Full Synopsis

Full Synopsis

Act One

Before the curtain opens, the Narrator and carolers introduce the story and its main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, the stingiest man in town ("A Christmas Carol"). The curtain opens on a London street on Christmas Eve in 1843. Scrooge's nephew, Fred, and a chorus are celebrating the season. Snow is falling, candles are gleaming and lovers are catching a kiss beneath the mistletoe ("An Old-fashioned Christmas").

The scene shifts to Scrooge's office, where Fred tries to convince Scrooge to be merry on Christmas, but Ebenezer will have nothing to do with the ridiculous holiday ("Humbug"). Despite Scrooge's attitude, Fred invites him over for Christmas dinner the next day, but Scrooge declines. When Fred leaves, two gentlemen enter asking for Jacob Marley. Scrooge informs them that Marley, the man who used to be his partner, has been dead for the past seven years. The gentlemen ask Scrooge for a donation to their Christmas fund to help the poor and destitute. Scrooge dismisses them, as he has no interest in helping anyone.

Scrooge calls for his assistant, Bob Cratchit, who nervously enters and asks if he might have Christmas Day off. Scrooge reluctantly approves and tells him to arrive back at the office the next day, two hours early and sober. Very grateful, Bob Cratchit departs to do his last bit of Christmas shopping. Scrooge's cleaning lady, Mrs. Dilber, enters and asks him for a small advance on next month's salary, but he refuses. He then slams the door in the face of Ragpicker Hawkins, who wanders by asking for old rubbish. Mrs. Dilber, Hawkins and a group of beggars bemoan Mr. Scrooge and his selfishness ("The Stingiest Man in Town").

Later that night, we find Scrooge asleep in bed ("A Christmas Carol – Reprise"). Suddenly, Scrooge hears chains and sees the ghost of Jacob Marley lumbering over his bed. Marley convinces Scrooge that not only is he real, but he has an important message for him. Unless Scrooge changes his priorities, he will end up like Marley, chained to his life of selfishness and greed ("I Wear a Chain"). Marley tells Scrooge that three spirits will visit him that night. The help of these spirits is Scrooge's only refuge from an afterlife chained to eternal damnation. A resigned Scrooge agrees to see them and take their advice. Hearing this, Marley leaves. Scrooge still thinks that he is dreaming, until the Ghost of Christmas Past appears and takes him back to his youth.

They first travel to the school Ebenezer attended as a child and see a young Scrooge talking with his younger sister, Fan, the deceased mother of his nephew, Fred. It appears that Scrooge spent many holidays alone at school. Here, Fan is taking him home, as their father had grown kinder. The scene swiftly changes to Christmas Eve in 1800, in the office where Ebenezer was once an apprentice. Scrooge, his boss and the clerks are celebrating Christmas. Young Scrooge talks with his love, Belle, who bemoans the fact that Scrooge won't think of marrying her until his finances are in order. Belle doesn't care if he's rich or poor; she just wants them to be together. Young Scrooge can only think about what their life will be like when they're rich ("Golden Dreams"). However, as the years go by, Scrooge's obsession with money drives Belle away, and his dreams are never realized ("It Might Have Been").

Act Two

Before the curtain rises, the Narrator and carolers set the scene once again ("A Christmas Carol – Reprise"). It is dark back in Scrooge's bedroom, and Scrooge can't see the second spirit, but after he touches its robe, the room is transformed into a Christmas wonderland, complete with trees and toys that come to life, celebrating the joys of Christmas ("Listen to the Song of the Christmas Spirit"). The ghost quickly whisks Scrooge away on a tour of London. They first see Mrs. Dilber and Ragpicker Hawkins celebrating Christmas together. The scene then shifts to Bob Cratchit's living room, where Bob's family is getting ready for Christmas. Although they have nothing, they appear to be content. Mrs. Cratchit and some of her children hurriedly prepare for dinner. Bob and the youngest son, Tiny Tim, are not yet home. Martha, the eldest daughter, returns from work. She, too, is forced to work late on Christmas as a hat maker. Scrooge overhears Martha and Mrs. Cratchit talk about him with disdain. Rather than let him leave this uncomfortable situation, the spirit has Scrooge stay to meet someone else – the Cratchits' youngest son, Tiny Tim. He shows his sister the music box that Santa brought him ("Yes, There Is a Santa Claus").

As the family sits down to eat dinner, Scrooge, who has been taken with the child, asks the spirit what will happen to Tiny Tim. The spirit tells Scrooge that as it stands right now, there won't be enough money to cure Tiny Tim, and he will die ("One Little Boy"). Bob Cratchit toasts Scrooge despite all of the cruel things that Scrooge has done, and Scrooge is filled with shame.

The spirit has Scrooge touch his robe once more and whisks him away to a street where carolers are singing ("An Old-Fashioned Christmas – Reprise"). The scene then shifts to Fred's Christmas party, where his wife, Betty, is playing the perfect hostess. Fred and his guests also talk about Scrooge and his cheap ways, comparing him to a barbaric animal who gobbles up all of the money. Nevertheless, Fred still feels sorry for his uncle, because he suffers the most from his miserable life ("The Birthday Party of the King").

Act Three

The Narrator and carolers continue to tell us about Scrooge. ("A Christmas Carol – Reprise"). The curtain opens on a dark cemetery, where the Ghost of Christmas Present says farewell. A deeply hooded figure enters and approaches Scrooge; the hooded figure doesn't speak. It is the Ghost of Christmas-Yet-to-Come. The spirit then points to Mrs. Dilber and Ragpicker Hawkins, who are carrying bundles taken from Scrooge's home, laughing and carrying on. Scrooge is concerned; he doesn't understand why they are carrying on so happily about someone's death. After seeing the gravestone with his name on it, Scrooge realizes that he is the one who has died. He watches devils and others from the world below haunt him. Marley comes back to haunt him again ("I Wear A Chain – Reprise"). When the horror becomes too much, Scrooge cries out to the third ghost. Finally, he understands what the spirits are trying to tell him ("Mankind Should Be My Business").

After a flash of light, Scrooge finds himself back in his own bedroom. He gratefully thanks Jacob Marley and all of the spirits, and is excited to hear the bells of Christmas ringing throughout the city. He has not missed his chance to participate in the Christmas spirit ("The Christmas Spirit – Reprise"). He sees Mrs. Dilber from his window and throws her his money purse. He tells her to go buy the big turkey that hangs in the butcher's window. Mrs. Dilber returns, joined by Ragpicker Hawkins, and the two are even more confused when they see Scrooge dancing and singing. He astonishes them further by giving each a handful of gold coins. All three dance about, celebrating the joys of the season.

Scrooge then goes to the Cratchit home and gives them the turkey and gifts for the entire family. He also gives Bob a raise in salary and then tells the family that he will cover all of Tiny Tim's medical expenses for the best doctors ("One Little Boy – Reprise"). Now, Ebenezer Scrooge is finally a new man who will do his best to help others. The entire town, including Tiny Tim and the Cratchits, celebrates the joy of spending the holiday together, as well as the new spirit of friendship and giving that Scrooge has embraced ("Yes, There Is a Santa Claus – Reprise" / "A Christmas Carol – Reprise" / "An Old-fashioned Christmas – Reprise").