Your Guide to the Classic Christmas Redemption Stories

NWTheatre counts at least nine theatre companies, from south in Olympia up north to Marysville, putting on some variation of A Christmas Carol, and four putting up It’s a Wonderful Life. Most of them put some twist on the classics. We invited them all to tell us about the version coming soon to their stages.

Ticketing links for most shows can be found on the Performance Calendar page here.  


It’s a Wonderful Stage!   

Four theatre companies take different routes to George Bailey’s rescue.


Twelfth Night Productions’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Show’ opens December 10 in West Seattle. Photo by Mike Jacobs.
Twelfth Night Productions: It’s a Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Show

An old-time radio experience  
Opening 12/10, closing 12/19. In West Seattle.

What’s special about your “Wonderful Life” production? 

Our production is a live radio show! If you close your eyes during this production you won’t miss a beat because all of the components – the sound effects, the organ, and the commercials – work together successfully to recreate the live radio experience of the 1940s and ’50s.

What actions have you taken to help families feel safe in your space as theatre comes back from the pandemic?

We are limiting the amount of seats and asking for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours is required at the door. Masks are also required when not eating or drinking.


The 14/48 Projects, Theater Anonymous: It’s a Wonderful Livestream 

A mystery for everyone — even the cast! 
On 12/11 only. On your screen.

What’s special about your “Wonderful Life” production? 

There are several things that make our production unique in the performance of the story. Because we use the Theater Anonymous methodology it means that the identity of the actors is kept completely secret until the actual performance, even from the other actors. This means that the creative team must rehearse each actor individually, including technical rehearsal. On the evening of the performance the actors arrive at the theater with no knowledge of who they will be performing with. When you watch the show it is the one and only time that the actors have run through the show together. This creates an energy and focus that is very difficult to manipulate or control, but is palpable and alive.

In addition we have created an original script that continues to be refined each year by the artists who create the story. Part of the thrill and joy of this process is that any character can be played by any actor; old or young, gay or straight, male female or non-binary identifying. This allows us to reflect not the values and world view of the original creators, but that of the contemporary Seattle artists that are actively making the story each year.

It is a huge challenge and a crazy way to make theater but we believe it has the capacity to reach people in a truly unique way.


Edmonds Driftwood Players: It’s a Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play
Edmonds Driftwood Players’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play’ runs through December 19. Photo by Dale Sutton.

A play where sound tells the story   
Opened 12/2, closing 12/19. In Edmonds.

What’s special about your “Wonderful Life” production? 

​In performing this story as a radio play, the brilliance of the script and story is showcased so that we might come to know this American classic even more intimately. Radio show plays incorporate a person to make sounds, known as a Foley artist, to enrich the action in your mind. We have just such a Foley artist on stage. Each of our skilled cast members portray multiple characters using many different voices. Allow your imagination to be engaged in seeing the action in “your mind’s eye.” It really is fun and a unique experience.

What actions have you taken to help families feel safe in your space as theatre comes back from the pandemic?

Below are the notices we have posted on our website and ticketing provider. We also have social distance seating enacted, capping our audiences at about 50% of our maximum capacity.
– Proof of full COVID-19 Vaccination will be required (vaccine card, copy of card, or mobile phone photo of card) OR proof of negative test results within 72 hours of performance.
– Masks are required at all times.
– Our concession and bar will NOT be open for the holiday show.
– Our theatre is now equipped with ActivePure Air Scrubbers by Aerus (proven to reduce over 99.9% of the virus that causes COVID-19 on both surfaces and in the air).


Renton Civic Theatre: It’s a Wonderful Life 

Opened 12/3, closing 12/18. In Renton.
As George Bailey thinks about ending it all, his guardian angel reveals what the town would have looked like if it hadn’t been for all his good deeds over the years.

Theatre did not provide additional information.  



Classic Scrooge with a Twist 

Stages big and small bring their own blend of humbug and cheer.


Harlequin Productions: A Christmas Carol 
Harlequin’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ runs through December 31. Photo by Shanna Paxton Photography.

A ghostly spin on the classic 
Opened 11/26, closing 12/31. In Olympia.

What’s special about your “Christmas Carol”? 

This Christmas Carol is the first one we’ve ever done at Harlequin, but it is also a brand-new version: a new adaptation by our Artistic Director Aaron Lamb.

How else is it different? We are leaning into the ghost story. It’s no secret that Harlequin often puts slightly edgier, darker material on its boards and that we love to push the envelope with technical wizardry and effects. Our Ebenezer Scrooge is one tough cookie and needs quite a lot of persuasion to change his ways. A Christmas Carol can have some truly terrifying moments if you go that route, and we are pulling out all the bells and whistles in that department. There will be fog, there will be ghosts, and there will be magical effects that defy explanation! All of which, we believe, makes Scrooge’s eventual reform and redemption all the more rewarding. Lastly, while most of the script is true to the Dickens, we have added a final twist. I don’t want to give too much away, but there are two children in our production, and the female child actor has … quite a pivotal role.

What actions have you taken to help families feel safe in your space as theatre comes back from the pandemic?

Please see our current COVID protocols here.


ACT Theatre: A Christmas Carol
ACT Theatre’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ opens December 7 in Downtown Seattle. Photo by Rosemary Daiross.

Seattle’s classic Carol returns 
Opening 12/7, closing 12/26. In Downtown Seattle.

What’s special about your “Christmas Carol”? 

