Since this is my fourth year straight seeing it, I guess we can now say that the Wyly Theatre Center’s presentation of “A Christmas Carol” has become a holiday tradition for me. The age old Charles Dickens story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his journey from curmudgeon to redemption is one that I have always enjoyed, and the fact that the Wyly makes changes to it each year has me eagerly anticipating its arrival. From making its main character a person of color (which this year was done with the younger Scrooge by Ace Anderson) or female, their writing staff, cast, and crew keep packing houses each December while raising over a half million dollars for the North Texas Food Bank in the partnership with the production.
One would think that in its eleventh year, there would be a groove that it would fall into that would make me (even in less than half that) knowing where to look and when as the tale goes on, but not only does it continue to amaze me each and every time, they raise the bar in ways that I could not even imagine. And this year is the best one I have seen yet.
Adapted by Kevin Moriarty, Alex Organ plays the iconic lead role magnificently. His work as Scrooge learns the real meaning of Christmas is fully and completely convincing and had me captivated the entire time. Given the actors that have had the role before him in that same room, he stands shoulder to shoulder with them, and I have no doubt that they would be proud to stand with him. Director Tiffany Nichole Greene makes the choice to not have the cast speak with any form of an accent, which I thought payed off well in order to give the cast the opportunity to immerse themselves in their respective roles from the top to the bottom. I am constantly amazed at the level of talent the Dallas/Fort Worth area has, and it is on full display here. There are also some surprises (as there are each year) with some of the other casting, and the tradition of the non-traditional Ghost of Christmas Present (totally not spoiling this) does not disappoint this year either.
This year’s production also added quite a bit more music than has been done in recent years, and it all works very well together. One of the standout scenes occurs as Scrooge is praying for his eternal soul as the cast mixes two songs together split by their genders in candlelight around him that game me chills.
If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and have not had the privilege of seeing this presentation of “A Christmas Carol”, do yourself a favor and start a new tradition while this is playing through December 30th. If you have seen it at the Wyly before, do yourself a favor and see it again because the changes not only keep it fresh, but we all need that reminder of the power of the holiday season on our lives and legacies that it tells, and make sure to bring some spare cash to give to the North Texas Food Bank because the donations are being matched dollar for dollar this year!