“A Christmas Carol” Review: Omaha Classic Captivates

Omaha’s holiday tradition once again showcases what Christmas is truly about


Photo by Omaha Community Playhouse

A photo from the 2011 production of "A Christmas Carol."

Natalie Pearson, Staff Reporter

Omaha Community Playhouse’s “A Christmas Carol” is an Omaha icon—right up there with the huge tree at the Durham Museum or the Holiday Lights Festival downtown. It debuted 42 years ago and has been playing ever since, even going on yearly tours throughout the country, garnering praise from audiences and critics alike. Admittedly I had lukewarm feelings about it leading up to the event; after all, who hasn’t heard about the story of “A Christmas Carol”?

This Charles Dickens’ novella turned play, however, felt like a breath of fresh air, performed by local actors whose delightful renditions transformed the cliché story into something brand new. I enjoyed every minute of it.

The moment the curtains opened all of my expectations were blown away. I was astounded by the sheer quality of the production, from the intricate costumes to the detailed sets, all of which felt like it could have been something straight out of Victorian London.

The Ghost of Christmas Future was my favorite set piece, personally, although I was not sure whether it was a person or an animatronic. It was ten feet tall, or maybe more. Its appearance was akin to a dementor, towering over Ebeneezer Scrooge as it pointed a skeletal hand towards his gravestone that rose from the floor in a haze of smoke and lightning.

It was then that my feelings towards this performance were cemented in my mind: this was truly an unforgettable demonstration of theatrical brilliance.

One of the other things I liked was the way the actors put their entire heart and soul into the characters they played. Jerry Longe, in particular, was no stranger to the stage, it has been his 12th year playing Ebeneezer Scrooge, and it certainly showed. Every inflection and gesture seemed to be deliberate, every outburst of emotion was genuine, and at the end, you really felt like you had experienced his character arc with him.

On the other side of the spectrum, Tiny Tim (Annabelle DeWater), though adorable, did not deliver her lines with much emotion. This can, however, be chalked up to this being her first performance and her impressively young age. 

And, true to form, “A Christmas Carol” had Christmas carols in it, naturally. They did not tell a story, as it was not a musical, but it added to the overall experience. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Greensleeves” were my personal favorites. They also had a small orchestra, comprised of six musicians who set the mood with somber or jaunty tunes as they transitioned from scene to scene.

To top it all off, when it came time for the curtain call, actors wished playgoers “Merry Christmas” as foam rained from the ceiling (most likely meant to be snow). The audience was clapping and cheering like crazy. I was ecstatic.

Overall, Omaha Community Playhouse’s “A Christmas Carol” was a festive, fun masterpiece. Everything from its sets to its music demonstrated how much care was taken with this production to make it the best it could possibly be. I will certainly be making this my personal holiday tradition for years to come.

Natalie Pearson

Natalie became a member of the Flightline in August of 2017. She is a junior this year, involved in band. Outside of school, she enjoys watching movies and playing video games. You can email her at [email protected]