ACT is pleased to announce Amy Thone and R. Hamilton Wright as Scrooge in this year’s production. This is the first time ACT has cast a woman in the part of Scrooge. Both Amy and Bob are well-known to ACT and Seattle audiences. They will also be alternating the role of Marley. This year’s story is the traditional tale you know and love, with a few updates.

This is ACT’s first show back on stage after an almost 2-year hiatus. As a matter of fact, our last onstage production was A Christmas Carol in 2019. This year’s production — our 46th — is directed by Julie Beckman. Julie was slated to direct the play in 2020, but due to the pandemic, our entire 2020 season was cancelled.

What actions have you taken to help families feel safe in your space as theatre comes back from the pandemic?

The health and safety of our patrons, artists, volunteers, and staff is at the center of everything we do. We have updated our air circulation system and more to make sure that all our patrons feel safe. Of course, required by King County, all patrons 12 and over are required to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival for your show. Masks covering the nose, mouth, and chin (no bandanas) must always be worn by all patrons while in our building and theatre. For more detailed information, please visit our website here.


Valley Center Stage: A Christmas Carol

A wintery fixture of the Cascade foothills   
Opened 12/3, closing 12/19. In North Bend.

What’s special about your “Christmas Carol”? 

Our production of A Christmas Carol is special simply because of how much a part of our community it has become. Many people in the Snoqualmie Valley know us as “the theatre that does Christmas Carol every year.” We have done some variation of the story most years since our founding in 2003 and even still made sure we did an online version for the community in 2020 when it was not possible for us to hold the theatre open to the public. For the last several years, we have used a variation of the same script that was written by Brenden and Wynter Elwood who have also directed this year’s production.

What actions have you taken to help families feel safe in your space as theatre comes back from the pandemic?

In order to protect both our patrons and our all-volunteer staff, we have implemented a health and safety policy that exceeds the standards put forth by our county and state governments.

Valley Center Stage volunteers have been hard at work to bring A Christmas Carol back to the stage during this stormy time in all our lives. We need to ensure the health and safety of our unmasked cast so that the show can continue for the full run. We have also promised all of you a safe environment with our health and safety policy (found here).


ManeStage: A Christmas Carol – A Live Radio Play 

Opening 12/10, closing 12/19. In Puyallup.
Brings to life Dickens’s classic tale as a live 1940s radio broadcast, complete with the magic of live sound effects and music.

Theatre did not provide additional information.  



The Ghost of Stage Disasters  

What happens when A Christmas Carol gets derailed? These productions aim to find out.


Lakewood Playhouse’s ‘A Christmas Carol … More or Less’ runs through December 19. Photo by Tim Johnston.
Lakewood Playhouse: ‘A Christmas Carol’ … More or Less

Can both Scrooge and their relationship be redeemed? 
Opened 11/26, closing 12/19. In Lakewood.

(Premise: When a couple subs in for the snowed-out ‘Carol’ cast, their personal story invades the Dickens tale, informing it with dual levels of meaning.)

What’s special about your “Christmas Carol”? 

Our show is a three-person cast, with A Christmas Carol essentially a “show within the show,” based on the overall circumstances of the plot. Also, the cast and director are all global majority people.

What actions have you taken to help families feel safe in your space as theatre comes back from the pandemic?

In order to attend a show at Lakewood Playhouse you need to show proof of vaccination or negative Covid test within the past 72 hours. (See policies here.)


Red Curtain Community Theatre’s ‘The Farndale Avenue …’ opens November 26 in Marysville. Photo by Kenny Randall.
Red Curtain Community Theatre: The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of ‘A Christmas Carol’

Where the bloopers are the main event 
Opened 11/26, closing 12/19. In Marysville.

What’s special about your “Christmas Carol”? 

This heartwarming and engagingly goofy comedy portrays the attempts of four ladies of the society and one slightly reluctant man to get through a production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that is disaster-prone in the lovable way of small theater productions. From broken-down transportation to collapsing scenery, line mixups to infighting, the ladies soldier through the mishaps like the troupers they are, having a jolly good time along the way and bringing the audience right along with them, with improvisational audience participation throughout.

What actions have you taken to help families feel safe in your space as theatre comes back from the pandemic?

Red Curtain has required proof of vaccination for all actors, crew, volunteers, and audience members since reopening in September 2021. We are a small venue (100 seats) so forced social distancing is not viable, but with everyone vaccinated and masked, we feel confident about our guests’ safety.


Unexpected Productions: A(n Improvised) Christmas Carol

Opened 10/26, closing 12/23. In Seattle (Pike Place Market).
The Dickens classic is undone and re-rendered by improvisers, based on audience suggestions on several key storyline prompts.

Theatre did not provide additional information. 


The Phoenix Theatre: Inspecting Carol

Opened 11/26, closing 12/19. In Edmonds.
Behind the scenes of a struggling theatre’s annual clumsy production of A Christmas Carol, this spoof makes for a show that is anything but business as usual.

Theatre did not provide additional information. Note: As of 12/3, theatre website lists all but one performance as sold out.   


Seattle Opera: A Very Drunken Christmas Carol 

On 12/10 & 12/12 only. In Seattle (Seattle Center).
While preparing for a holiday concert, The Drunken Tenor embarks on a journey to understand how he became the person he is and the possible consequences of his choices.

Theatre did not provide additional information. Note: As of 12/5, theatre website lists both performances as sold out. 


For these and other shows, see NWT’s Performance Calendar, which aims to list just about every theatre show in town.