Estella Scrooge
A Christmas Carol with a Twist perfect for the holiday season.
Show Essentials
+ Ensemble

Full Synopsis

Act One

Once upon a time, in the not too distant Dickensian future, there lives a beautiful and cold-hearted woman called Estella Scrooge.  Estella is the brilliantly successful CEO of a Wall Street real estate, banking and medical insurance conglomerate called "Bleak House".

Her devoted assistant, Betty Cratchit, pleads with Estella for some medical help for her daughter Tiny Tammy who is critically ill, but Estella insists the dysfunctional Bleak House insurance plan should be sufficient for her.

Estella’s childhood friend, Philip Nickleby, owns a large property in her hometown of Pickwick, Ohio.  He has defaulted on his mortgage, and while Estella decides to handle the foreclosure personally, she vows to remain faithful to her ambitious career: "Never Look Down".

Philip Nickleby has transformed a decaying old art deco style hotel into the Harthouse, a sanctuary for the bereft, homeless and dispossessed: "Mail Call".   Major Bagstock, a destitute veteran, arrives at the Harthouse on Christmas Eve and is welcomed in by the existing residents: "Almost a Family".

Nickleby and his close circle of friends, the bellboy Dedlock, the chambermaid Dawkins, the receptionist Smike, the charitably-minded Pecksniff sisters, and the silent Molly, hear from Nickleby’s lawyer, Jasper Jaggers, that the Harthouse has been bought up by Bleak House and will be immediately re-possessed.  Nickleby swears he will never abandon the happy band of misfits he has adopted: "Not on My Watch".   

Estella Scrooge arrives at the Harthouse intent on getting Nickleby to sign away all his rights to the property, in exchange for a promise to develop the whole area for the benefit of the entire town: "Trickle Down". 

Nickleby refuses to sign and Estella storms out but a sudden freak blizzard forces her to return and take refuge in the Harthouse for the night.  Despite the open animosity of the chambermaid, Dawkins, fully expressed in "Barbie Doll", Nickleby and Smike offer Estella the honeymoon suite, a famously spooky room at the top of the hotel not normally in use, which she rather gracelessly accepts. 

Disturbed to find his old friend so lacking in sympathy and understanding, Nickleby faces her with the insufficiency of her outlook on life and warns there may be a price to pay: "Do You Believe". The idea is taken up by Smike and the Pecksniff Sisters as they sit around their Christmas tree and skeptically dismissed by Estella as she sits alone in the honeymoon suite.

Suddenly the lights flicker and the suite starts to spin as Estella’s adoptive aunt and one time boss, Marla Havisham, emerges through the wall in a cloud of smoke.  Estella is terrified and disbelieving in turns, but Marla explains that this was the room in which she was abandoned on her wedding night, now a portal for her visits to the real world from the afterlife.  She apologizes for bringing Estella up in such a heartless way and warns her she will be visited by three Spirits that very night: "Wall Street Baby Superstar".

Back in the lobby of the hotel, Nickleby decides to spend the night writing letters to prospective supporters to stop the closure of the Harthouse and protect Smike, Dawkins and all his other friends from the persecutions that have dogged their lives.  Left alone with the the mysterious and silent Molly, his oldest resident, Nickleby wonders how he can have let it all go so badly wrong: "Great Expectations".

At 1.00 am in the Honeymoon Suite, Estella is visited by Sissy Jupe, a Brit-rock, air-guitar- playing Spirit of Christmas Past who describes herself as a "Minor Character".  Sissy Jupe takes Estella back to her past, including her first ever meeting with Nickleby, then called Pip, a fondly remembered Christmas dinner at Pip’s family’s home: "An Art to Christmas", an increasingly distant relationship between them, and finally the night Estella finally broke up with Pip and moved with Marla Havisham to New York: "Gardens and Stars".

Back in the lobby, Smike says goodnight to Nickleby in his own special way: "It’s Okay With Me".  Deeply disturbed by her encounters with Marla Havisham and Sissy Jupe, Estella joins Nickleby in the lobby.  She is moved to see him steadfastly trying to save the Harthouse from demolishment, but they are still quite distant and awkward as they share their memories and regrets over a drink.  Estella returns to her room but not before Nickleby has inadvertently used his old pet name for her, and she for him.  He finally admits how deeply he still feels for her:  "Best and Worst of Times", a feeling Estella echoes on her return to the Honeymoon Suite and which is shared all around the Harthouse by the apprehensive and thoughtful residents.

