Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” has seen several iterations on the stage and on screen since the book was first published in 1843. No matter the presentation, the classic story withstands the test of time to communicate its central themes of goodwill, generosity and forgiveness.
For the 40th year, the Hippodrome State Theatre will tell the timeless tale of a greedy small-business owner who resentfully journeys through time with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
From now to Dec. 22, the Hippodrome Theatre will host 13 performances based on an adaptation by Janet Allard and Michael Bigelow Dixon, directed by Niall McGinty.
Allard and Dixon’s version of the story comes with a unique and creative twist. While the pair take dialogue directly from Dickens’ novella, they retell the story by having every actor – male, female, young and old – play the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge.
Janet Stierwalt, 32, has lived in Gainesville since she attended UF and studied family, youth and community sciences as an undergraduate. The student housing property manager has seen the Hippodrome’s iteration of “A Christmas Carol” every year since she discovered the show her junior year.
“I don’t think ‘A Christmas Carol’ will ever get old for me. I read the book in high school, but there’s nothing like seeing it on stage, especially the way they’ve been doing it recently at the Hippodrome. I love that they continue to make it fresh and new,” Stierwalt said. “The message is timeless, and I hope I can bring my kids to see it someday.”
Contrarily, Alyssa Milonas, a 23-year-old theater aficionado, only remembers bits and pieces of the 174-year-old story from her sophomore high school English class.
“I mostly remember the chills I got at the very end of the story. I can’t remember the details now, but the message of redemption always stuck with me,” Milonas said. “It’s hard to find time to pick up a book these days, so to be able to catch the story on stage is pretty special. I love the magic of live theater. It’s so palpable, especially around the holidays.”
The Hippodrome offers private showings to elementary and middle school students at 10 a.m. on weekdays, while evening and weekend performances are open to the general public, said Andrea Wakefield, office company manager.
Performances began Saturday and will continue every Saturday until Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. After that, there will be one 2 p.m. and one 7 p.m. performance on Tuesday, Dec. 19, Wednesday, Dec. 20 and Thursday, Dec. 21. The closing show on Friday, Dec. 22, will have a 7 p.m. curtain.
Tickets for “A Christmas Carol” start at $18 for college students and children ages 4 to 17. Tickets for seniors and the under 30 crowd are $28. Regular weekday tickets cost $38 while regular weekend tickets cost $40. Far side seating, regardless of age, goes for $23.
Tickets and more information can be found at tickets.thehipp.org.