One of the most famous Christmas tales of all time returns to the Citadel stage this holiday season. Miserly Ebenezer Scrooge has no place in his heart for the Christmas spirit—until a visit from three spirits shows him the error of his ways and the true meaning of the season. This updated spin on the tale includes many favourite Christmas songs, with a 1940s-type setting reminiscent of classic holiday films. The first adaptation ran for 19 years, with this reimagined version running for the first time in 2019. Like last year, this production will be available via digital streaming, and Artistic Director Daryl Cloren is excited to be welcoming live audiences back to the theatre this year.
Why do you think the Citadel’s production has become such an iconic part of Edmonton’s holiday tradition?
It’s so much about community. The story in A Christmas Carol is very much about community, but even beyond the show itself—the fact that the Citadel has always been partnered with the Daily Bread Food Bank and part of the experience is about raising money for communities. So not only is it about coming to the show, but it’s about, after the show finishes, going out into the lobby and the cast are all there collecting money for the food bank. It’s that kind of communal experience.
How would you describe the show to someone who is completely unfamiliar with the story?
Oh wow—well, it’s a story about someone finding their humanity. Someone who goes through a night of ghosts who show him his past, present, and future, but ultimately what he has to learn is things about his own humanity and where he lost his connection to other people so that, at the end, we rejoice because he believes in community again.
What do you love most about this new readaptation?
I think David van Belle’s adaptation has done such a great job preserving the heart of the story and the message of the story… I love how we’ve incorporated music into this show. There’s a number of Christmas carols, like all the standard Christmas carols like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”—I think the music really lifts the show. I really appreciate how David reimagined or reinterpreted some of the characters. The best example of that is, in this production, Bob Cratchit is dead. The story is about Emily Cratchit; it’s about his wife. So Emily Cratchit has the relationship with Scrooge… and we’ve been able to take a story that’s historically, predominantly, been a male story and been able to make it about a single mom dealing with a large family.
A Christmas Carol runs at the Citadel Theatre from November 27–December 23. Citadel Theatre | 9828–101A Ave. citadeltheatre.com
Looking for even more holiday magic on stage this season? Find more shows, along with plenty of other magical events, in our 2021 Wish Book!