Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" One-Man Show Script & Score
Here is a version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" intended to be read
by a single-narrator--with optional pre-recorded musical accompaniment. This
would serve well for a grandparent reading a condensed version of the "Carol" to
grandchildren beside the fireplace. I offer full cast versions of the "Carol"
for radio and
stage, but have seen requests for a
smaller, more intimate rendering of the tale. Charles Dickens was an actor
before he was a writer and he often performed excerpts from his novels to
theater audiences in Britain and America. I've taken Dickens' own reader's
"Carol" from 1867 and trimmed it down from 3 hours to 30-minutes long.
However, this version is not just a telling of the story--with lots of narration
and occasional dialogue. It is more a dramatized "Carol" to be performed by a
single-storyteller--much the way audiobook narrator Jim Dale brought the
Harry Potter books to life. You don't need to be a gifted mimic to render
the sour Scrooge or meek Bob Cratchit, but this script makes it easy to assume
one voice and then switch to another since the radio-script format lends itself
to clear reading off the page in a live performance.
For information regarding how to obtain the script, contact me at
. I deliver the
script via e-mail as a PDF file, and the optional pre-recorded music cues can
either be downloaded as MP3 files, or shipped via regular mail in the form of
I also offer a small-cast version of the "Carol" for Family or Staged-Reading
performances. See Charles
Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" as family/staged-reading version for info.
A Christmas Carol
is Tony Palermo's very faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic
story of Christmas, memory, and redemption. The dialogue is verbatim
Dickens, but condensed and arranged to bring forward Dickens' themes of charity
and goodwill toward men. This
shortened version includes the famous scenes of the Charity Seekers, Marley’s Ghost,
the three Spirits, Fezziwig's Ball, Belle, the
Cratchit family, the graveyard, the prize turkey and Scrooge's final surprise
for Bob Cratchit. However, it omits several scenes entirely; no
teenage Scrooge and his sister Fan, neither of Nephew Fred’s parties, no mention of
the Children—Ignorance & Want, no Rag & Bone shop, and no mocking
businessmen. In 30 minutes, the story still holds
up as an emotional experience. This version also employs (optional) music
but doesn’t require any sound effects. Instead,
they are described by the narrator, the way Dickens’ handled them in his
Here's a downloadable MP3 clip of a famous scene, with one actor doing all
by music and sound
MP3 - A Christmas Carol - Scrooge & Marley excerpt (2.2 MB)
Here's a downloadable excerpt of the single-narrator "Carol" script:
SCRIPT SAMPLE - ONE MAN SHOW/SINGLE
NARRATOR- Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol - TRUNCATED.pdf
You can view/print the
excerpt, which is in the PDF format, via the free Adobe Acrobat reader program,
which works for PCs and Macs.
PRE-RECORDED MUSIC TRACKS:
Additionally, I offer pre-recorded orchestral music tracks—30+ minutes worth.
These 22 tracks cover scene transitions and underscore the drama. They are NOT Broadway-style
musical songs. Instead, the tracks function the way 1940s movie music
does—supporting the drama. In scoring ‘A
Christmas Carol’, other than my own ghost and suspense music, I
adapted old Victorian carols throughout. I used less well-known carols, to avoid
cliché or sentimentality, without sacrificing the authentic characteristics that
period music could lend to the story. The carols reinforce emotional and
structural connections in the drama.
For example; Belle's Theme
("The Coventry Carol") is played by a music box--a gift from Scrooge--that winds
down as their relationship crumbles.
The instrumentation is
strictly Victorian: brass choir, pipe and reed organs, hand bells, church bells,
chimes, cymbals, timpani, fiddle, concertina, music-box, “glass harmonica,”
choirs and strings. This authentic musical underscoring adds
greatly to the production.
The 31 minutes of music tracks are available on CD or as downloadable MP3 files.
1) Holiday Playhouse theme (under narration)
2) Boy Carolers singing—then cut-off
3) Foggy Night
4) Marley’s Woe
5) The Phantoms
6) Spirit #1 Arrives
7) Christmas Past
8) Fezziwig’s Ball
9) Belle’s Music Box
10) Return to Bed
11) Spirit #2 arrives
12) Christmas Present/Cratchit Home #1
13) Christmas Montage
14) Spirit #3 Arrives
15) Cratchit Home #2
16) Graveyard Sequence
17) Church Bell Cacophony
18) Christmas Day in London
19) God Bless Us
Carol music tracks (AND sound effects) are also available separately (without purchasing script
performance royalties). Contact:
VALUABLE NOTES ON THEME AND PORTRAYALS:
Tony's Extensive Notes On
How to Produce 'A Christmas Carol'
Detailed information about how I've approached this adaptation. While the notes
are intended for full-cast productions, I suggest solo narrators read over them
to understand the themes running through the story.
TO PAY FOR SCRIPTS AND MUSIC :
First contact me at
and tell me about the
type of production you are doing (which version of the show, do you want
music or SFX tracks, the size of the theater/venue, number of
performances, ticket prices, etc). Then I will e-mail you back a quote
of the royalty rates.
I accept credit card
payments via the free and secure
1) Go to the
www.PayPal.com website, click on the “Send Money” button, and
register for free.
2) Use my e-mail address of:
to send the money to my PayPal account.
3) Along with the PayPal transaction information, please specify what
you are ordering (which version of the script, if you want music
tracks and how delivered). Include your postal mail address—for my tax reporting
purposes. NOTE: If you do not specify WHAT you are
ordering, I cannot e-mail you anything.
You must pay in U.S. dollars—which is
easy to do on Paypal.
For how-to info, see:
Once your payment has
been received, I will e-mail you a PDF file of the full script. You can
make as many photo-copies of the script as you need for your cast and
If you opted for the
downloadable MP3s for music and sound effects tracks, I will e-mail you
links to the special download pages. If you wanted audio CDs, they will