A familiar story told as a radio drama onstage, complete with sound effects and music cues, A Christmas Carol begins with the storyteller and his friends discussing the tale they will tell. They decide on an opening line, and the storyteller begins, transforming into the mean and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge as he speaks. Throughout, the storyteller remains in the Scrooge characterization as the other actors narrate in their natural voices while assuming new voices and dialects, becoming every character in the tale. A Christmas Carol is staged with minimal costuming and a simple set. The actors read from scripts at the three floor microphones downstage while all sound effects and music are performed live. The original Dickens story is all here: Scrooge refuses a Christmas dinner invitation from his nephew, Fred, turns away charity workers raising money for the poor and bullies his clerk, Bob Cratchit. Jacob Marley makes his visit while the sound effects crew shakes chains and the music director plays eerie chords. The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to Fezziwig's party, and we hear the music and the dancing feet on the wooden floor. The Ghost of Christmas Present leads him through the streets of London to his nephew's house, where he joins, invisibly, in a guessing game, discovering how much fun he can have if he opens his heart, just in time to visit Bob Cratchit's family and open his heart to Tiny Tim. Finally, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, whose "voice" is provided by the music director's keyboard, shows Scrooge his horrible fate. Scrooge awakens at home a changed man as he turns back into the storyteller to finish the story and Tiny Tim delivers the final line, "God bless us, every one!" Originally produced by public television station KTWU in Kansas, A Christmas Carol has aired on television throughout North America.
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Some of the advantages to producing radio plays:
One Simple Set—A radio station—made up mostly of drapes, a control booth (if desired), mikes, and sound effects equipment.
Less Wardrobe—no changes of wardrobe are necessary.
Less Staging—actors simply stand at mikes most of the time.
Less Rehearsal—actors don't memorize lines—they just read them.
Fewer Cast Members—one actor plays many parts.
No Props—only scripts.
Read an Excerpt
- A Carol for Tiny Tim
- The Christmas Carol
- A Christmas Carol (Jakes)
- The Christmas Corral
- A Country Christmas Carol (Kaehler)
- A Hillbilly Christmas Carol
- A Christmas Carol (Touring, Jakes)
- The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge
- A Christmas Carol (King)
- Carol * A Christmas
- A Christmas Carol (One-act, McDonough)
- A Country Christmas Carol (Nelson)
- A Christmas Carol (Musical, Kornhauser/Barnett)
- A Christmas Carol: The Traditional Story With Modern Music
- Type of Show Full-length Play
- Product Code CQ4000
- Cast Size 11
- Min. Royalty Rate $90/perf
- Cost $39.95
- Approx. Run Time 60 min
- Target Audience Young Audiences | Middle School | High School | College and Adult | Family (all ages)
- Performing Group High School | College Theatre | Community Theatre | Professional Theatre
- Genre Drama
- ISBN(13) 9781583429822
- "A great script. Captures most of the best scenes and writing of the original text. Great opportunity for multiple voice characterizations per actor. Our audiences really enjoyed the shows. "
- Review by Gordon Billard, Theatre CBS, Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, Canada
- "This play worked very well as an audio recording. My high school students enjoyed writing their own commercials for pandemic-related products that were included between acts. This play is a good choice for classes who want to work on a production while they cannot be onstage."
- Review by Kelli Lemker, Mariner High School, Everett, Wash.
Hints, Tips, and Tricks
- "A creative musician is needed to compose a score and perform throughout. The music (underscore, themes, atmosphere, effects) was integral to the show's success as a rich audio experience."
- Tip by Gordon Billard, Theatre CBS, Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, Canada
- "The show went very well. Due to smaller cast size restrictions we had students helping to make the sound effects on stage. We wanted to create as authentic an experience to a 1940s radio studio as we could so all of the sound effects and quite a few of the pieces of music were created by students on stage. We had a hidden ipad that the students used to create the musical sound effects that we couldn't and we had someone sit at the piano and pretend to play.
We had great comments from the audience about the sound effects and the authenticity it brought to the show seeing students using different mediums to make sound effects (for example we used an igloo cooler to mimic the sound of a squeaky door opening and closing).
The students learned a lot about sound production and we were very pleased with the outcome of the show. "
- Tip by Emily Murphy, Dickson Middle School, Dickson, Tenn.