Press Release: Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol
Christmas is Not Cancelled: “God Bless Us Everyone”
Tony Award-winner Jefferson Mays Reprises His Acclaimed A Christmas Carol Performance
National On-Demand Production to Benefit South Coast Repertory
SCR MEDIA CONTACT: Tania Thompson, Director of Public Relations, [email protected];
PHOTOS: Geffen Playhouse production photos from A Christmas Carol (2018). Photos by Chris Whitaker: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7blu5zuvgc9umyh/AABs4ZHSL9-FMwXl0TwtKPYOa?dl=0
NEW YORK, NY and COSTA MESA, Calif. (Oct. 27, 2020)—South Coast Repertory (Artistic Director David Ivers, Managing Director Paula Tomei) and producer Hunter Arnold unofficially kicked off the holiday season early, announcing that a special filmed version of Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic A Christmas Carol starring one of the finest stage actors of our time, Tony Award® winner Jefferson Mays, will be released worldwide on Saturday, Nov. 28. This streaming video event will benefit SCR, as well as other community, amateur, regional theaters across the country which have been devastated by the pandemic. Directed by two-time Tony Award-nominee Michael Arden, adapted by Mays, Susan Lyons, and Arden, and conceived by Arden and Tony Award-nominee Dane Laffrey, the filmed version is based on the wildly acclaimed 2018 production, which made its world premiere at Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse.
Starting today, tickets for A Christmas Carol are now available to purchase online at https://scr.org/jefferson-mays'-a-christmas-carol
“Adding Jefferson Mays to our robust season offerings is sure to delight South Coast Repertory audiences,” said SCR Artistic Director David Ivers. “A theatrical telling of Charles Dickens’ classic story has been a part of Orange County’s holiday tradition for decades and we’re excited for the opportunity to partner with our theatrical colleagues across the country for this on-demand video production of A Christmas Carol.”
Jefferson Mays said, “A Christmas Carol was my first experience of living theater. My mother and father would read it out loud every year. My father would tell the story with clarity and humanity, while my mother, eyes ablaze, would transform into the characters, from the tortured Jacob Marley, to little Fan and the entire Cratchit family. Both, in their ways, created magic. And now here we are, aspiring to bring this magic to people across the country during this challenging time.”
Michael Arden said, “My theater career began when I was a 10-year-old Texan playing Tiny Tim in the Midland Community Theatre production of A Christmas Carol. In a time when theaters and arts workers across the country are in great need, bringing a story that celebrates the power of creativity, community, and our shared humanity is humbling.”
Hunter Arnold said, “Due to COVID-19, the country’s theaters have lost over 80% of their income, a number that is devastating to our community. These theaters, the work they produce, and the artists and workers they support are a fundamental part of our society. We must fight for their survival.”
SCR is a partner through a joint project between Arnold's TBD Pictures, La Jolla Playhouse, and On The Stage. Other partner theaters currently include Actors' Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse, George Street Playhouse, Iowa Stage Theatre Company, Sankofa Collective, Shea's Performing Arts Center, South Coast Repertory, Springfield Contemporary Theatre, Theatre Tallahassee, and Vermont Stage.
A Christmas Carol was filmed at New York’s United Palace, chosen to preserve the power of the theatrical storytelling Mays and Arden have created.
When it played the Geffen Playhouse in 2018, A Christmas Carol and was called “a stunning adaptation” by Jordan Riefe of The Hollywood Reporter, and “a tour-de-force performance by Jefferson Mays. Every bit of theater magic you can think of. You’ll find yourself transported—hanging on to every word and relishing every last image” by Anthony Byrnes of KCRW.
Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times raved that “Jefferson Mays not only got me to see A Christmas Carol, something I’ve vowed never to do again. But he got me to rave about it. For true theater lovers, there can be no better gift this season.”
The timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge comes to thrilling new life as Jefferson Mays plays over 50 roles in a virtuosic, master class of a performance that must be seen to be believed. This theatrical achievement comes from the haunting vision of one of Broadway’s most imaginative directors, Michael Arden.
Staged exclusively for this film and captured live with breathtaking clarity, this must-watch streaming event conjures the powerful spirits of Christmas and brings all the magic of live theatre home for the holidays.
The creative team for A Christmas Carol includes Dane Laffrey (scenic and costume design), Maceo Bishop (director of photography), Ben Stanton (lighting design), Lucy Mackinnon (projection design), Joshua D. Reid (sound design), Cookie Jordan (hair and makeup design), James Ortiz (puppet design), and Nikki M. James (assistant director).
