The Guthrie Theater’s “A Christmas Carol” has been an annual event for 35 years, which means it has picked up a lot of trivia and “data.” Who, for instance, was the first Scrooge?
It was King Donovan who appeared in the first 1975 production that had hastily been tossed together by Barbara Field, then the Guthrie’s young literary manager. I saw the show for the first time the following year, when Scrooge was played by Jeff Chandler.
In promoting its current, 90-minute re-adaptation, the Guthrie’s publicity department recently released a “by the numbers” list of Guthrie trivia. It’s a fun list to sift through, and here are some highlights:
800 – The number of actors who have appeared in the holiday show at the Guthrie over the years.
18 – The number of actors who have played Scrooge.
36 – The number of performers in the current production (16 adult actors, 11 children, 9 extras).
151 – The number of costumes they wear.
28 – The number of simultaneous “quick changes” (under two minutes) that actors are required to make following the big Fezziwig ball scene.
25 – The number of wigs worn in the show.
20 – The number of years a single actor – Nathaniel Fuller – has been in the show.
26 – The number of years the longest-working crew member – stage supervisor Brian Crow – has been with the show.
20 – The number of backstage staff needed for the show, including deck crew, spotlight operators, board operators, stage managers, dressers, wig and wardrobe crew and supervisors.
163 – The number of light cues in the show, averaging one every 33 seconds.
9 – The cubic feet of fake snow needed for the run of the show.
30 – The number of fake food items used onstage.
47 – The number of fake candles used in each performance (plus three real ones).
700 – The amount, in pounds, of dry ice used each week to create fog effects.
9 – The number of consecutive years director Gary Gisselman has staged the show.
1843 – The year Charles Dickens wrote the Christmas classic.
Unknown: The number of times I’ve seen a stage, film or television adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.” But it’s a pretty big number.
“A Christmas Carol” continues through Dec. 31 at the Guthrie. Go here for details.