To a couple of generations of North Shore Music Theatre-goers, David Coffee is Ebenezer Scrooge. Every year but two between 1992 and 2019, Coffee had spent his Decembers haunted by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come in the Beverly theater’s musical adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.” This season, with the theater shut down because of COVID, Coffee, 63, is back home in his native Texas, where he spoke to the Globe by phone.
Q. How do theatergoers react when they learn a Texan — with an unmistakable drawl — is the area’s favorite Scrooge?
A. It’s so funny when they find out. They say “Hey, wait a minute.” Most think I’m from Beverly or New England.
Q. The theater has described its adaptation of “Carol” — written by former executive producer Jon Kimbell and members of his staff — as “a musical ghost story” with scary special effects, glorious costumes, and original and period music. How have the various elements worked together to allow the show to thrive for so long?
A. What makes this show special is that it was written and developed just for this theater. There’s lifts, flying characters, and so many technical elements, it’s like getting on a ride from Disney. Punch a button and it just goes until it’s over. It’s a complex animal, but the storytelling is very clear.
Q. Marblehead actress Cheryl McMahon has also appeared in “A Christmas Carol” 26 times. The hilarious byplay between you and her as your housekeeper, Mrs. Dilber, is a highlight of the production. What makes it work?
A. She’s a magnificent actress. I adore her. We both have a comic sense, but what we do is grounded in telling the story.
Q. This is certainly a Dickensian time we are living in, with our first — and hopefully last — pandemic Christmas approaching. How does Dickens and “Carol” speak to us now?
A. It helps us to reset our priorities — it’s the most wonderful thing about this show. It allows us to stop and see where you are in your own journey and how you can help make things better for all of us. The pandemic has forced us to slow down and relish and enjoy life and just stop and think instead of being on a treadmill every day. It still speaks to us now as it’s done since 1843.
Q. Years ago, you started a tradition after each performance of “Carol,” staying onstage after curtain calls to take a “victory lap,” greeting audience members. How did that come about?
A. In the second year, we had a bad snowstorm and a tiny house. I thought the least I can do is go out and thank them for coming. Now I see people who have been coming for many years. This one saw you when they were 2 and now they have their own kids coming. It reminds me of the final scene of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Q. North Shore owner Bill Hanney has said that he intends to do “A Christmas Carol” as long as you want to do it. You’re 63. Do you still have a lot of “Bah, humbugs” left in you?
A. As long as I can do it, I will. My late friend Edmund Lyndeck did it up to his 80s. I’m not looking to stop anytime soon if I can avoid it.
Q. Do you have a holiday message to the people who have long made you and this show part of their holiday traditions?
A. I miss them so much, and I hope this year at their holiday celebration, they’ll lift a glass and think of me because I’ll be thinking of them.
Interview was condensed and edited. Rich Fahey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.