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Friday, December 11, 2009

The Guthrie's 2009 A CHRISTMAS CAROL by the numbers

Photo: Peter Michael Goetz (Ebenezer Scrooge) and James Ramlet (Ghost of Christmas Present) in the Guthrie Theater production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens, adapted by Barbara Field, directed by Gary Gisselman, set design by Neil Patel, original costumes by Jess Goldstein, additional costumes by David Kay Mickelsen, lighting design by Marcus Dilliard. November 19 - December 31, 2009.
2009 © Michal Daniel

I've always loved these "by the numbers" type of wrap-ups as they often give you a realistic sense of the scope of a production. Plus they are fun.

We didn't do a full review of this year's show on HowWasTheShow but we did see it opening night. That made the third or fourth time I've now seen the production during it's 35 year run. (The first time was back in 1989 when I was actually a Guthrie employee for a short time.)

The biggest difference between this year's production and when I saw and reviewed it in 2007 is that it now runs without intermission and is shortened somewhat (run time 95 minutes). For many theater-goers on week nights, this is a good thing as you get out much sooner. For the kids, however, it might be a bit of a stretch. (The Guthrie will admit well-behaved children as young as 5, but recommends 8 years as the guideline.)

As usual, the sets dazzled. And despite the continuing silliness with the Christmas goose in the feast scene, this is a pretty difficult show to ever grow tired of.

Here are the results of Christmas Carol by the numbers from the big G.



A Christmas Carol: 2009 By the Numbers

2 trap doors used in the show

3 real candles used in each performance (plus 47 fake ones)

4 days from the final performance of The Importance of Being Earnest to the conclusion of setting up the set for A Christmas Carol

9 cubic feet of fake snow needed for the run of the show

9 consecutive years director Gary Gisselman has helmed the Guthrie production

20 backstage staff for each show (4 on the deck, 2 spotlights, 2 board ops, 3 stage managers, 4 dressers, 2 wigs, 1 wardrobe, a crew supervisor and a wardrobe supervisor)

20 years the longest performing A Christmas Carol actor (Nathaniel ‘Nat’ Fuller) has been in the Guthrie production

25 wigs used in the show

26 years the longest working crew member (Stage Supervisor Brian Crow) has been involved with the show

28 simultaneous “quick changes” (costume changes done in under 2 minutes) following the Fezziwig scene

30 fake food items used onstage

36 actors in the show (16 adults, 11 children and 9 Londoners/Party Guests/Vagrants)

40 distance of the conricopter (used for the entrance of the Ghost of Christmas Present) from the stage floor at full height in feet

47 fake candles used each performance

52.5 height of this year’s shortest performer (Kyle Feller/Tiny Tim) in inches

151 costumes in the show

161 links in the chains used by the Ghost of Jacob Marley

163 light cues (that’s approximately one every 33 seconds)

700 pounds of dry ice used each week to create the fog effects

800+ number of actors that have appeared in the Guthrie’s production of A Christmas Carol over the years

1843 year Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol

… another fun fact: The prop building plans that Young Jacob Marley shows to Young Ebenezer are actually architectural plans for the new Guthrie building.

About the Guthrie’s 35th anniversary production of A Christmas Carol

A Minnesota tradition since 1975, the holiday classic will feature legendary stage and screen actor Peter Michael Goetz in his fourth Guthrie appearance as Ebenezer Scrooge, alongside a cast of 26 Twin Cities actors in a fresh, 90-minute adaptation by Barbara Field. Director Gary Gisselman returns for his ninth consecutive year at the helm of this perennial favorite. Filled with music, magic and holiday spirit, this classic tale of redemption and the true meaning of the festive season has brought joy to thousands of theatergoers since the Guthrie’s first staging. A Christmas Carol continues through December 31 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. Single tickets start at $34 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE and online at

For more information, visit