A CHRISTMAS CAROL
ADAPTED BY EDWARD MORGAN & JOSEPH HANREDDY
Music Arrangements by John Tanner
CLARENCE BROWN THEATRE
In 1824, with the Industrial Revolution in full swing, a 12 year old Charles Dickens was forced into factory labor while the rest of his family was sent to debtors’ prison. The elder Dickens eventually got back on his feet, the family was reunited and young Charles was able to get an education. But the terror and injustice of that time stayed with him for life.
By 1842, Charles Dickens was 30 years old and a well-known novelist. In the winter of that year, he toured America reading from Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers and his other works, while advocating for international copyright laws and the abolition of slavery. He may also have been working on his next book: a story that would be his greatest success.
A Christmas Carol was published in December of 1843. Dickens called it “a whimsical sort of masque intended to awaken loving and forbearing thoughts.” Yet it was more than that. It was a thrilling ghost story and a moving tale of loss and redemption. By Christmas it had sold 6,000 copies.
A Christmas Carol quickly outsold everything Dickens had ever written. No doubt it awakened many a loving and forbearing thought. Indeed, on both sides of the Atlantic, the book helped transform Christmas from a quaint religious celebration to the most important holiday of the year.
Over 160 years later, wherever Christmas is honored, A Christmas Carol has been read, performed or viewed onscreen. It has played in countless dramatic adaptations, films, TV versions and cartoons. It may well be the most popular story in English literature.
A Christmas Carol still touches us because it reaffirms the hope that a person can change. It reminds us of the importance of family. And with compassion and good cheer, it speaks to the very heart of the holiday. So it is our privilege and pleasure to share with all of you this wonderful story.
“Finally, after a lifetime of wanting it, I have been given an outstanding stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale. It’s as fine a Christmas present as I could wish for…Director Edward Morgan’s own adaptation (written with Joseph Hanreddy) is the most literary adaptation I have seen. It has the authenticity of a reading of “A Christmas Carol” aloud by a fire.”
– Knoxville New Sentinel
About Milwaukee Rep’s production...
“…a fresh and charming version…Hanreddy and Morgan added new scenes, characters and dialogue only suggested by the novel. This adds to new but justified perspectives on the story. They’ve found ways to add more fun and humor without distorting the original…”
– Shepherd Express
“This is “A Christmas Carol” of which Charles Dickens would be proud...Edward Morgan, an experienced musicologist, seamlessly wove the carols into the text so well, they seem to be integral to the story.”
– Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s ‘Christmas Carol’ might be finest in the country
“...the Milwaukee Rep’s “Christmas Carol” has been hailed by national Public Radio and critics from around the country.”
– McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Lights: Beverly Emmons
Costumes: Kathryn Robe
Set: Jim Kronzer
Sound: Mike Ponder
Music Director: Gene Peterson