A Christmas Carol is the first show I ever did at the Goodman. I had previously been cast in Robert Falls’ production of House and Garden, but got a major infection in my leg, and had to drop out after four rehearsals. I come back to A Christmas Carol every year because the Goodman keeps asking me! And, because I love it. I love the audiences, and how the show makes them feel. People who don’t normally go to the theater come to A Christmas Carol, no matter what city they live in. Their response really is infectious; otherwise, I’d probably stay in the “Bah, humbug” land. It kind of serves to buoy me up.
There’s always new people in the cast, some come back, some take on different parts. As an actor, you respond to what you’re receiving, so that [new chemistry] always affects [putting the show together] a bit. My task is to stay open to that. It would be easy for me to just be a robot, and go through the motions of what I know works. There’s a new Tiny Tim this year, which is fun, and I always love working with Henry Wishcamper. The care the Goodman takes with the show each year is what makes it special.
There hasn’t been one production in my 10 years where, at the beginning of rehearsals, we didn’t have a discussion about what is going on with the world, and how the show can reflect current events. There’s always these incredible direct correlations. The play seems to speak to whatever is happening in the united psyche, because it’s such a great story, and it’s mythic. People are aware of its important message and depth. It always feels quite alive and vibrant.
After the election last year, A Christmas Carol brought so many people together in one room and really reminded everyone that we are indeed a family. Everyone. There’s every color in that cast, which is so fabulous, and the bonds are tight, real and true. We’re all here for a purpose. That’s how potent the show is.