Parody lyrics by
Georgia Warner & Joel Melia
Performed & edited by
Georgia Warner *
My kooky family has had a long-standing tradition that every year on Christmas Day, we would sit in a big circle and read through a radio-play version of Charles Dickens’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Unfortunately, the nuts-and-bolts script we’d been using is so painfully boring that last year, my aunt Emma Walton Hamilton (coincidence? I think not), the champion behind our tradition, piped up, “Are we really going to keep reading this tired thing every year? We’re a family of writers, can someone please give this script a makeover already?”
I volunteered myself to create a fresh script for the following Christmas; one with more comedy, pizzazz, and chutzpah (yes, like many lauded Christmas lyricists, I am also a Jew—let’s table that), and my brother Joel offered to help. At the time, we had no concept in mind, but had discussed the idea of writing the whole thing in rhyme a la Dr. Seuss, because Joel and I share passion for intricately rhyming verse. It wasn’t until a few months later, when we discovered the genius that is "Hamilton: An American Musical," that our vision became clear.
The rest of our family had already been obsessed with "Hamilton" for some time (including Emma’s mum, Julie Andrews, who usually narrated our radio-play rendition—and the idea of hearing her bust a rhyme at our next family Christmas was major creative incentive). Joel and I were late to the Hamilton-love-fest, but certainly no less smitten. In fact, during a brother-sister cross-country road trip, we alternated characters to sing through the entire soundtrack from start to finish an unhealthy number of times. Toward the end of the road trip, a lightbulb turned on, and I pitched my idea to Joel, who was driving:
“Joel, what if we write the story of A Christmas Carol… to the music of Hamilton?”
“What do you mean?” he asked, distracted, eyes on the road.
“I mean like… How does a wealthy geezer named Ebenezer…” I paused for a minute. “…earn his gold but turn his soul as cold as a freezer?” (It was a first draft.)
Joel was silent. Then suddenly, he turned to me, brow furrowed, and sang, “Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge… my name is Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge…”
I lit up and chimed in, “And if you think that I’m a little rude…”
And then Joel and I sang together the obvious end of the line:
“Then BAH HUMBAH, BAH HUMBUG!”
Joel was sold. I was bouncing out of my seat.
Over the coming months, we used thirteen songs from Hamilton (combining two of them) as the blueprints to create a reimagined version of A Christmas Carol, aligned as precisely as possible to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s perfect musical rhythms and rhyme-schemes, but with our own original lyrics which now told the familiar story of Scrooge’s redemption. The end product was a forty-minute parody of both Hamilton and A Christmas Carol, which has come to be known as "Scroogelton: A Christmas Musical."
This is our new family Christmas tradition. We hope it may be yours too.
(Especially if you're Lin-Manuel Miranda; we love you SO MUCH.)
* NOTE: I decided this summer I wanted to put this out by Christmas, so I ordered the Marley chains months ago ...Then I forgot all about it until literally Christmas Eve. Ipso facto, all of this audio and video was filmed and edited over one sleepless 48 hour period, using only what I had in my room at the time. In fact, that glass Fred and Fezziwig are toasting with isn't even a glass; it's a candle.
Watch sibling writing team Georgia and Joel perform "Better Man" aloud together for the very first time, at their family's annual Christmas gathering!