Act Two

Estella’s second Spirit turns out to be the her very own distant ancestor, the founder of Bleak House, Ebenezer Scrooge, who announces himself as the Spirit of Christmas Present:  "It’s A Beautiful Night".  Ebenezer flies her swiftly across America to visit the Cratchit family, who are valiantly attempting to enjoy their Christmas despite Tammy’s obviously deteriorating condition: "Best and Worst of Times (Reprise)".  Estella is appalled to hear Betty describing her in the most unflattering terms and is even more disturbed when Ebenezer introduces her to two child spirits, Ignorance and Hunger and the millions of unhappy and neglected children they represent all over the earth.

Estella finds herself back in the lobby again, though she can’t work out how she got there.  Nickleby is still writing his letters and dreaming of an escape from his troubles. Estella starts to understand how deeply she feels for Nickleby and why she was driven to visit him and reawaken their relationship. He declares his constant and undying love for her, and she her increasing fascination and admiration for him, but Nickleby is confused and disappointed when, driven by her appointment with her third Spirit, Estella suddenly decide to return to her room: "Great Expectations (Reprise)".

Estella’s third Spirit is Melchisedech Merdle is the Spirit of Chritsmas Yet To Come. Merdle was a disgraced investment broker who cheated his clients out of all their money before killing himself.  He takes Estella on a tour of a mysterious and gothic graveyard where he shows her three graves, starting with his own. The second grave is Tiny Tammy’s, where her parents Betty and Bob are grieving her loss.  As they walk sadly off through the graveyard, Tiny Tammy makes a ghostly appearance, accusing Estella of cutting her life short: "Life".  The third grave is Estella’s own, where she grieves at her own empty life of self-aggrandizement and wasted opportunities.  She returns to her room, amazed and excited to be alive and transformed by her night with the Spirits. 

It’s Christmas morning at the Harthouse and presents are being exchanged between the residents: "An Art To Christmas".   Suddenly Estella bursts through the front door, laden with presents.  Nickleby and all the other residents, including the newly arrived Cratchit family, are astounded by Estella’s change of character even after she has tried to explain it to them: "Never Look Down (Reprise)".  

After an amazing and highly Dickensian revelation of secrets and mysterious twists in the plot, Estella finds that her true home is at the Harthouse with her new family: Almost a Family (Reprise).  As all the residents sit down to a gladsome Christmas dinner, Estella pledges herself to a changed life, the reformation of Bleak House, the restoration of the Harthouse and a life partnership with Nickleby.  When Nickleby asks her if she really wants to do all this, she replies "It’s A Far Far Better Thing".

In grateful thanks to Charles Dickens and to their faithful audience, the whole company of Estella Scrooge, A Christmas Carol with a Twist bid their farewells: "Harthouse (Bleak House Reprise)". 




Cast Size: Large (21 or more performers)
Cast Type: Star Vehicle Female

Character Breakdown

Estella Scrooge

A Wall Street tycoon

Gender: female
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Betty Cratchit

Estella's loyal assistant

Gender: female
Vocal range top: B4
Vocal range bottom: A3
Bob Cratchit

Betty's husband

Gender: male
Tiny Tammy

Betty and Bob's daughter

Gender: female
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Bleak House Worker Bees
Philip Nickleby ("Pip")

Proprietor of the Harthouse

Gender: male
Vocal range top: A4
Vocal range bottom: B2

Pip’s business manager and receptionist

Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: G3

An aging bell-boy

Gender: male

A chambermaid

Vocal range top: B4
Vocal range bottom: Ab3

A wandering soul

Gender: female
Mercy & Charity Pecksniff

Twin sisters

Gender: female
Mr. Podsnap

An older resident

Gender: male
Mrs. Pumblechook

An older resident of Harthouse

Gender: female
Mr. Flopson

An younger resident of Harthouse

Gender: male
Mr. Dombey

An younger resident of Harthouse

Gender: male
Ms. Noggs

An younger resident of Harthouse

Gender: female
Ms. Skiffins

An younger resident of Harthouse

Gender: female
Jasper Jaggers

Nickleby’s lawyer

Major Henry Bagstock

A plausible veteran

Gender: male
Marla Havisham

Estella’s aunt and former employer

Gender: female
Vocal range top: B4
Vocal range bottom: A3
Sissy Jupe

A Brit-rocker, the Spirit of Christmas Past

Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: C4
Young Essie

The young Estella Scrooge

Gender: female
Vocal range top: B4
Vocal range bottom: G#3
Young Pip

The young Philip Nickleby

Gender: male
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: E4
Ebenezer Scrooge

