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Lights of Broadway: A Christmas Carol (2022)




A Christmas Carol

Synopsis: The timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge comes to thrilling new life as Tony Award® winner Jefferson Mays plays over 50 roles in a virtuosic, master class of a performance that must be seen to be believed.



Review:

Mr. Scrooge hates his family, he hates his neighbours, and most of all he hates Christmas and Christmas well wishings. Charles Dickens wrote the classic holiday tale in 1843 to tell the tale of how a greedy, nasty man was haunted by 3 ghosts to make him a better person. In 2022 at the Nederlander Theatre, for a strictly limited engagement is this classic tale reimagined as a one-man show. Enter the mourner, Jefferson Mays. Known and revered for his ability to portray many caricatures, Jefferson Mays had the daunting task of embodying each character in the classic Dickens tale over 95 minutes. What transpired throughout that time was an awe-inducing performance and story. Jefferson Mays was brilliant in his portrayal, from Tiny Tim the optimist to the vile Scrooge, each character felt dynamic and most importantly unique.

In supporting this feat comes the lighting design by Ben Stanton. Mr. Stanton’s decision to light most of the show with “natural light” led to a wholly unique experience that had the viewer enthralled. Many times the only light visible on stage was a single flickering candlelight by Jefferson Mays, and yet he was never in the dark. This is a difficult task to undertake and it paid off to great success. Alongside the brilliant lighting design was a scenic design by Dane Laffrey. Lavish sets intricately timed to the story on a turntable helped to fill in moments where Jefferson needed to portray multiple folks at a party or a dinner. The best execution of the set was when Scrooge ascended the stairs while the turntable spun only to find him immediately entering through the bedroom door. With no stage hand in sight, this set felt as if it was coming up and growing around the storyteller instead of being placed there.


Where this show faltered was in the decision to include a strange song that felt out of place while Scrooge was reflecting on the Ghost of Christmas Past. No lines were spoken and the stage spun for what had to have been 3-4 minutes that ground the show to a screeching, weirdly indie, halt. Also, while the show succeeded as a one-man show to great effect, there still was a feeling of desire for another body on stage, specifically as the spirits haunt him. Having a grounding figure there to combat the multiple characters of Jefferson Mays would have helped in focusing some of the scenes where there were 5+ characters all speaking at once.


Overall, the show is a Christmas classic. One that during the holiday season is sure to delight and amaze. Jefferson Mays solely makes the show with strong support from the scenery and lighting designers.


However, the role in any other hand, would make this show falter as it is a monumental undertaking portraying hundreds of characters.


Jefferson May’s A Christmas Carol earns itself a 4 out of 5 stars.


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