Although winter in Milwaukee means the weather outside is frightful and walking around the city in the freezing cold is much less than delightful, I have to give credit where credit is due – Milwaukee does Christmas time really, really well. From Zeidler Union Square, Pere Marquette Park, and Cathedral Square, the homes of the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival, the Miller Valley Holiday Lites, Candy Cane Lane in West Allis, the new Christkindl Market at the Fiserv Forum, and many other holiday events, you basically can’t complain about a lack of holiday cheer throughout brew city.
However, I think one of the most quintessential Milwaukee holiday traditions is the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s annual production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ which plays at the Pabst Theater through December 24th. The Milwaukee Rep has the second longest running production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ at 43 annual productions of the show, only behind the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis who has run ‘A Christmas Carol’ for 44 years straight.
‘A Christmas Carol’ was the first show I saw by the Milwaukee Rep back in 2015 and I thoroughly enjoyed the production and thought it fit perfectly within the confines of the Pabst Theater. I had the opportunity to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ again this year as part of the Milwaukee Rep’s 65th Anniversary Season. Again, I was highly impressed with the Rep’s adaptation of this classic Dickens masterpiece.
If you are thinking, “Eh, I’ve seen ‘A Christmas Carol’ a million times in every version imaginable including The Muppets and I don’t really need to see it again”, I’d strongly urge you to reconsider. Yes, it’s the same story and yes, it will have many elements from whatever version you’ve seen before but there is one very impressive difference in The Rep’s version of this show – the technology.
Of course, if you run the same production for 43 years straight you definitely need to come up with ways to make each year unique and special. Since I haven’t seen this show at The Rep in a few years, I can confidently say this year’s production was different than I remembered. This production utilizes the most high tech and stunning stage I think I’ve ever seen used in a stage production. The special effects were incredible including, SPOILER ALERT, snow in the theater!
‘A Christmas Carol’ is probably my favorite Christmas story so maybe I’m a little biased but I will say, if you visit Milwaukee often or if you are a resident of the metro-Milwaukee area I’d say you’re missing out if you haven’t seen this version of the show. You have a few weeks left to partake in this wonderful holiday tradition at the Milwaukee Rep during its 43rd run which will show through December 24th.
Tickets for the show can be purchased online, by calling the Milwaukee Rep’s ticket office at 414-224-9490 or visiting the ticket office in-person at 108 East Wells Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202 while it is open Sunday – Friday from Noon – 6:00 PM.
Photos don’t do this set or this production justice so come out and check it out for yourself.
Thanks for reading all of my posts on “Running Around With Auds” in 2018. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year! And, in the famous words of Tiny Tim, “God Bless Us, Everyone!”
📸Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow