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Record Sleeve


Music, lyrics and book by James Leisy

A new setting of the ever-popular A Christmas Carol. Scrooge, woken on Christmas Eve by the ghost of Marley, is warned of his impending fate - to walk the earth, dragging chains, in agony and shame. Later that night Scrooge is visited by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future, who reveal the misery of Christmas for the poor. Determined to alter his miserly ways, Scrooge buys presents for his employees and raises their salaries to delight of them all. Catchy melodies and a witty script make this ideal for a primary and secondary school Christmas production. Duration: 90 minutes.

James Leisy writes:

Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol with a rush of inspiration during a few weeks in October and November of 1843. The idea came to him as he looked out at the "bright eyes and beaming faces" of the children attending a lecture he gave in Manchester. Within a week he was immersed in the frenzied composition of the cheerful, heart-moving story that was to become the famous novelist's most widely-read and best-loved creation. He lived the story so intensely during its composition that he "wept and laughed, and wept again, and excited himself in a most extraordinary manner, wlaking the back streets of London fifteen and twenty miles a night when all sober folk had gone to bed." A Christmas Carol was published, with immediate success, in time for Christmas, 1843, less than three months after its original inception.

A Christmas Carol is a fantasy. Better than life, rather than true to life, it is written with a tone of playful exaggeration. The plot is simple and direct, the characterisations are clear and powerfully drawn, the transitions that lead to the rebirth of Scrooge are rapid and convincing. For these reasons, the story is particularly well-suited for dramatic productions as a a musical comedy.

The idea of writing a musical play based on A Christmas Carol occured to me at the beginning of December, 1976. Experiencing the same kind of frenzied inspiration that had activated Dickens. I worked on the book, lyrics and music more or less round the clock, pausing only to eat, sleep and celebrate Christmas itself. By the end of the month I had completed the script and the score.

As I worked on the project itself, I found myself "living" the events in the same way that Dickens has described his creative experience. As a result I was never at a loss for the words or music required. Everything - characters, scenes, dialogue, songs, and so on - simply fell into place. It was almost as if someone (Dickens, perhaps?) were telling me and showing me exactly what to do each step of the way. All that was required of me was the labour of writing it all out.

As Dickens said, "It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself." In his thinking there was a connection between the spirit of childhood and the spirit of Christmas, since both place spiritual ahead of material values, and both recognise loving human relations as the basis of a happy life. The rebirth of Scrooge through the discovery of the child in himself is Dickens' central theme. I focused on this theme from the outset, and tried to fashion all of the elements of themusical play around it, while mainting Dickens' spirit of playful exaggeration and goodwill toward his audience. I hope I have been successful enough in this tha Mr. Dickens would receive from "Scrooge" a reflection of the great pleasure his work gave to me.

Principals: singing: 2 female, 7 male; non-singing: 12 female, 12 male

Musical Numbers:

  1. Deck the Halls - Chorus
  2. What Does Christmas Mean to You? - Fred and Chorus
  3. Christmas is a Waste of Time - Scrooge and trio
  4. Cloak of Chain - Marley's Ghost and Chorus
  5. The Child Knows - Spirit of Christmas Past and Chorus
  6. The Spirit of Christmas Present - Spirit of Christmas Present and Chorus
  7. Ebeneezer Scrooge - Trio
  8. Spirit of Christmas Future - Underscoring
  9. Born on Christmas Day - Scrooge and Chorus
  10. Miracles Still Happen at Christmas - Tiny Tim and Company


Reed I (flute, clarinet, soprano sax), Reed II (alto sax, clarinet), Reed III (tenor sax, clarinet), Reed IV (bassoon, baritone sax), horn, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 4 percussion, harp, piano, strings

Printed Editions: Vocal Score with Dialogue, Chorus Part