Bill Raymond’s Last “Humbug!”
This holiday season marks the final run of Bill Raymond as Ebenezer Scrooge in Hartford Stage’s annual production of A Christmas Carol—A Ghost Story of Christmas. It will be the 17th time Raymond has played the role before theatergoers, which number well above a quarter million.
The perennial began during artistic director Michael Wilson’s first season in 1998. Wilson had previously adapted and staged the Dickens classic first for the Alley Theatre in Houston in 1990, then produced and directed the show at Hartford Stage. Wilson’s version continues at both theaters as well as at several other theaters across America.
Raymond says he didn’t want the job at first and had an argument with his agent over the offer “and he said you absolutely have to do this job so I eventually said ‘Yes.’ I remember what [stage manager] Wendy Beaton later told me. She said, ‘You’re going to love this—and you’ll be the most popular person in Hartford.’ And Wendy was right. I did love it. Whenever I walked down the street in downtown Hartford people would say hello and thank me and often in restaurants folks would even applaud. The people of Hartford just took this production to heart. Some families have seen the show every year and I’ve seen their children grown up, too.