The Goodman Theatre's annual production of 'A Christmas Carol' gets turned into audio play

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Goodman Theatre's annual production of A Christmas Carol has been a Chicago holiday tradition for more than 40 years.

With theaters closed due to the pandemic, the Goodman has come up with a creative way to keep the tradition going - by turning it into an audio play!

"What can we do that would be possible, and also really artistically exciting? And we determined it's a beautiful story for old-time radio," said director Jessica Thebus.

"We had to really make it safe," she said. "Plexiglass booths in the rehearsal rooms so people, each actor was inside their own space, and everyone was masked, except for when we were recording, then people were socially distanced."

"Coming into people's homes was a big though that was going through my mind. We're not up on stage, we're in their living rooms and we're really kind of inside their heads," said Thom Cox who plays Bob Cratchit. "We're having them help us tell this story through their imaginary landscape."

"Eva, the dialect coach, it was really great to have Eva in the room when we were doing the recording because in real time she could tell us, 'actually let's go back and do that line again,'" explained Susaan Jamshidi who voices Mrs. Cratchit.

"It was a challenge because we didn't know how we would haves to fix things or what would work, we had to record it all, listen to it and determine what was working and what was not working," Thebus said.

It's hard to say how long theaters will remain dark, but audio plays - that's a whole realm of possibilities.

"It's a great challenge and it was a fun challenge," said Jamshidi. "But yeah, I would love to do another audio play!"

"I do think it's an interesting form to continue to explore," Thebus said.

A Christmas Carol audio play will stream free, December 1 through 31.

The show will broadcast over public radio WBEZ Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

"Happy Holidays, love you all, be safe," Cox said. "Take care of each other and don't sell your silver candlesticks - not yet!"
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