Scrooge peeking from behind door in “A Christmas Carol”
Arts

Great Lakes Theater's ‘A Christmas Carol’

This Cleveland stage favorite brings its take on Charles Dickens’ classic tale to Playhouse Square each holiday season. 

Since its publication in 1843, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has persisted as one of the most beloved and adapted holiday classics of all time. Although audiences are familiar with the story, the annual production staged by Cleveland’s Great Lakes Theater puts an original spin on the tale.

This version of the play opens as the mother of the Cleaveland family prepares to read A Christmas Carol to her children gathered around her. The youngest child imagines the tale as it is being read, and the play is presented from his point of view. 

“We watch the stage transform into Scrooge’s counting house, taking us back in time to Dickens’ day,” explains Charles Fee, producing artistic director of Great Lakes Theater. “We wanted to create the suggestion that we’re not that distant from Dickens’ original themes. This is a tale from long ago, but are we really that different now?”

Since its debut in 1989, Great Lakes Theater’s “A Christmas Carol” has grown into a tradition for both the theater company and Playhouse Square, where the play is staged each holiday season. (This year it runs Nov. 26 through Dec. 23.)

“The Cleaveland family is meant to stand for any family in Cleveland,” says Fee. “ ‘A Christmas Carol’ is, every year, one of the most important events at Playhouse Square. It’s a central part of the theater scene and of the cultural scene in our city.”

The production’s family-friendly telling and run time of under two hours have cemented it as a local favorite. Fee says sharing that experience together, after the show was not able to be staged in 2020, has taken on added significance this year.  

“This season, we want [people] to remember what it feels like to come together as a community, sharing A Christmas Carol’s experience of redemption, of forgiveness, and of love.” Fee says. “There’s nothing like being with other people, as we all know now more than ever. Community is at the heart of this play.” 

1501 Euclid Ave. #300, Cleveland, 44115, greatlakestheater.org

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