In a lurid nightmarish scene, the ghost of Marley, dragging chains, appears to Scrooge, who cowers in fear.

A Christmas Carol

Why a new version?


I love the story, played Scrooge myself for four seasons at the McCarter theater in Princeton, and wanted to make an adaptation that paid more attention to the social realities of the time.


A chamber version, this adaptation is devised to be performed with between five and seven actors - and no children. Along with weaving new details throughout, I’ve also added my own ending— because what does happen when a person’s life is turned upside down? As a relatively young man when the Spirits visit—Scrooge is forty-five in the story, the idea of him being an older man comes, I think, from the illustrations and then the various movies—there is time for him to remake his life.  

Carl Wallnau as Ebenezer Scrooge
Carl Wallnau as Ebenezer Scrooge
Mrs Cratchitt
Ebenezer Scrooge overlooks Old Joe and Mrs Dilber
Ebenezer Scrooge oapproaches Londoners
The Ghost of Christmas Past appears to Ebenezer Scrooge.
Marley's Ghost
Marley's Ghost observed by Ebenezer Scrooge
Timothy Cratchitt as a grown man.
Marley's Ghost
Ebenezer Scrooge
The young Ebenezer Scrooge and Belle
The Ghost of Christmas Past
Young Scrooge reads a book

Directed by Carl Wallnau

Designed by Matthew Imhoff 

Lighting by Ed Matthews

Musical supervisor Kevin Lynch

Costumes by Meghan Reeves

Sound by David Budries

One of Dickens' principal sources for this story as well as for others, was Mayhews ongoing survey of London's underbelly that would later be published as London Labour and the London Poor.


At the mid-point of the nineteenth century, London was the first industrialized capital, notoriously filthy and noisy, flooded by dispossessed country workers hoping to find work and a better life, but instead finding, according to Jacob Adler, the worst slums in Europe and bone-crushing poverty.


In A Christmas Carol, Dickens presents a world full of the possibility of good that is corrupted and befouled by greed till, on that one night of the year when redemption is possible, Scrooge is offered the chance to remake his life.


I wrote a new ending to show how he seizes that chance. What he does with it, and how it affects the lives of others, is the subject of the play.

Victorian engraving of a child selling flowers
Victorian engraving of a man scrounging old clothes to sell
Victorian engraving of a child selling matches

A Christmas Carol at Centenary Stage Company

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