A Christmas Carol is produced by Hunter Arnold with George Bamber, Kayla Greenspan, Carl Daikeler, Roberto Quiroz Mata, and strong>Tom Kirdahy serving as executive producers for the film.
Jefferson Mays (Performer, Adaptor) has appeared at Geffen Playhouse in I Am My Own Wife and Yes, Prime Minister!. Broadway credits are Oslo, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, The Best Man, I Am My Own Wife, Pygmalion, Journey’s End and Of Thee I Sing. Off-Broadway, he has performed in Measure for Measure, Lydie Breeze, Quills and many more. Regional credits include My Fair Lady, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Cherry Orchard, Tartuffe, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale and Peter Pan. Film and television credits include “Perry Mason,” “Westworld,” “The Blacklist,” Joel Cohen’s Macbeth, “I Am The Night,” the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Inherent Vice, Rebel in the Rye, I am Michael, The Notorious Bettie Page, “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “The Americans,” “Mildred Pierce,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Nurse Jackie,” “The Closer,” and “Dolley Madison.” Awards include Tony, Lucille Lortel, Drama Desks, Obies, Outer Critic’s Circle, Helen Hayes, Elliot Norton, Theatre World, Drama League, Jefferson, Dramalogue, and Helpmann. Mays received his BA from Yale College and an MFA from University of California, San Diego. He is married to Susan Lyons.
Susan Lyons (Adaptor). After graduating from Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art, Lyons worked extensively in theater, film, television and radio, playing a wide range of leading roles with all the major companies. She was awarded the Marten Bequest in 1993. Married to Jefferson Mays, she directed him in the national and international tours of I Am My Own Wife.
Michael Arden (Adaptor, Director) began his theater career at age 10 playing Tiny Tim in the Midland Community Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol in Midland, Texas. He is humbled to be working with the singular Jefferson Mays and all the incredible artists and technicians—including his longtime friend and collaborator Dane Laffrey—on this reimagining of Charles Dickens’ masterpiece. Past directing credits include Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening (Tony nomination), Once on This Island (Tony nomination and the 2018 winner of Best Revival of a Musical), American Dream Study (with The Forest of Arden), Maybe Happy Ending, Joseph… at Lincoln Center, The Pride, Merrily We Roll Along, My Fair Lady, and Annie at the Hollywood Bowl. Arden is a regular director for “The Conners” on ABC and will direct the upcoming feature Book of Ruth starring Ruth Wilson and Matt Bomer. He is the Founder and a company member of The Forest of Arden, a collective of artists who create site-specific, immersive, and inclusive new forms of theater. He hopes Scrooge’s visitations might inspire us all to lead more empathetic and benevolent lives. God bless us, everyone! Follow @michaelarden and @forestofardenco
Hunter Arnold (Producer) is a Tony and Olivier Award-winning producer. Select Broadway & West End: Hadestown (Tony Award); The Inheritance (Olivier Award and Tony nomination); Once on This Island (Tony Award); Dear Evan Hansen (Tony Award); Kinky Boots (Tony Award and Olivier Award); Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening (Tony nomination); The Visit (Tony nomination); Mothers and Sons (Tony nomination); Moulin Rouge! (Tony nomination); Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (Tony nomination); Tina—The Musical (Tony nomination); Betrayal (Tony nomination); Anastasia; Pretty Woman; The Jungle; The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia?; Disaster!; It’s Only a Play; The Bridges of Madison County. Off-Broadway: Little Shop of Horrors (Drama Desk Award and Drama League Award).
In addition to his producing projects, Arnold is the founder of ARTech Holdings, LLC, an incubator and holding company focused on generating technologies to support the live arts community. Amongst ARTech’s offerings is the premier theatrical ticketing and web presence software for schools and small theatre companies, www.onthestage.com. Arnold is also a General Partner with the Broadway Strategic Return Fund, the first focused, vertically-integrated, profit-driven evergreen hedge fund for accredited investors to capture exceptional returns from investments in Broadway musicals and plays. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurial Business from DePaul University and his Master’s in Business Administration from TRIUM, a joint program representing NYU Stern School of Business, H.E.C. Paris and the London School of Economics. He is a frequent lecturer and guest professor on entertainment trends and economics, commercial theatre and working in the arts
ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964, is led by Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei. SCR is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern plays and musicals, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program—The [email protected]—which includes one of the nation’s largest commissioning programs for emerging, mid-career and established writers. Of SCR’s more than 500 productions, one-quarter have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio. www.scr.org