‘A Christmas Carol’ at The Palace brightens the season


Rachel Phinney, Staff

The Palace Theatre in Manchester is performing their annual production of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens from Nov. 26-Dec. 22.

On Dec. 2, I had the opportunity to attend the show, and it was great, although slightly different from previous years.

The story of “The Christmas Carol” follows the grumpy old businessman, Ebenezer Scrooge, who has a strong dislike for the holiday season. Scrooge owns a counting-house named Scrooge and Marley, and his late business partner, Jacob Marley, passed away seven years prior to the beginning of the story. 

On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is haunted by his fold partner and three other ghosts: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come. The spirits show Scrooge the errors of his ways in hopes of saving his tainted soul.

With Mark Woodard as Scrooge; Joshua Kramar-Keefer as Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s overworked and underpaid employee; Mark Nichols as the narrator; and other talented actors, this cast was star-studded. With the ensemble bouncing across the stage in ballgowns and black wings in the graveyard, as well as singing live music, the show was amazing. 

From the moment Woodard stepped on stage, interrupting a group of carolers on the street in front of his home, he perfectly fit the role of Scrooge. 

Additionally, the Cratchit family, the onstage wife and children of Kramar Keefer, had lovely chemistry and made me smile every time they appeared on stage.

Most of the music in the professional productions at the Palace Theatre are played by a live orchestra. This show included a youthful ensemble as carolers and lovely couples.

The costumes—- from ornate ball gowns to ghostly white tattered items to Scrooge’s nightgown and cap—-also fit the play’s 19th Century vibe. 

The Ghost of Christmas Past, for example, wore a gorgeous gown covered in glittering gold accents in the skirt; the Ghost of Christmas Present was a tall man, resembling Hagrid from the Harry Potter series, with long hair and a wider frame; and the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come was large with a skull face and a black cloak body, controlled by a person in the twelve-foot puppet.

After having a youth version of the production last year due to Covid, it was wonderful to see “A Christmas Carol” return to The Palace Theatre with its professional cast.