Worlds Are Colliding! A Conflicted Holiday Invitation For Ethics Alarms Readers, Their Friends And Families…


Now I know how George Costanza felt. This time it is the world of Ethics Jack and Theater Jack that are colliding….

The American Century Theater, the small, Arlington, Virginia-based non-profit professional theater company—you know, one of those “culture palaces” that rich people give to so they can “hobnob” with each other (our performing space is in a Middle School) according to Robert Reich—which I helped found and have served as Artistic Director for 18 years— is producing a unique—and free—dramatized version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” that Ethics Alarms readers can actually “attend” and enjoy with the families, friends and ghosts.

Using a technique pioneered by Ethics Jack’s company ProEthics for Continuing Legal Education teleseminars under the auspices of Virginia Continuing Legal Education,  the production will recreate the sound and feel of old time radio drama using modern teleconferencing technology. All of the actors are snug in their own homes, using telephones as their microphones, as their vocal portrayals are mixed, live, with music and sound effects by sound designer Ed Moser, also The American Century Theater’s technical director. More than 20 current and former professional actors from  Maryland to Utah will be involved, creating an hour-long, live recreation of a script adapted from the Golden Age of radio drama, when Campbell’s Soup presented an annual live broadcast of “A Christmas Carol” starring Lionel Barrymore ( you know him best as “Mister Potter”) as Scrooge, to millions of families across the country every Christmas Eve.

Theater Jack is the director of the show, which you can listen to over your own phone, or better yet, through the speaker phone with your family taking in the sounds of the classic tale by your side.

How do you do this?

It’s as simple as licking a candy cane!

Anyone wishing to hear the broadcast will only have to call in a few minutes before 8 PM, E.S.T., on Sunday next, December 22. The  audience Dial-in number is 1-443-453-0034, followed by entering the Christmas Carol Conference Code: 758246. Then, upon entering the virtual theater, audience members must press *4 to mute their lines (if only theater audiences and their cell phones were so neatly muted!) and wait for the show to begin. There will be no charge to the listening audience for “A Christmas Carol,” except for regular long distance rates where they apply.

Feel free to let your friends, colleagues and neighbors know about the event, and consider this worlds collision-risking invitation my thanks to you for helping Ethics Alarms have a banner year of ethics debate and illumination.

Merry Christmas!


20 thoughts on “Worlds Are Colliding! A Conflicted Holiday Invitation For Ethics Alarms Readers, Their Friends And Families…

  1. Spiffy. 😀 Collecting versions of ACC is an hobby of mine. Is there any chance it will be recorded for those with scheduling conflict or bad cell plans?

  2. Hmm. I don’t think the ACC is what Reich had in mind — a ticket to your show isn’t higher than my car payment. You are free to proceed sir, tax free!

    • Referring rather to the theater itself, which received over $100,000 this past year in bequests from “rich people” who were dead, oddly, and really didn’t get that hobnob experience. Bob really hasn’t thought all this through very well, methinks…

      • That’s just one of Reich’s points. Your theater is small potatoes re budget compared to the Kennedy Center and other high-end places. It’s accessible by the public and I would never support taxing those donations or the theater’s ticket sales. Consider the motivation behind the donation. Supporting a local theater? That benefits the greater community. But what about people who make a sudden large donation to an Ivy League school to guarantee admission for children with so-so grades? That gift isn’t benefitting the greater community — but it is giving slots to students who could not get in on merit alone. More importantly, it is taking away slots from more deserving students. And yes, these schools offer financial aid, but the proportion of poor to rich students is quite small. It’s fine to allow this practice of buying admission – these are private institutions and they need to balance their fundraising goals with their admission standards. I’m just suggesting that perhaps those donations should not be tax deductible and perhaps those schools should not operate entirely tax free.

  3. I am looking forward to this!

    Fwiw, I am on the board (and the production staff, and I perform, etc.) for a community theatre in a small mid-western town. We produce 16-18 shows a year on a half million dollar budget – some of which is raised through ticket prices, some fundraised, most of it donated. Other than a salaried director and a salaried costumer, we are almost entirely volunteer run. We perform for audiences totaling 22-24,000 every year- about 3,500 of whom are school children in rural areas who would never have access to the performing arts otherwise. Those performances are subsidized by generous donors who have nothing to gain; no black tie, no fancy dinner, no hobnobbing – just the knowledge that some second grader will get to sit in a theatre seat, swing his feet back and forth and be amazed. Who knows what that theatrical experience will open up for that child, but I’m willing to bet it’s a donated dollar well spent.

    This probably pertains more to the other thread, but Jack brought up Bob in here so thought I’d add my .02

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