Andrew Weems to Lead UNCLE VANYA at Guthrie Theatre

Andrew Weems to Lead UNCLE VANYA at Guthrie Theatre

The Guthrie Theater today announced complete casting for its production of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. Guthrie Artistic DirectorJoe Dowling will helm Brian Friel's modern adaptation of the Chekhov classic. First produced at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in 1998, Friel's adaptation renders the language of the play into a modern idiom and offers humor and further developed characters' roles and relationships. Uncle Vanya-a play that has not been performed on the Guthrie stage in nearly 25 years-begins performances on September 14 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage.

Vanya and his niece Sonya work their small country estate, living frugally and keeping their emotions tightly reined in. The return of Vanya's brother-in-law with his beautiful second wife Elena unlocks hidden passions as the entire family is thrown into turmoil.

"That balance between the highly theatrical and the highly emotional is one that Friel gets in all his work," says Joe Dowling. "People have compared Friel with Chekhov, and these two major artists have been profoundly influential in my life. Friel is a sort of mentor to me, and Chekhov's work is the kind of poetic realism that I grew up on."

The Guthrie has assembled an all-star cast to bring this timeless play to life. The production will feature the Guthrie debut of Andrew Weems (Broadway: Born Yesterday, Inherit the Wind; two solo shows: Namaste Man at Intiman Theater and Damascus Fourth Street Theatre; Film: Sorry, Haters, The Killing Floor; Television: "Person of Interest," "Law and Order") in the role of Vanya (Ivan) Voynitsky.

The production also features Nathan Barlow (Guthrie: A Christmas Carol, In the Red and Brown Water (a Pillsbury House Theatre and The Mount Curve Company co-production);University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA Actor Training Program) as Yefim; John Catron (Guthrie: Long Day's Journey Into Night, Hay Fever) as Mikhail Astrov; Robert Dorfman (Guthrie: The Merchant of Venice, Volpone) as Alexander Serebryakov; Melissa Hart (Guthrie: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) as Maria Voynitsky; Barbara Kingsley (Guthrie: Tales from Hollywood, Jane Eyre) as Marina and Valeri Mudek (Guthrie: Time Stands Still, Charley's Aunt; University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA Actor Training Program) as Elena.

Rounding out the cast, fresh off their performances in the critically acclaimed Clybourne Park, are Emily Gunyou Halaas and Jim Lichtscheidl in the roles of Sonya and Ilya Telegin (Waffles), respectively.

The artistic team includes Michael Hoover (Set Designer), Christine A. Richardson (Costume Designer), Frank Butler (Lighting Designer), Scott W. Edwards (Sound Designer), Jo Holcolmb (Dramaturg), D'Arcy Smith (Voice and Dialect Coach), Marcela Lorca (Movement), Karen Wegner (Stage Manager), Justin Hossle (Assistant Stage Manager) and Adrian Balbontin (Assistant Director).

Uncle Vanya begins preview performances on September 14, opens September 20 and continues through October 27 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage at the Guthrie Theater. Single tickets start at $29 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, 612.225.6244(Group Sales) and online at www.guthrietheater.org.

The GUTHRIE THEATER (Joe Dowling, Director) was founded by Sir Tyrone Guthrie in 1963 and is an American center for theater performance, production, education and professional training. The Tony Award-winning Guthrie Theater is dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature, developing the work of contemporary playwrights and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. With annual attendance of nearly 500,000 people, the Guthrie Theater presents a mix of classic plays and contemporary work on its three stages. Under the artistic leadership of Joe Dowling since 1995, the Guthrie continues to set a national standard for excellence in theatrical production and performance. In 2006, the Guthrie opened its new home on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Guthrie Theater houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms and dramatic public lobbies. www.guthrietheater.org

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