After three chilly years of performing A Christmas Carol outside at the Harn Homestead, Lyric Theatre — Oklahoma’s official state theatre — is excited to bring this year’s production back indoors. Producing Artistic Director Michael Baron said, “Our spectacular and new production has been three years in the making and celebrates our return to The Plaza Theatre. It’s the Christmas Carol you love, the classic treasure, but with more magic, more flying ghosts, more singing and dancing and more holiday cheer than ever before.”
This is Lyric’s 12th season for A Christmas Carol, a tradition long before the COVID pandemic hit in 2020. Being able to move the production outside was a solution to carry on in a time when community and theater were especially important, but Lyric understood that for a lot of people the show would not be accessible. “Devon Energy graciously said they would help us remount the show when we were ready to go back inside,” Baron said. “When they said that they would help us, I had no idea that it would be in the form of a $1 million donation to make sure that the show happens for the next decade.”
This incredible gift by Devon Energy did so much more for A Christmas Carol than allow it to move back into a traditional theatre. About a third of the donation has been used to transport the audience inside the Victorian world of Ebenezer Scrooge,with new costumes and a lush 360-degree interactive set that Baron compares to Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. This set features giant revolving scenery to assist in moving the story forward. The remainder of the gift will be used to ensure that A Christmas Carol will continue on for the next nine years.
Baron also said that the best thing to come out of Devon Energy’s donation was not the incredible new production value, but being able to secure full-time salaried production staff. With Devon’s gift, a full-time scenic artist and carpenter, among others, were both hired to help build this new version of A Christmas Carol and future Lyric productions.
For those who have made it their yearly tradition to see A Christmas Carol, expect a few changes: The script, adapted from the Dickens novel by Baron himself, remains traditional but features new scenes and updated musical arrangements. And while in the past, the audience had become used to seeing the same faces playing the same roles, Baron noted that this is the first year for most of the current cast. “There are so many talented new actors that are making their home in OKC, and we wanted to give them the opportunity to be in the show,” he said. “Going forward there will be an open audition every year. Dickens writes really captivating characters, and we want to continue casting interesting actors who share the heart of the show.” This year’s show features a large cast with lots of child actors, adding to the enchantment of the world Baron has helped create on stage.
While this production is appropriate for all ages, some scenes may be scary for kids under five. A Christmas Carol will run Nov. 24 through Dec. 24 at the theatre in the Plaza. For tickets or more information, visit lyrictheatreokc.com.