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With more than 200 filmed adaptations—and what sitcom worth its salt could go more than a season without a Scrooge spoof?—Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol obviously touched a nerve. Ford’s Theatre’s lavish new production delivers the familiar moral package, suitably wrapped in holiday sentiment. It also stuffs a little spectacle into the stockings hung with care, and it flashes humor with the snap of Christmas crackers. Early on, as Ebenezer Scrooge rebuffs his nephew’s invitation to Christmas dinner, young Fred complains to Bob Cratchit, “I’m here to wish him a merry Christmas!” “Good of you to try, sir,” returns the long-suffering clerk. Steven Crossley’s bloodless, underfed Scrooge has a bit of self-satisfied J.R. Ewing in him. When a man he’s lent money to asks for an extension on his loan, arguing that his baby can’t be born in the poorhouse, Scrooge pontificates: “The baby can and will be born in whatever home you provide for it, which at the moment looks like it will be prison.” Before then, of course, Dickens will have dispatched three spirits to bitch-slap some good will toward men into old Ebenezer. Director Timothy Gregory delivers the enchantment to match Ford’s Victorian scenery and costumes. The first shivers appear when Jacob Marley suddenly pops up after seven uneventful years in the grave. His moldering, tattered shroud appears to Scrooge among a group of merry carolers and then in the bedroom mirror before the ghost bursts from the fireplace in a flash of light and billow of smoke. Most of London looks pretty prosperous, thanks to David Kay Mickelsen’s sumptuous costumes, heavy on the brocade, satin, and velvet, not to mention what looks like a full city block of monkey fur—which increases the discord when you see the near-naked urchins. James Leonard Joy’s set—flats of city streets, Scrooge’s office, and the Cratchit home, plus Scrooge’s massive bed, framed by 20-foot casement windows—also dazzles. David Kissel’s lighting bathes the ridiculously cheerful Cratchits in a golden glow, while unreconstructed Scrooge always stands in a pillar of cold blue light. Christmas carols, both happy and mournful, lilt throughout, arranged by Rob Bowman and played by three live musicians. David H. Bell’s adaptation hits all the notes and moves apace; this is not merely a technically accomplished production, but an emotionally satisfying one. In Crossley’s face and anguished body, we see every happiness he’s turned away from and every torment that’s in store until the very moment of his redemption. —Janet Hopf