Scrooge will be back at the Guthrie – and she's psyched about it

It's pretty rare to have a female lead in 'A Christmas Carol.'
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There may be no stronger tradition in Twin Cities theater than the Guthrie's annual production of A Christmas Carol.

Charles Dickens' tale of a crotchety old miser getting infused with the spirit of the holiday is returning to the Guthrie next month for its 43rd straight year. 

But even firmly established traditions can change with the times if you look closely. This year at a few of the Guthrie's performances the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge will be played by an actress, Charity Jones. 

The Guthrie quietly announced this a month ago. It didn't get much attention, though, until rehearsals started this week and Jones told the Star Tribune "I'm pretty jazzed" about playing Scrooge. 

4 of the 56 shows

In most of this year's shows the role of Scrooge will be played by Nathaniel Fuller, who has been cast as many characters in Guthrie productions of A Christmas Carolover the past 30 years.

It's a pretty grueling schedule for the cast, though, who'll be doing 56 performances in about six weeks. 

Since Scrooge is an especially demanding role, the Guthrie plans to give Fuller a few breaks by using an alternate in some shows, theater spokeswoman Marita Albinson explained to KARE 11.

So Jones, who also has a long history at the Guthrie, will be that alternate Scrooge. Nothing in the script will change when Jones is filling in, Albinson said, noting it's not all that unusual for women to play men onstage or vice versa.

In most performances Jones will play the role of Old Joe. 

Previews of A Christmas Carol begin on Nov. 14 with opening night on the 18th. The show runs through Dec. 30. You can get tickets here

If you particularly want to see Charity Jones in the role of Scrooge, the Star Tribune says she's slated for the evening shows on Nov. 26 and Dec. 6 and the 10:30 a.m. shows on Nov. 30 and Dec. 13. 

Women as Scrooge 

While the Guthrie is not tinkering with the script of A Christmas Carol, other theater companies have. 

Last winter's production by Dallas Theater Center set the story in a factory owned by Scrooge, American Theater reports, with both Scrooge and her former business partner Marley cast as women. 

Sally Vahle, who played Scrooge, told WFAAA Christmas Carol doesn't really need much changing to accommodate a female lead character. 

“It’s a universal enough story that anyone who sees it – no matter where they are in life – I do believe that there will be a takeaway for them, that will make their life richer and fuller,” Vahle said.

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