Your Guide to 6 A Christmas Carol Productions in Metro Phoenix
A Christmas Carol is a moving, witty, smoothly written piece of 19th-century propaganda about being a nice person all the time -- and maybe just being extra-nice at Christmastime -- and removing that stick from up your butt already. It works so well and is so very in the public domain (and therefore royalty-free -- royalties paid to authors can be a big expense for a small theater) that stage versions are extremely popular and, as we've mentioned, can be quite different from one another.
This is a good place to mention that once upon a time, three men were killed in three separate car accidents on Christmas Eve. At the Pearly Gates, St. Peter said, "I really wanted to take a half-day, so let's make this easy. Just show me something Christmasy from your pockets, and into Heaven you go."
The first man pulled out his keys (we guess he wasn't the driver in his accident) and shook them up and down to make them jingle. "Get it?" he said. "Bells! Christmas bells!" And through the gates he went.
The second accident victim pulled out a cigarette lighter. He clicked it on. "It represents a candle," he said. And so he was admitted to paradise.
© K. Kendall, used under Creative Commons License 2.0 Oh, Portland.
The third man searched desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties. St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, "And just what do those symbolize?"
The man replied, "They're Carol's."
And, indeed, the opportunity to have actors sing Christmas carols and thereby call your show a "musical delight" of some sort is another reason that A Christmas Carol is an obvious choice.
But choosing whose A Christmas Carol to see? It's a minefield (and we intend no insensitivity to the victims of actual mines). People don't haul off and decide to tackle David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, say, just because it's December and they figure it can't be that hard. You (almost) never know what you're going to get, as Forrest Gump's mama said.
The Valley has six Christmas Carols on stage this season, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if that's not even a record. Only two of these specific versions have been presented here (or maybe anywhere) before, to the best of my knowledge. Um, yay, surprises? And nobody's doing the official big stage musical this year, which admittedly requires a significant commitment of resources and might receive a warmer welcome if it returns after a few years off.
Some of the producing companies have done other versions -- sometimes what I've thought were perfectly good versions -- in the past and have apparently changed their minds and assayed a different one this year. Don't ask people who run theaters why they do things unless you have a stiff drink in front of you and a long time before your next appointment. (Some of my best friends, etc.)
So we'll riff on the options using the information available, mostly to bring them all to your attention in one big clump. Click in the headings to buy tickets or get more info.
In order of how soon they close:
1850 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