(PHILADELPHIA, PA) -- Lantern Theater Company continues its 2022/23 season with a remount of its original adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, commissioned and developed through the Lantern’s New Play Program and co-created by Philadelphia theater artists Anthony Lawton, Christopher Colucci, and Thom Weaver. In this wonderfully clear and direct telling of Dickens’ beloved novella, acclaimed playwright and actor Anthony Lawton brings the story boldly to life with drama and frankness, in a manner Dickens himself would recognize from his dramatic readings during his own lifetime.
Lawton’s compelling solo performance brings each character to life in this timeless story of a miser’s miraculous redemption from a life of bitterness, greed, and isolation. Hailed by the late Terry Teachout in The Wall Street Journal as “electrifying” and by The Philadelphia Inquirer as “a 95-minute masterpiece…brilliantly performed and staged,” Lawton’s heartwarming adaptation has captured the hearts of theater critics and audiences alike, inspiring a new Philadelphia holiday tradition.
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol runs Saturday, December 3 through Wednesday, December 28, 2022, at The Proscenium Theatre at The Drake; a complete schedule of performances is included in the fact sheet below. To ensure a safe and comfortable theater experience, everyone other than the actor on stage must wear properly fitted masks while attending the performance. For audience members who prefer to watch from home, the Lantern will also be streaming a fully designed and edited film version of A Christmas Carol from December 13, 2022 – January 1, 2023.
Written in 1843, Dickens’ holiday classic is famous for its ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future who help Scrooge see the error of his ways. But Dickens originally envisioned A Christmas Carol as a social justice pamphlet denouncing child labor and poverty entitled An Appeal to the People of England, on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child. England in the 1840s was a time of rapid industrialization, massive population growth, and widening gulfs between the rich and the poor. Throughout his life, Dickens was highly sensitive to and outspoken about social issues, particularly those involving children and economic inequality.
“There are some stories so woven into the mythos of a culture that it seems impossible to imagine a time before they existed,” said Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon. “A Christmas Carol is one of those stories. Stripped of holiday clichés, it is a devastating story, laying bare all the ugly forces that separate and isolate human beings from one another, turning life into a solitary torment. It is also a joyous story of one person’s release from that torment just at the moment when it seems about to clasp him in its grip for all time. We are thrilled to again present this original adaption of A Christmas Carol – a unique version in which you will hear the simple power of the words and the characters told in a clear and simple human voice.”
Lantern Theater Company will delve deeper into the themes of A Christmas Carol on its Lantern Searchlight blog, available online at lanterntheater.org/searchlight. Published articles explore the world of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol in the nexus between Victorian economics and literature, the fascinating circumstances surrounding the writing of this holiday classic, and more.
Tickets for the live production of A Christmas Carol are $25 – $30 and are available online at www.lanterntheater.org or by calling the Lantern Box Office at (215) 829-0395. Discounts are available for students, seniors 65 and up, U.S. military personnel, and groups of 10 or more. Performances of A Christmas Carol will take place at The Proscenium Theatre at The Drake, located at 302 S. Hicks St. in Center City Philadelphia.
During the 2022/23 season, the Lantern will announce updated health and safety guidelines 30 days prior to the start of each production. For A Christmas Carol, everyone other than the actor on stage must wear properly fitted masks at all times in all parts of the performance venue, including the lobby, performance space, restrooms, and stairwells. More detailed information is available at lanterntheater.org/health-and-safety.
Tickets for A Christmas Carol DIGITAL are $25 per household/device and will be available online at www.lanterntheater.org beginning December 13, 2022. Closed captioning is available. Ticket buyers will receive an email confirmation with a private ticket access link, which will provide on-demand access to A Christmas Carol for one viewing during the December 13, 2022 – January 1, 2023 streaming period. The production can be viewed on most internet-connected devices with email/web browser access, including desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and select smart TVs.
About the Artists
Anthony Lawton (Co-Creator and the Storyteller) shows his mastery of theatrical narrative as he plays all of A Christmas Carol’s roles in this solo tour de force performance. Lawton is well known to Philadelphia audiences for his original works for the stage – including The Foocy, which had its world premiere production at the Lantern in 2005 and earned five Barrymore nominations including Best New Play, and The Light Princess, which premiered at Arden Theatre Company and earned eight 2017 Barrymore nominations including Best New Play and two wins. Lawton has also created original adaptations of Shel Silverstein’s The Devil and Billy Markham and C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce, which he has performed at the Lantern and across the U.S. under the aegis of his Mirror Theatre Company, earning him praise from Philadelphia City Paper as the city’s “Best One-Man Theatre.” As an actor, Lawton’s local and regional stage credits include numerous stage and digital productions with the Lantern, most recently as James Joyce in Travesties, Thomas Cromwell in A Man for All Seasons, Dr. Rieux in The Plague, Mr. Rice in Molly Sweeney, and the title role in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. His work at other theaters includes Philadelphia Theatre Company, Arden Theatre Company, Walnut Street Theatre, The Wilma Theater, 1812 Productions, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, and theaters across the U.S. His film and television credits include Unbreakable, Invincible, Law Abiding Citizen, Silver Linings Playbook, Hack, and Cold Case. Lawton holds a BA in great books from the University of Notre Dame and an MFA in acting from Temple University.
Christopher Colucci (Co-Creator and Sound Designer) is an eight-time Barrymore Award-winning sound designer, composer, and musician whose 25+ Lantern credits include recent stage productions of Travesties and A Man for All Seasons, as well as digital productions of The Plague, Molly Sweeney, and The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens & Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord. Other recent sound design work includes Charlotte’s Web at Arden Theatre Company, Wolf Play at Theatre Exile, and Steel Magnolias at Florida’s Gulfshore Playhouse, and upcoming productions of The Last Parade at InterAct Theatre Company and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Walnut Street Theatre. Colucci holds a BA in philosophy and theology from Eastern University and an MA in philosophy from Western Kentucky University.
Thom Weaver (Co-Creator and Scenic/Lighting Designer) is an award-winning designer whose work has been honored with six Barrymore Awards, two Jeff Awards, and two AUDELCO Awards. His work has been seen locally at the Lantern, The Wilma Theater, Arden Theatre Company, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Theatre Exile, New Paradise Laboratories, and Walnut Street Theatre, and regionally at NYSF/The Public Theater, Roundabout Theatre Company, Primary Stages, Signature Theatre (NY), Center Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Syracuse Stage, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Shakespeare Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Folger Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Roundhouse Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Hangar Theatre, Spoleto Festival, City Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theater, and Yale Repertory Theatre. He is also co-founder of Die-Cast with Brenna Geffers and a member of Wingspace, an organization of theater artists that fosters conversations on design, strengthening community, and furthering activism in the field. Weaver holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
Founded in 1994 and continuing its 29th season with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the mission of Lantern Theater Company is to produce plays that investigate and illuminate what is essential in the human spirit and the spirit of the times. The Lantern serves the Greater Philadelphia region with award-winning productions and education programming, notably partnering with middle schools and high schools in the Philadelphia School District to provide in-classroom residencies in support of curricular learning. The Lantern became a national leader in streaming theater during the Covid-19 health crisis, producing ten fully designed plays that were created and filmed in the company’s resident home at St. Stephen’s Theater, garnering coverage in national media including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and reaching more than 30,000 patrons in 15 countries and all 50 states.
Following its current Philadelphia premiere production of The Royale by Marco Ramirez, directed and choreographed by Zuhairah McGill (now through December 11, 2022) and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the Lantern’s 2022/23 season will continue with the Philadelphia premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell, directed by Matt Pfeiffer; and Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, directed by Charles McMahon.