Ring In the Season With Gustavus Alumni at the Guthrie’s Christmas Carol

Posted on December 8th, 2021 by

Clay Man Soo '18 (center) plays Young Scrooge in the Guthrie's Christmas Carol. Photo by Jenny Graham

Going to A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theater this holiday season? You’ll see a few familiar Gustavus Theatre & Dance alumni on stage – and there’s a few who worked on it behind the scenes, too!

“Christmas Carol is to me a story about redemption. It’s about reflection and deepening your understanding on the impact your actions have. It’s in many ways about the Gustavus values of being in service to your community,” says Rush Benson ’13, who plays the Ghost of Christmas Future and Belle’s husband.

This production is a brand new script for the Guthrie adapted by Lavina Jadhwani, and features a brand new set, costumes, lighting, and all other technical elements. The story of Scrooge is also told by the ensemble throughout. “There’s still ghosts, there’s still time travel, there is still the joy of being in 17th century London,” says Clay Man Soo ’18, who plays Young Scrooge in the production. “This is a clean, streamlined version and the heart of the story is what’s being highlighted first.”

“It feels like such a blessing, especially coming out of a pandemic,” he says. “Coming back into a theater, telling a story like this, about love and family and redemption and forgiveness feels like the most important thing one could be doing right now.”

I love to dance and sing these new songs and watch the eyes of the audience light up again,” says Benson. “It truly is the connection with the audience and giving people a chance to soften their hearts and experience Scrooge’s transformation in real time that makes this job rewarding,” he says.

Soo enjoys the arc that he gets to perform with the character of Young Scrooge. “You’re playing the joy of what it means to fall in love for the first time and your first kiss, your first love, and then you play what it means to lose sight of who you are and your relationship with your partner and break up with them and see the darker side of who we are,” he says.

Nicole Meyer ’20 is working as an overhire scenic painter, along with her former professor Lydia Francis ’11. “Ever since I was young, my family and I went to see the show every year as a family tradition. So it feels very full circle to be working on it,” says Meyer. 

Francis worked on the set the last time the Guthrie updated it ten years ago, and has worked on and off at the Guthrie as a scenic artist ever since. “It was really exciting to get to work with my student Nicole on the production,” she says. “I love seeing all of our Gustie alumni grow and thrive in the Minneapolis theater scene!” 

A Christmas Carol, directed by Joseph Haj, runs at the Guthrie Theater through December 27. Tickets range from $15 to $134. All ticket holders must wear masks and show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 PCR test with a valid photo ID to attend a performance at the theater.

 

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