Full Synopsis

Full Synopsis

Merlin the Magician and Morgan Le Fay of Camelot gleefully set the stage for a play. At Merlin's behest, Victorian Carolers gather onstage and sing ("Christmas in the Air"). Merlin and Morgan introduce themselves to the audience and share their belief that there is no magic as powerful as a good story and that their favorite story is a ghost tale so powerful that it will shake the bah-humbugs right out of the hearts of all who read it. But, it is a story that might never be told if Jack and Annie don't travel through time to help the author find it in his heart to tell it.

A Caroler asks Morgan, "Who are Jack and Annie, and how do they travel through time?" Merlin and Morgan tell their story from the beginning, starting with the day Jack and Annie first discovered the magic tree house ("How Far Can You See?").

Merlin and Morgan give Jack and Annie instructions for their next mission: they must travel to Victorian England to help the writer, Charles Dickens, give his gift to the world. When Morgan gives the kids a research book on Victorian England, Annie sees that the girls of that time wear hoopskirts and asks if she can wear something different so that she can move and do stuff. Merlin agrees, but warns her that she will have to pretend to be a boy. He and Morgan give Jack and Annie a magic violin and tell them that, when Jack plays, whatever Annie sings will come true. The magic will only work once, though, so they are urged to choose their song carefully.

The tree house spins through time and space, landing in London's Hyde Park. Jack and Annie are both dressed in expensive Victorian boy's clothing, so Annie tucks her braids under her hat. As the kids set out to find Charles Dickens, they discover they have pockets full of money. A Carriage Driver happily agrees to take them to the home of Mr. Dickens, saying he is always pleased to transport such fine young gentlemen of means. As they ride through the streets of London, Jack and Annie playfully relish their new identities ("Two Gentleman of Means").

The Carriage Driver delivers Jack and Annie to the home of Charles Dickens, where they are unequivocally turned away by his protective housekeeper, Mrs. Tibbs. Eager to devise a plan to get into the house so that they can meet Charles and figure out how to help him, Annie asks two chimney sweeps who are about to enter the estate if they would agree to trade places with them. Colin and Harry, the chimney sweeps, are skeptical at first, but Annie convinces them to trade their rags for Jack and Annie's finery ("Trading Places").

Dressed as chimney sweeps, Jack and Annie enter Dickens' home and go to work in his empty study. Charles enters, dramatically instructing Mrs. Tibbs not to let anyone enter under penalty of death! Jack and Annie hide inside the fireplace. Looking for inspiration, Charles goes to his mirror and makes the faces of the characters he is trying to create, including pudgy Pickwick, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby ("Faces in the Mirror").

Jack sneezes, interrupting Charles' inspired moment. Charles is shocked and dismayed to see two soot-covered children in his office and stumbles out. Mrs. Tibbs angrily scolds the children and shoos them out of the house.

Jack and Annie see Dickens getting into a carriage. They try to hail the same carriage driver who brought them to Dickens house but, unfortunately, he doesn't recognize them now that they are dressed as paupers, and refuses to give them a ride. The kids walk the streets of London, hoping to find Dickens, but Jack's velvet bag catches the eyes of two street urchins, Emma and Olive.

The urchins steal the bag from Jack and Annie, along with the magic violin and research book. A chase ensues, and when Jack wrestles the bag back, the urchins cleverly turn the tables and accuse Jack and Annie of being the thieves ("Stop Thief!"). Jack and Annie are cornered by a large group of Street Vendors, and a Policeman comes to arrest them. Jack and Annie see Charles on the street and call out for his help. Dickens tells the policeman that the bag does indeed belong to Jack and Annie because he saw them with it in his study earlier. He chastises the Policeman (and the Crowd!) for judging hard-working children based solely on their appearance and reminds them that goodness dresses in rags and patches as often as it does in velvet and silk. Dickens invites Jack and Annie to join him for a meal at the Purple Peacock Inn and Dickens is treated like royalty by the Restaurant Workers and Patrons ("Right This Way"). Tiny Tim and his mother, Roberta, beg at the door of the inn for a crust of bread, but Mr. Pinch, the owner, staunchly refuses. When Charles challenges him to be more generous, Pinch expresses his disgust for Charles' charitable attitude ("Bah! Humbug!").

Shaken by Mr. Pinch's spiteful callousness, Charles leaves the restaurant in a daze, haunted by imaginary voices of all the sad, lonely children of London ("Who Will Hear My Song?"). Jack and Annie catch up with Charles, and he tells them about his own difficult childhood. Feeling that his work is meaningless in the face of all the suffering in the world, Charles declares that he shall write no more! Jack and Annie begin to try to change his mind but, claiming he needs to be alone, Charles begs them to leave him.

Jack is worried that he and Annie will fail in their mission, but Annie has an idea: they will use the magic violin to help him! With Jack playing and Annie singing, they summon the Green Ghost, White Ghost and Black Ghost  ("Come Three Ghosts"), who magically create visions for Charles to witness, including Queen Victoria reading Oliver Twist and Dickens' daughter, Mary, weeping near a tombstone. Ultimately, they convince him that his writing can have a positive effect, bringing joy and comfort to millions and inspiring them to consider the plight of others less fortunate.

Charles is profoundly affected by what he sees, and re-dedicates himself to his writing. He is excited to share his lesson with Jack and Annie: everyone has a gift, and it is every person's sacred responsibility to share that gift with the world ("You Must Give Your Gifts").

Eager to rush home and write, Charles hails a carriage for himself, Jack and Annie. On the carriage ride, he decides to use his experience with the ghosts as the basis for a new story, which Jack suggests he call A Christmas Carol.

Charles bids a fond farewell to Jack and Annie at Hyde Park, where they are greeted by Merlin and Morgan, who congratulate them on their success and tell them it was their gift of kindness that allowed them to creatively accomplish their mission with Charles.

In the finale, the entire cast encourages the audience to give their own gifts to the world before reprising the opening carol ("Bows").