Adriane Lenox, Julia Duffy and Will Lyman Join Malcolm-Jamal Warner in Huntington's GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER

Adriane Lenox, Julia Duffy and Will Lyman Join Malcolm-Jamal Warner in Huntington's GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER

Huntington Theatre Company announces that Julia Duffy, Tony Award winner Adriane Lenox, and Boston favorite Will Lyman will join the previously announced Malcolm-Jamal Warner in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, the opening production of the 2014 Best of Boston's 33rd season.

Adapted for the stage from the William Rose's Academy Award-winning screenplay by Todd Kreidler (Holler If Ya Hear Me on Broadway, August Wilson's longtime dramaturg) and directed by David Esbjornson (All My Sons at the Huntington and Driving Miss Daisy on Broadway), this funny and poignant stage adaptation of the award-winning 1967 film begins Friday, September 5.

"David Esbjornson brings a striking contemporary perspective to classics that allow us to experience them in new and unexpected ways," says Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois. "After David's astonishing production of All My Sons at the Huntington in 2010, I can't wait for him to return and reveal the emotional and social immediacy of the ideas raised by this landmark film." Hear more from DuBois about the production at huntingtontheatre.org/peter-guess-who.

In Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, a young, idealistic, and very much in love Joanna surprises her liberal, white parents when she brings John, her African-American fiancé home to meet them. When John's parents also arrive for dinner, both sets of parents must confront their own unexpected reactions and concerns for their children as their beliefs are put to the test. When the movie premiered in 1967, it pushed a private conversation about interracial marriage into the public sphere. Kreidler's fresh adaptation captures a moment in America's past while reflecting on the current state of race relations in America.

Esbjornson directed Warner in the role made famous by Sidney Poitier in a recent production at Arena Stage (Washington, DC) that The Washington Post called, "so darn appealing with masterly direction. Malcolm-Jamal Warner has matured into a solid leading man." The Washingtonian called it, "Riotously funny. Warner doesn't disappoint, his presence is forceful onstage." And Maryland Theatre Guide called it, "Truly uplifting. A delightfully funny, wonderfully acted evening of theatre that should not be missed."

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Malcolm-Jamal Warner ("The Cosby Show") and Meredith Forlenza (The Winslow Boy and A Behanding in Spokane on Broadway) will play Dr. John Prentice and Joanna Drayton, the young couple whose engagement challenges their parents' beliefs. Julia Duffy ("Newhart," Once in a Lifetime on Broadway) and Boston favorite Will Lyman (All My Sons at the Huntington) will appear as Christina and Matt Drayton, the roles made famous by Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey in the film. Tony Award winner Adriane Lenox (Doubt on Broadway, Now or Later at the Huntington) and Lonnie Farmer (A Christmas Carol at Trinity Repertory Company) will appear as Mary and John Prentice, Sr. The cast is completed by Lynda Gravatt (Young Man from Atlanta at the Huntington, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway) as Matilda Binks, the Drayton's housekeeper; Patrick Shea (Child's Play on Broadway, Boston's Shear Madness) as Monsignor Ryan; and Wendy Rich Stetson (In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) on Broadway) as Hillary St. George, Christina Drayton's employee at the Drayton Gallery.

Todd Kreidler (Playwright) served as dramaturg for August Wilson's Radio Golf and Gem of the Ocean in their early productions at the Huntington, at other regional theatres, and on Broadway. He wrote the musical Holler If Ya Hear Me, an original story featuring the lyrics of Tupac Shakur, which recently played on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. He is also writing a musical with Nikki Sixx, based on Sixx's memoir and music, The Heroin Diaries. His stage adaptation of the film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner ran at Arena Stage in Washington, DC and premiered at True Colors Theatre Company in Atlanta. Most recently, he directed August Wilson's one-man show How I Learned What I Learned at Off Broadway's Signature Theatre. He originally directed and co-conceived the piece with Mr. Wilson performing at Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2003. He co-founded the August Wilson Monologue Competition, a national program aimed at integrating August Wilson's work into high school curriculum, of which the Huntington facilitates the Boston semi-final.

