WBEZ to Air *A Christmas Carol—An Audio Play* on December 24

Larry Yando
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Chicago’s favorite holiday tradition—Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol, now in its 46th year—once again reaches beyond the stage in a unique partnership with WBEZ 91.5 FM, Chicago’s NPR news station. A Christmas Carol—An Audio Play co-adapted and directed by Jessica Thebus, was recorded for audio consumption in 2020, while stages were darkened due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The audio play of Charles Dickens’ classic stars Larry Yando as Ebenezer Scrooge and is voiced by an all-Chicago cast of 19, featuring the show’s signature soundscape. A Christmas Carol—An Audio Play airs on Sunday, December 24 at 2pm CT on WBEZ 91.5 FM (WBEZ.org/Christmas).

“We’re thrilled to continue this wonderful partnership with our friends at WBEZ as we together expand access to our production of A Christmas Carol,” said Roche Schulfer, Goodman Theatre Executive Director/CEO who originated the show at the Goodman in 1978. “At the heart of the story is an important message of kindness and empathy towards others that is especially resonant at this time of year. We are grateful to our partners for their friendship and commitment to making this possible.”

“We’re so pleased to continue our WBEZ tradition of airing this lovely audio production of Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol.  It’s a special experience for the WBEZ audience,” said Heidi Goldfein, Chicago Public Media Vice President of Programming.

WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR news station, serves the community with fact-based, objective news and information. WBEZ’s award-winning journalists ask tough questions, dig deep for answers and expose truths that spark change and foster understanding. WBEZ Chicago is home to a growing portfolio of popular podcasts, including the “Making” series of Making Beyoncé, Making Obama and Making Oprah; an investigative podcast series, Motive; 16 Shots: A podcast about the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald; Nerdette; and Curious City. WBEZ Chicago has a legacy of innovation as the birthplace of nationally acclaimed programs such as This American Life, and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and the ground-breaking podcast, Serial.

(Front Row, L-R) Amir Henderson, Leighton Tantillo, Christian Lucas, Viva Boresi and Rika Nishikawa


Chicago’s “perfect holiday tradition” (Chicago Parent) since 1978, Goodman Theatre’s production of Dickens’ classic is a “beautiful, timeless message of generosity’s triumph over greed” (Chicago Tribune). Businessman Ebenezer Scrooge’s sizable bank account is only matched by his disdain for the holidays. But one fateful Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts who take him on a spectacular adventure through his past, present and future, helping him on his discovery of kindness, compassion and redemption in a tale with a “first-rate cast and marvelous staging (that) shines merry and bright” (Chicago Sun-Times). Now in its fifth decade, A Christmas Carol is “still the best Christmas story ever told” (Time Out Chicago) and a signature event of the Chicago holiday season that has introduced generations of young people to live theater.

(Back Row, L-R) Mark Bedard, Bethany Thomas, Wai Yim, Tafadzwa Diener, Penelope Walker and Amira Danan. (Front Row) Robert Schleifer

Full Company of A Christmas Carol (in alphabetical order)
By Charles Dickens, Adapted by Tom Creamer, Directed by Jessica Thebus

