring Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge.

This entry was posted in Dramaturgy, Productions by Werner Trieschmann. Bookmark the permalink.
Werner Trieschmann

About Werner Trieschmann

Werner Trieschmann is the Dramaturg for Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Werner has had plays produced across the United States and, most recently, in England, Italy and Romania. His work has been staged at Moving Arts in Los Angeles, Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, The New Theatre in Boston and Red Octopus Productions in Little Rock. His comedy "You Have to Serve Somebody" (Dramatic Publishing) was developed at the Mount Sequoyah New Play Retreat in Fayetteville. He won first prize in the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans New Play Competition and was the first playwright to receive the Porter Prize, recognizing outstanding achievement by an Arkansas writer. He holds an MFA in playwriting from Boston University.

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