Cast members

Cast members of “The Man Who Invented Christmas”.  Left to right: Ivan Lopez, Stephen Neal, Charles Dickens, Madelin Marchant, Pia Vicioso-Villa, Margaret Rickie, and JC Guttierez. 

With millions of fans whether book, play, or movie, it’s surprising to learn the origin of the enduring, “A Christmas Carol”, was because author Charles Dickens desperately hoped the book would help clear his significant debts. Stranger still was his publisher’s refusal to take the book which Dickens then went on to publish himself.

Les Standiford, a prolific author who is the Director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University (FIU), brought this story to readers in his 2008 book, “The Man Who Invented Christmas”.

In 2018, it was made into a movie where he was involved with the film production, and subsequently wrote the stage play.

That connects us to Phillip Church at FIU and his non-profit company, What If Works, with yet another unique offering at the Seminole Theatre. The two men have known each other for many years. In fact, when the book was first published, they put it up for sale in the lobby of what was the Actors Playhouse in Kendall in conjunction with a performance of "A Christmas Carol" that What if Works produced as a fundraiser for the Miami Children's Hospital Foundation.

Last year, Church intended to develop a live costumed stage reading of Standiford’s stage adaptation; a plan upended by COVID-19 closures.

In a creative stroke, Church collaborated to instead make a digitally recorded video in which each actor self-recorded remotely and Paul Steinsland skillfully edited the segments into specific Dickensian locations.

The film was shown virtually last December and will now be at the Seminole Theatre, Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 3:00 p.m., with an added special feature.

Standiford and the actors will be present to interact with the audience. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask about the book, working with the movie and the stage version as well as the creative process of the WIW film.

Tickets are free, although attendees can choose to make a donation that will go to Feeding South Florida. For reservations call (786) 650-2073 or go to or stop by the Box Office, 18 N Krome Ave, Homestead, Thu-Sat, 12:00-5:00 p.m.

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