When you think of the arts at Christmas, two things come to mind: The Nutcracker, a mainstay for ballets large and small around the world, and A Christmas Carol, which has become its equivalent in the theater world. The Charles Dickens classic is not only sentimental, it’s a centerpiece of many American theater company budgets well beyond the holidays.
That’s especially true for the Goodman Theater in Chicago, where A Christmas Carol has been on the annual bill for the last 35 years. Performances of A Christmas Carol, by far its biggest production of the year, often sell out at the Goodman’s theater center in the Loop. And, for the past six years, a celebrity performer has joined the cast one night to trod the boards for charity.
This year, the moment comes on Friday night, when former Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen will don a Victorian costume to take part in select scenes of the show. He’ll be joined by seven-year-old La’Ren Kimble, whose participation is being made possible through Make A Wish Chicago.
Pippen joins a lineup of Chicago sports and television figures who’ve taken part in A Christmas Carol, including Chicago White Sox Manager Robin Ventura and Blackhawks star Bobby Hull. Meanwhile, actors who’ve performed in it include ER’s Laura Innes, Elizabeth Perkins of Big fame, and respected Broadway performer Raul Esparza.
But the cost-cutting is seen as a further blow to businesses relying on Christmas shoppers to come out in force and bring some balance to the books after a tough year for retailers.
With budget cuts and rising pressures on services, many councils do not have the money to keep the lights on. Even those not cancelling the tree and fairy lights are cutting back on their switch-on events, replacing the usual reality TV star or pop band guest with the mayor or local school children. A survey this weekend found 38% of England‘s villages would be without their Christmas decorations this year because of cost.
“It’s not about being Scrooge, but being sensible with your budgets,” said Robert Oxley of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which supports the cutbacks. “You get some local authorities spending tens or even a hundred thousand pounds of taxpayers’ cash on a huge switch-on when they are cutting back on essential services. In times where savings have to be found, it would seem sensible not to spend a fortune on fairy lights.
“Everyone wants to enjoy Christmas and lights in town centres are often part of the festivities, but that doesn’t mean taxpayers should be left footing million pound bills just for decorations.”
Strange Random Christmas Lights Quote:
I’ve learned that you can tell a lot a person by the way he or she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas lights. – Maya Angelou
- Upgrade Christmas Lights to LED (thinkoutsidethebin.com)
- Christmas starts here! (kerrycooks.wordpress.com)
- Outdoor Christmas lights 2011 edition (treesflowersbirds.wordpress.com)
- Lights on at Temple Square, signaling beginning of Christmas season ()
- Christmas Lights Buying Guide Now Available from Dobbies.com (prweb.com)
- Ironbridge Gorge Christmas Lights Feedback (lightmoorlife.wordpress.com)
- NJ war monument’s Christmas lights draw reprisals (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
If you’ve seen the new animated movie of Dickens’ classic novel (or any of the other versions), you might be interested in the original Christmas Carol. But rather than read the whole book, you might prefer to listen to it. If so, you’re in luck, because the site Learn Out Loud, which specialises in audio and video downloads, is giving away the audiobook during the month of December (so hurry and get yours!)
From the download page, you need to add the item to your shopping cart as if it were a normal purchase, then create a free account with the site. However, the book is free and once you have an account, you’ll be able to access other free offers the site provides.
If you’d prefer to read the original text or use it to follow along, you can find it here.