David Esbjornson (Director) previously directed All My Sons at the Huntington. His directing premieres include Driving Miss Daisy (Broadway, London, and Australia), Edward Albee's The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? (Broadway) and The Play about the Baby (Off Broadway), Arthur Miller's The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (Broadway) and Resurrection Blues (Guthrie Theater), Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (world premiere), and Perestroika (first staged presentation, Eureka Theatre), and Homebody/Kabul (London), Neal Bell's Therese Raquin (Classic Stage Company), In the Blood (The Public Theater/NYSF), and Tuesdays with Morrie (Minetta Lane Theatre). His revivals include Lady From Dubuque (Signature Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre), Death of a Salesman (Gate Theatre, Dublin), Hamlet (Theatre for a New Audience), Measure for Measure and Much Ado About Nothing and The Normal Heart (The Public Theater/NYSF), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Summer and Smoke (Guthrie Theater), Twelfth Night, Mud, and Drowning (Signature Theatre), A Few Good Men (London's West End), Endgame, The Maids, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, and The Entertainer (Classic Stage Company), and Farmyard (New York Theatre Workshop). He is the recipient of two Obie Awards for Outstanding Direction, a What's On Stage Award, two Lucille Lortel Awards, a Los Angeles Critics Award, a Friends of New York Theatre Award for Best Director, seven Bay Area Critics Awards, seven Connecticut Critics Awards, a TCG Directing Fellowship, and others. He previously served as artistic director of Classic Stage Company in New York City and Seattle Repertory Theatre, and is the current chair of Rutgers University Theatre Program.

The Huntington's production of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner will feature scenic design by Dane Laffrey (God of Carnage at the Huntington, Bad Jews at Roundabout Theatre Company), costume design by Paul Tazewell (Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk and On the Town [Lucille Lortel Award] on Broadway), and lighting design by Allen Lee Hughes (Stick Fly and Les Blancs at the Huntington, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway). Production stage manager is Emily McMullen. Assistant stage manager is Jeremiah Mullane.

Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and named Best of Boston 2013 and 2014 by Boston magazine, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston's leading professional theatre and one of the region's premiere cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

The show runs September 5 - October 5, 2014. Select Evenings: Tues. - Thurs. at 7:30pm; Fri. - Sat. at 8pm; select Sun. at 7pm. Matinees: Select Wed., Thurs., Sat., and Sun. at 2pm.Press Opening: Wednesday, September 10, 7pm. RSVP online. All performances play the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston

Single tickets starting at $25 and FlexPasses are on sale:

  • online at huntingtontheatre.org;
  • by phone at 617 266 0800; or
  • in person at the BU Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Ave. and the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Box Office, 527 Tremont St. in Boston's South End.

Select discounts apply:

  • $5 off: seniors
  • $10 off: subscribers and BU community (faculty/staff/alumni)
  • $25 "35 Below" tickets for patrons 35 years old and younger (valid ID required)
  • $15 student and military tickets (valid ID required)

Post-Show Audience Conversations: Led by members of the Huntington staff. After most Tuesday - Friday, Saturday matinee, and Sunday matinee performances throughout the season. Free with a ticket to the performance.

35 Below Wrap Party: A post-show party for the region's culturally curious ages 21 to 35 featuring backstage access, free refreshments, and live entertainment. 35 Below tickets are available at all performances to patrons 35 and under for just $25.

Audio Described Performance: A live narration of the visual aspects of the production for those who are blind or visually impaired.

Actors Forum: Participating cast members answer questions from the audience.

Humanities Forum: A conversation about the historic or literary context of the production.

Student Matinee: For students in grades 9 - 12. Tickets: $15. Includes pre-show in-school visit, curriculum guide, post-show Actors Forum, and Dramatic Returns card for each student. Call 617 273 1558 for more information.

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