In the fall of 1843 Charles Dickens was already a very famous writer. Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby were already widely acclaimed, and with these successes Dickens had pulled himself out of his impoverished upbringing.
But his funds were spread thin; he and his wife were expecting their fifth child, he was supporting most of his extended family, his mortages were an enormous expense, the sales for his newest book were far underperforming his and his publishers' expectations, and his monetary advances were drastically cut.
So Dickens cooked up ‘a little scheme’ to make money. He would rework some of his audience’s favorite characters -- a sick boy, a miserly old man, a loving father, and put them in the world of a Christmas story. Surely this would be a way to capitalize on the holiday season.
Upon sitting down to write the piece Dickens was possessed by the story. He fell in love with the characters and with the season. He professed that while he was writing it he would burst into tears and then into laughter and then back into tears again. He was so moved by the journey of these people who he had grown to love.
‘A Christmas Carol’ was published on December 19th 1863. Six-thousand copies were printed and by Christmas Eve you couldn’t buy a copy anywhere; they were sold out of every bookstore in London. However, Dickens did not receive his windfall because he insisted that the book would be ornately designed and cost only five schillings, ensuring that every family could buy a copy, and also ensuring his profit margins would be very thin. Dickens scraped by and eventually wrote more hugely profitable successes like ‘Tale of Two Cities’ and ‘Great Expectations’
Within the first two months of “Carol’s” release there were eight stage adaptations of the short novel. Since then there have been countless adaptations on film, tv and stage (my personal favorite is “Muppet’s Christmas Carol:") LITC is so proud to be part of this tradition. Dickens created a piece whose story is just as palpable, just as relatable, just as uplifting, just as important as the day it was released one hundred and seventy two years ago, and we are honored to be able to advance that tradition. We are honored to bring you a production of “Christmas Carol” that is uniquely Long Island and we hope you are as moved by this piece as we are.
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