Adeoye……Ensemble/Poulterer/Stag Deer/Undertaker
Kareem Bandealy………Marley/Young Marley/Topper
Dee Dee Batteast……….Frida
Hillary Bayley…………….Musician
Mark Bedard…………Juggler/Max Fezziwig/Abe/Dilber
Viva Boresi……………Child in Doorway & Mirror/Pratt/Emily Cratchit/Ignorance
Thomas J. Cox…..Bob Cratchit/Wreath Seller
Amira Danan……Belle/Future Crow
Tafadzwa Diener………Martha Cratchit/Fan/Catherine
Jalbelly Guzmán…….…Dance Captain/Ensemble/Hat Seller/Doe Deer/Young Woman
Amir Henderson….……Newspaper Seller/Johnston/Gregory Cratchit/Turkey Child/Future Crow
Gregory Hirte…………Musician/Dick Wilkins/Young Man
Susaan Jamshidi……Mrs. Cratchit
Christian Lucas………Tiny Tim/School Child
Daniel José Molina……Young Scrooge/Ghost of Christmas Future
Rika Nishikawa…………Belinda Cratchit/School Child
Detra Payne…………..…Chestnut Seller/Philomena/Old Josephine
Delin Ruhl……………Musician
Malcolm Ruhl………Musician
Robert Schleifer……Mr. Fezziwig
Lucky Stiff………Ghost of Christmas Past
Leighton Tantillo……Peter Cratchit/Boy Scrooge/Want
Bethany Thomas………Charwoman/Ghost of Christmas Present
Austin Tichenor………Alternate Ebenezer Scrooge
Penelope Walker……Crumb/Mrs. Alice Fezziwig
Andrew White…………Narrator
Larry Yando………Ebenezer Scrooge
Wai Yim……Ortle/Tree Seller/School Official
Jazzlyn Luckett Aderele……US Crumb/Charwoman/Doe Deer/Mrs. Alice Fezziwig
Tatiana Bustamante……….US Ghost of Christmas Past/Martha/Fan/Belle/Young Woman
Arash Fakhrabadi….……….US Young Man/Poulterer/Dick Wilkins/Abe/Undertaker/Old Joe
Annabel Finch……….US Young Performers
Sam Hyson…….………US Musician
Loren Jones….………US Bob Cratchit/Narrator/Ortle/Marley/Young Marley

Creative Team

Assistant Director….Jamal Howard
Set Designer…..Todd Rosenthal
Costume Designer ……Heidi Sue McMath
Puppet Designers & Creators….Jillian Gryzlak and Rachel Anne Healy
Lighting Designer…..Keith Parham
Associate Lighting Designer…Brian Elston
Sound Designers…..Richard Woodbury and Pornchanok Kanchanabanca
Composer….Andrew Hansen
Music Director…..Malcolm Ruhl Choreographer….Tommy Rapley
Fly Director….Andrea Gentry

Casting is by Lauren Port, CSA and Rachael Jimenez, CSA. Neena Arndt is the Dramaturg. Kimberly Ann McCann is the Production Stage Manager and Jennifer Gregory and Beth Koehler are the Stage Managers. Flying effects are provided by ZFX Inc.

(Back Row, L-R) Mark Bedard, Bethany Thomas, Wai Yim, Tafadzwa Diener, Penelope Walker and Amira Danan. (Front Row) Robert Schleifer


Chicago’s theater since 1925, Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit arts and community organization in the heart of the Loop, distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and community engagement. Led by Artistic Director Susan V. Booth and Executive Director/CEO Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large-scale musical theater works and reimagined classics. Artists and productions have earner two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards and nearly 200 Joseph Jefferson Awards, among other accolades. The Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Its longtime annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, now in its fifth decade, has created a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production and program partner with national and international companies and Chicago’s Off-Loop theaters.

Using the tools of theatrical practice, the Goodman’s Education and Engagement programs aim to develop generations of citizens who understand and empathize with cultures and stories of diverse voices. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of these programs, which are offered for Chicago youth—85% of whom come from underserved communities—schools and life-long learners.

Goodman Theatre was built on the traditional homelands of the Council of the Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi Nations. We recognize that many other Nations consider the area we now call Chicago as their traditional homeland—including the Myaamia, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac and Fox, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Wea, Kickapoo and Mascouten—and remains home to many Native peoples today. While we believe that our city’s vast diversity should be reflected on the stages of its largest theater, we acknowledge that our efforts have largely overlooked the voices of our Native peoples. This omission has added to the isolation, erasure and harm that Indigenous communities have faced for hundreds of years. We have begun a more deliberate journey towards celebrating Native American stories and welcoming Indigenous communities.

The Goodman was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.

Julie Danis is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Lorrayne Weiss is Women’s Board President and Kelli Garcia is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.

Read Splash Magazines’ review of Goodman’s A Christmas Carol here.


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