A new faith-centric “radio theater” adaptation of the classic Scrooge story is soaring up the podcast charts and proving that parents and children alike are hungry for entertainment that doesn’t involve a screen.
The four-part series, Scrooge: A Christmas Carol, is a fully dramatized adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic tale and features such voices as John Rhys-Davies (Indiana Jones series) and Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings films), along with special effects and a musical score. It is presented by Hope Media Group and Compassion International.
It debuted in the Top 100 on Apple’s podcast chart and landed at No. 1 in the Fiction categories.
Mark Ramsay, the creator, director, and showrunner, told Christian Headlines the idea was born out of a desire to take “a classic story” and “make it fresh.” The radio theater/audio theater experience, he said, gives listeners an “immersive, full-bodied, vivid sound design that people aren't used to hearing” in a podcast.
Although the classic story always has included biblical themes, the four-part series makes them more pronounced.
“They've always been within the story from the moment Dickens wrote it,” Ramsay told Christian Headlines. “But I thought, what if we bring that forward a little bit because I've really never seen or heard a version of the story that is faith forward -- that brings those threads out and makes them clearer and more obvious to people and allows them to have greater impact.”
Audio theater, he said, “by its nature rewards attention and inspires imagination.”
“You see all of this in your head, which is automatically something that engages people more fully,” Ramsay said.
Joe Paulo, president and CEO of Hope Media Group, noted that the benefits of audio theater are supported by mainstream research -- “especially with kids because of the enhanced imagination and the conversations that it can start.”
A five-day devotional based on the podcast is available at ScroogePodcast.com. It examines such themes as generosity, forgiveness, and redemption.
The podcast, Paulo and Ramsay said, could become a new holiday tradition.
Said Paulo, “What we hope is that this is going to do is to spur conversations to be a new family tradition and to cause people and families to be reflective about what are those elements of faith, not only in the story but how can that apply in my own life?”
Photo Courtesy: Hope Media Group/used with permission.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.