A Christmas Carol is a long-standing tradition for Chicago audiences—and for the cast and crew, many of whom return to the production year after year. Here, several cast members share their favorite holiday memories, traditions and more!


What is your favorite part about performing in A Christmas Carol, and why do you like to return each year?

“It’s the audiences. This is one of those wonderful stories that so many people can relate to and I see the relief and joy on their faces every year, even if they know what’s going to happen in the play. It gives people hope at a time of year that can be stressful.”
–Larry Yando (Ebenezer Scrooge)

“It’s rare for an actor to be able to revisit roles or productions they have previously worked on. This is my second year in the show, and I’m excited to work with [director] Henry Wishcamper again to see what new ideas he has up his sleeve. Also, let’s be honest…getting to fly on stage is pretty cool!”
–Travis A. Knight (Ghost of Christmas Past)

“One of my favorite parts of A Christmas Carol is when we raise money for Season of Concern after the show. So many little kids come up to donate and then are shocked to see the people who were just on stage alive and in person. The reactions on their faces are priceless.”
–Kim Schultz (Ghost of Christmas Present)

Kim Schultz and Larry Yando in the 2016 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Liz Lauren.
Kim Schultz and Larry Yando in the 2016 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Liz Lauren.

Are there any holidays from your own past or even future you would like to be able to visit like Scrooge?

“Over the years I’ve missed a lot of weddings, holidays, funerals and other special occasions because I was in shows and wasn’t always able to get to those places. Looking back, I would have tried to not miss as many. I take performing very seriously because many people count on you; you can’t always take time off in the way you can with some jobs. So I would like to go back and see the things I may have missed.”
–Larry Yando

“It would be great to go back and watch Christmases from when I was a kid. My siblings and I would be so pumped for Christmas that we could hardly stand it. As we get older, I think we start to lose a little bit of that wonder and magic, so it would be fun to go back and see just how everything was utterly fantastic.”
–Travis A. Knight

“Halloween 1986. I was sick and couldn’t go trick-or-treating. I was covered from head to toe in Vicks VapoRub. My mom still made it a fun night by having us watch movies together. I’d love to go back and see that.”
–Sadieh Rifai (Mrs. Cratchit)

“Any holiday with my wife, who passed away two years ago. I miss her every day.”
–Joe Foust (Jacob Marley)

“I would love to be able to visit a Christmas past when my parents were children, to see their faces as they opened gifts. I would also love to visit a Christmas Eve past and see my parents putting together and wrapping the gifts my sisters and I would receive as children. To hear them talk to each other about their hopes for the Christmas day to come would be amazing.”
–John Lister (Mr. Fezziwig)

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John Lister, Penelope Walker, J Salomé Martinez, Kristina Valada-Viars and Emma Ladji in the 2016 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Liz Lauren.

What are your favorite holiday traditions with friends and family?

“Around Thanksgiving my family will always watch Home Alone together. My son is a year-and-a-half old and I’m excited to start new holiday traditions with him. He’s already a joyous little soul, so I cannot wait to see this time of year through his eyes.”
–Travis A. Knight

“My family no longer gives gifts to each other. We’ve decided to share experiences together rather than just receiving stuff. Each year we go see a play and have a nice dinner afterward.”
–Sadieh Rifai

“I join cast member Kristina Valada-Viars every Christmas Eve and we go with a group for a late dinner at a 24-hour diner. Anyone working that shift is there because they desperately need the money. We surprise them with a tip of hundreds of dollars we pool together. It feels great.”
–Joe Foust

Joe Foust and Larry Yando in the 2016 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Liz Lauren.
Joe Foust and Larry Yando in the 2016 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Liz Lauren.

What is the best holiday gift you’ve ever given or received?

“Seven years ago I received Bulls tickets. My family went to the New Year’s Eve game and had a blast. That was my first ever NBA game.”
–Aaron Lamm (Scrooge as a Boy)

“My favorite Christmas gift was a Big Wheel. It made me so incredibly happy to careen up and down my neighborhood streets. Still to this day, one of the best gifts I have received.”
–Kim Schultz

“The best holiday gift I ever received was an Atari 2600. My father knew I wanted one, but he told me we could not afford it. After all of the presents were opened on Christmas morning, he asked me what was behind the desk, where I found another gift (and this was years before A Christmas Story was released, so I know he came up with the idea himself). I opened it to find an Atari 2600 and proceeded to lose my mind!”
–John Lister

Aaron Lamm and Emma Ladji in the 2016 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Liz Lauren.
Aaron Lamm and Emma Ladji in the 2016 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Liz Lauren.