“A Christmas Carol” at ZACH Theatre

I have to admit – I was not looking forward to going to the play. I’m a school administrator and, as anyone in education knows, the stretch between late September and Thanksgiving is BRUTAL. So when I made it home from school on Friday, FINALLY on Thanksgiving break, the last thing I wanted to do was go to a play. Honestly, I was really worried about falling asleep – it was just “A Christmas Carol” after all.


Fast forward to 10:30pm. I’m HYPED, talking furiously with Brian about how it was NOT what I expected, waiting for “our favorite” actor (because we have a favorite actor at this point) to come out so we can meet him. “Are we theatre people now? How do we become theatre people?” Asks Brian, excitedly.

Let me explain how we got here.
Thank you, ZACH Theatre, for the complimentary tickets!

All I knew about “A Christmas Carol” was that it’s an old play by Charles Dickens. I accepted the tickets because I’d made a commitment to myself to go to as many holiday events as possible, and this was the first one to cross my path. 

The first thing I noticed upon walking in was I liked the set (designed by Bob LaVallee). Then the ghost of Marley (Roderick Sanford) started singing “man in the mirror” while haunting Scrooge (Marc Pouhé), “asking him to change his ways” before it was too late. That’s cool, I thought. That song does fit, I guess. That’s kinda fun.

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Photo by Kirk Tuck

Then the ghost of Christmas past (Kenny Williams) came out. His FABULOUS self started singing a family-friendly version of “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels” and ok. You got me. I uncrossed my arms – I’m listening now.

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Photo by Kirk Tuck

As the play continued, it only got better and better. Contemporary songs from Lizzo, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Aloe Blacc, and WAY more made their way into the performance. The ghost of Christmas present (Mary Bridget Davies) belted her heart out! At one point, there was an all-out Christmas party RAVE complete with glow stick lights. If you had told me I would need a glow stick to fully participate in “A Christmas Carol,” I would have thought you were crazy.

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Photo by Kirk Tuck

There’s even a very emotional rendition of Beyonce’s “Halo” by Mrs. Cratchit (Leslie McDonel).

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Photo by Kirk Tuck

Honestly, Brian and I were floored by intermission. The play is 2 hours and 20 minutes, but let me tell you, you won’t even look at your watch. During intermission, I got one of their themed cocktails – the “Bah Hum Bug.” It’s a deliciously boozy hot chocolate with plenty of holiday spices.


The second half of the play continues as thrilling and engaging as the first. The closing church scene is packed with INCREDIBLE songs from Bob Cratchit (Paul Sanchez, who received a standing ovation after his solo) and the Reverend (Roderick Sanford).

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Photo by Kirk Tuck

Overall, I highly recommend going to see “A Christmas Carol” at the ZACH Theatre. It’s a FUN play that will have you moving, clapping, and singing in your seat. All the info you need is below. Bring all your relatives who are visiting, young and old! I know Brian and I plan on going again with our parents. If you do go, let me know what you think of it!

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Photo by Kirk Tuck

Happy holidays, everyone! 


November 20–December 29, 2019

The Topfer at ZACH Theatre

By Charles Dickens
Conceived and Adapted by Dave Steakley
Directed by Dave Steakley
Musical Direction by Allen Robertson
Choreographed by Jen Young Mahlstedt
Additional Choreography by Christa Oliver

Austin’s most rockin’ holiday tradition returns to make merry with new music and surprises to get the party started. ZACH’s inspired adaptation of the Dickens’ classic is a musical sleigh ride through rhythm and time, infusing the traditional Victorian story with a score that spans all genres and eras. This family-friendly spectacular creates an infectious spirit that has everyone dancing in the aisles. Celebrate the season with the loving Cratchit family and three soulful ghosts as they take Ebenezer Scrooge on a joyride to rediscover his heart and love for human kindness.

Age recommendation: 6 and up

Champagne Opening: Friday, November 22, 2019
Post-Show Discussion: Wednesday, November 27, 2019
ASL Interpreted, Audio Described, and Open Captioned: Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Tickets start at $30 – Purchase them here!

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Author: Kelly

Kelly Phillips is the writer and photographer behind DiscoveringATX.com. You can view more of her photos on Instagram @DiscoveringATX and her photography portfolio at kphilphoto.com.

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