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Guthrie to present its first female Scrooge in 'Christmas Carol'

Charity Jones played the Ghost of Christmas Past opposite Peter Michael Goetz as Scrooge in the Guthrie's 2003 production of "A Christmas Carol."

For the first time in Guthrie Theater history, a woman will play Scrooge in the company’s venerable production of “A Christmas Carol.”

But veteran Twin Cities actor Charity Jones will go on for only four performances as the uber-miser (Nov. 26 at 7 p.m., Nov. 30 at 10:30 a.m., Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 13 at 10:30 a.m.)

Longtime Guthrie actor Nathaniel Fuller, who first appeared in “Carol” nearly 30 years ago and has played Marley and Bob Cratchit in addition to Scrooge, will play the skinflint for the other 52 performances of the show's Nov. 14-Dec. 30 run.

“I’m pretty jazzed about it,” Jones said Tuesday as she walked into the first day of rehearsals. She was quick to point out that her primary role would be as Old Joe, another pants role.

Jones (pictured at right) is currently onstage at the Guthrie as Lady Montague in Joseph Haj’s free-spirited, contemporary production of “Romeo and Juliet.”

It’s pretty rare in theater for women play Scrooge. Actor Sally Nystuen Vahle put on the miser’s stingy clothes in 2016 at the Dallas Theatre Center.

But there’s something of a cottage industry of female Scrooges on TV, all adapted from Dickens. The list includes Susan Lucci as Elizabeth "Ebbie" Scrooge in the 1995 Lifetime movie, “Ebbie”; Cicely Tyson as Ebenita Scrooge in USA Network’s “Ms. Scrooge” (1997); and Vanessa Williams as Ebony Scrooge in VH1’s 2000 film “A Diva's Christmas Carol.”

The Guthrie’s 43rd production of the Dickens classic will employ the adaptation by British playwright Crispin Whittell that it's used since 2010, but with a new director: Guthrie associate producer Lauren Keating.  Previews begin on Nov. 14, with opening night on Saturday, Nov. 18.

KQRS's Tom Barnard to be enshrined in National Radio Hall of Fame



Tom Barnard/Star Tribune photo by Carlos Gonzalez

Radio stars don't get to tread the red carpet as often as their counterparts on TV and film, which makes the National Radio Hall of Fame ceremonies extra special for anyone who works behind the mike.

Tom Barnard, KQRS's long-time, morning-drive kingpin, will join the elite club Nov. 2 in Chicago. Previous Minnesota members include Garrison Keillor and Stanley E. Hubbard.

"It's so damn cool to be in the same club as Groucho Marx," Barnard said Tuesday. "But it's one of those situations where I know it's about the listeners, not me."

Barnard is particularly thrilled that the ceremony will take place at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, the town where he first started doing commercial voice-over work for products ranging from Hamburger Helper to Gatorade.

The north Minneapolis native started his ratings-topping run 37 years ago and is signed to be at KQ through at least 2019. He's expecting about 50 friends, colleagues and family members to join him in Chicago.

Other inductees this year include Sean Hannity, Bobby Bones and Howard Stern's sidekick Robin Quivers.

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