‘A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play’ rings in holiday season

On Nov. 18, the Philip Lynch Theater proudly presented their first showing of  “A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play” by Joe Landry, which is a unique take on the classic tale written by Charles Dickens. 

“What’s different about this one is it’s the story of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ but it’s set in the 1940s in a radio studio,” said director and theater professor Annie Calhoun. “So we’re pretending that we’re broadcasting the airwaves to everybody and instead of being fully memorized the cast has scripts like they would in a radio station.”

The holiday classic came to life as a live 1940s radio broadcast, which was complete with vintage commercials and the magic of sound effects and musical underscoring. The classic holiday tale is about three ghosts taking Ebenezer Scrooge on an exciting journey to teach him the true meaning of Christmas.

“Instead of moving all around the stage, they have to be at their microphones because we’re sending it out,” said Calhoun. “There’s a sound table that does sound effects so it’s like you’re listening to the story.”

There are a total of 10 cast members in the play. Each student plays multiple roles in the show, since there are many minor characters within it. Senior biology major Brendan Roark plays Freddie Filmore, aka Ebenezer Scrooge. 

Freshman Andrew Dills plays the Ghost of Christmas Present. Freshman psychology and illustration major Katelyn L. Butt plays the Ghost of Christmas Past. 5th year senior theater and music industry double major Alex Schedel plays the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

“There’s 10 students in the cast and seven of them have never done a shortlisted play before, which is really cool,” said Calhoun. “There is a senior biology major who’s playing Scrooge, which is kind of neat.”

The play had four more showings after Thanksgiving break, which were on Dec. 1 through Dec. 4. The running time of the play was 1 hour and 15 minutes, with no intermission.


The theater department decided to have a production of this play this school year because it brings feelings of joy, especially around this time of year.

“I think it brings a lot of joy around the holiday time and a lot of people haven’t gone out and seen theater since COVID-19,” said Calhoun. “It’s bringing a lot of people out because they know the name since it’s familiar.”

With it being a live radio play, for each performance, the cast members came on stage and sang a few Christmas songs with the audience, who then applauded when the applause sign lit up. During the play, there were a couple of times when the cast sang commercial songs.

“The cast sings a couple carols with the audience because they’re warming them up since they need the live audience for the applause,” said Calhoun. “They have another little commercial moment where they stopped the story for fruitcake and sang a little song about fruitcake.”

As the director of this play, Calhoun thinks that it’s a great play for new students at Lewis to join the theater program since there’s not many lines to memorize.

“I love that our cast is from all different majors and I love the story because my favorite character is Fred Scrooge, his nephew,” said Calhoun. “This year, I particularly thought of Fred as somebody that we should all be like.”

Students and community members were encouraged to watch this play because of the short running time and seeing a live performance is completely different from watching something on television.

“It’s joyful and fun and it’s a short show, so it doesn’t take a lot of time out of your day,” said Calhoun. “There’s always something that you’re gonna get from seeing a live performance, whether it be some sort of joy and merriment [or] a message of the show that hits you in a different way.”

The next production that the Phillip Lynch Theater will be putting on next semester is “The Sun Serpent,” which is a story that portrays the strength of the human spirit.

Photo Credit: Katelyn Leano

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