Estella’s ancestor, the Spirit of Christmas Present

Gender: male
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: C3
Melchisedek Merdle

A bankrupt tycoon, the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come

Ignorance & Hunger

Two child spirits

Christmas Spirits

Sugar Plum Fairy, Nutcracker Soldier, Elf and Angel

Full Song List
Estella Scrooge: Bleak House
Estella Scrooge: Never Look Down
Estella Scrooge: It’s A Beautiful Day
Estella Scrooge: “Mail Call”
Estella Scrooge: Almost A Family
Estella Scrooge: Not On My Watch
Estella Scrooge: Trickle Down
Estella Scrooge: Almost A Family (Reprise 1)
Estella Scrooge: Barbie Doll
Estella Scrooge: Do You Believe?
Estella Scrooge: Wall Street Baby Superstar
Estella Scrooge: Great Expectations
Estella Scrooge: Minor Character
Estella Scrooge: An Art To Christmas (Reprise 1)
Estella Scrooge: Isn’t She Beautiful?
Estella Scrooge: Gardens And Stars
Estella Scrooge: Minor Character (Reprise)
Estella Scrooge: It’s Okay With Me
Estella Scrooge: Best & Worst of Times
Estella Scrooge: It’s a Beautiful Night
Estella Scrooge: Best & Worst of Times (Reprise)
Estella Scrooge: It’s A Beautiful Night (Reprise)
Estella Scrooge: Great Expectations (Reprise Part 1)
Estella Scrooge: Great Expectations (Reprise Part 2)
Estella Scrooge: Barbie Doll (Reprise)
Estella Scrooge: Life
Estella Scrooge: Bleak House (Reprise)
Estella Scrooge: An Art to Christmas (Reprise)
Estella Scrooge: Beautiful Day (Reprise)
Estella Scrooge: Never Look Down (Reprise)
Estella Scrooge: Almost A Family (Reprise 2)
Estella Scrooge: A Far, Far Better Thing
Estella Scrooge: Hart House


Official Website (learn more about offering a stream of the show to your patrons)

Official Study Guide



Story by Paul Gordon, John Caird, and Sam Caird with grateful thanks to Charles Dickens


You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
You agree to bill the Play and the Authors in all programs, houseboards, displays and in all advertising and all paid publicity, in the following manner:
Book by
John Caird & Paul Gordon
Music and Lyrics by
Paul Gordon
Story by John Caird, Sam Caird and Paul Gordon
The credits for the Author shall appear whenever and wherever the title of the Play appears on a separate line immediately following the title of the Play and in a size not less than 50% of the size of the largest letter of the title of the Play. No one but producers, prior presenters of the Play and stars of the Play may receive billing above the title, and no one except stars receiving billing above the title may receive larger or more prominent billing than that afforded the Author.
The following credits shall appear on the title page for all programs of the Play utilizing the original orchestrations of the Play, in first position of the credits for the music staff:
Orchestrations by Brad Haak, Conor Keelan and Paul Gordon
ADDITIONAL TITLE PAGE BILLING: The following credit shall appear on the title page for all programs of the Play:
Originally Developed by Rubicon Theatre Company, Ventura, California
Developed in part at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat
SHORTENED BILLING: In advertisements of 1/4 page size or less, where only the title of the Play, performance dates and venue are provided, the following “shortened billing” is permissible:
Copyright Notices:
Book copyright © 2020 John Caird and Paul Gordon
Music and lyrics © 2020 Paul Gordon. Paul Gordon Music (ASCAP)

Video Warning

If you purchase a separate license to allow non-commercial video recording of this production, you must print the following in your program. ANY VIDEO RECORDING MADE OF THIS PERFORMANCE IS AUTHORIZED FOR PERSONAL, AT-HOME, NON-COMMERCIAL USE ONLY. THE SALE OR DISTRIBUTION OF SUCH RECORDING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED UNDER FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAW. If you do not purchase the separate license for video recording, you must print the following in your program. The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included

Production Resources