Three spirits of Christmas come to life at Ford’s Theatre in Northwest with the return of “A Christmas Carol,” directed by José Carrasquillo. Audiences can enjoy a traditional in-person theater experience and free audio streaming of a one-hour radio version of the play. In-person theater performances and the radio streaming production continue until December 27.
Ford’s Theatre Society will host a sensory-friendly performance on Sunday, Dec. 12, designed for those with sensory sensitivities who might benefit from an adjusted theatrical environment including those with autism.
Last year, the pandemic forced Ford’s Theatre to offer only a radio streamed version of “A Christmas Carol.”
“Pandemics do not come with a road map. At first, not knowing what was coming next or how long we would be shuttered was wrenching and difficult for everyone,” said Carrasquillo, who reworked staging and shortened the length of the play.
“With the safety of our actors, staff, artists, patrons and volunteers foremost in our minds for this streamlined version, I needed to retain two key elements: a genuine Christmas spirit and Scrooge’s redemptive arc,” he said.
This version of “A Christmas Carol” also allows Ford’s production team to make adjustments to meet safety guidelines. Those adjustments include not having an intermission, not flying actors on cables and keeping actors in one defining costume silhouette. The objective remains to reduce high-touch moments among the cast and limit capacity in the theater’s small backstage. But theatergoers can expect a production that will be both joyful and safe.
Cast Reflects Community’s Diversity
Craig Wallace, a Ford’s Theatre associate artist, returns in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. The production also includes Stephen F. Schmidt as Jacob Marley, Rayanne Gonzales as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Justine “Icy” Moral as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Jonathan Atkinson as Bob Cratchit and Yesenia Iglesias as Mrs. Cratchit. Casting continues to exemplify Ford’s commitment to diverse casting, often referred to as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color).
“The casting team is made of two BIPOC theatre professionals. We approach every possible production with an eye on the final product being a true reflection of who we are as a society,” said Carrasquillo, who is also Ford’s director of artistic programming.
“The process that embraces diverse casting on any given show begins from the moment the company reads any play under consideration,” Carrasquillo said. “The checklist considers the director’s vision and how we serve the story and the characters. It’s exhilarating to now be back doing what we love on stage. Our reimagined production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ is bringing back entire families to Ford’s which is a joy to see.”
Go to www.fords.org for in-person showtimes and tickets and to register for the free streaming audio production. The radio play was recorded remotely with a cast of 18 adults and two children during the fall of 2020. Ford’s also offers a downloadable digital souvenir program featuring special holiday-themed content on the Ford’s Theatre website to supplement the audio play.
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