Allen Dorsey in the DCPA Theatre Company’s 2014 production of ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Photo by Gabe Koskinen.
Over the past 25 years, more than 820,000 people have watched the the timeless story play out here in Denver.
By John Moore
Senior Arts Journalist
It seems A Christmas Carol and its seasonal message of redemption and empathy for all is a perennial need in this country. Charles Dickens’ classic tale of the miser Scrooge’s spiritual redemption remains the DCPA Theatre Company’s most popular and most-produced show. This holiday season marks the company’s 25th musical presentation of the story dating to 1990 — with two years off along the way. (Pictured below in 2003.)
In that time, there have been 18 young Tiny Tims but only two versions of the script. From 1990-2004, the DCPA staged an adaptation written by Laird Williamson and Dennis Powers. Since 2005, the company has presented the adaptation by Richard Hellesen and David de Berry.
Dickens wrote his opus in just six weeks, motivated in part by his own financial problems and in part by his anger seeing children working in appalling conditions in the tin mines and barely living in streets overrun with half-starved, illiterate urchins and orphans.
Here’s a brief look at how the story has played out from London to Denver:
1844 The first stage presentation of A Christmas Carol is held, running for 40 nights. Within a year, eight rival A Christmas Carol theatrical productions are playing around London.
1845 By now 13 editions of the A Christmas Carol novella have been released.
1852 Charles Dickens gives the first of 127 public readings in London.
1870 Charles Dickens’ death.
1901 Scrooge, or, Marley’s Ghost is produced as a silent black-and-white British film. Since then, there have been at least 18 film variations featuring everyone from Albert Finney to Bill Murray to The Muppets to Mr. Magoo to Scrooge McDuck. Other actors to portray Scrooge on screen or stage include F. Murray Abraham, George C. Scott, Kelsey Grammer, Tony Randall, Hal Linden, Tim Curry and even The Who frontman Roger Daltrey.
1990 The DCPA Theatre Company presents A Christmas Carol for the first time, an adaptation by Laird Williamson and Dennis Powers. Laird Williamson also directs, which he continues through 2004.
2005 The company switches to an adaptation by Richard Hellesen and David de Berry directed by Bruce K. Sevy. Philip Pleasants plays Scrooge and continues as the primary Scrooge through 2015.
2007 The DCPA gives A Christmas Carol a year off in favor of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and will do so again in 2012.
2009 Charlie Korman (pictured at right with then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper) is cast as Tiny Tim at age 5. He would play the role for the next four years before aging up to play Young Scrooge in 2014. Korman would later play featured roles in the Theatre Company’s Lord of the Flies and Frankenstein.
2017 For the first time, a young female actor, Peyton Goossen, plays the role of Tiny Tim.
2017 The Man Who Invented Christmas is released, a film that tells the story of how Charles Dickens brought the Scrooge story to life, starring Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer (as an animated Scrooge).
DCPA Theatre Company’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ 2016.
A Christmas Carol: Ticket information
At a glance: Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations.
- Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
- Performances through Nov. 24-Dec. 24
- Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
- Tickets start at $25
- Call 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
- Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
Photo gallery: The making of A Christmas Carol 2017
Above: Photos from the first day of rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company’s ‘A Christmas Carol.’ To see more, click in the image above. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.