Mint Theater Presents Rutherford & Son
Mint Theater today announced its next production, Rutherford & Son by Githa Sowerby. Performances run February 4th through April 1st at the Mint's home in the heart of the theater district, 311 West 43rd Street. Opening Night is set for Monday February 27th.
Rutherford & Son, set in the industrial north of England, tells the story of a father determined to do whatever it takes to ensure the success and succession of the family glassworks, started by his own father, but now in danger of shattering. John Rutherford rules home and business with an iron fist, a tyrant who inspires fear in his workers and hatred in his grown children. Now rebellion is brewing. His eldest son, working in secret has discovered a process that could save the firm, cutting costs by one third-but he refuses to share it with his father unless he "gets his price."
The Mint first producEd Rutherford & Son in 2001. "The Geiger counter that the Mint Theater Company waves over theater history in search of long un-performed treasures has identified a still-ticking nugget. The play has emotional depth, narrative pull, and linguistic potency to retain an impact today," wrote the New York Times. Performances began on September 7, 2001-and in spite of marvelous reviews, the play could not possibly get the attention it deserved at that tumultuous time
"The tenth anniversary of 9/11 brought back many memories for me, one of which was of this great play, which was scheduled to open on September 12th, 2001. We had a great production and a successful run, but the entire experience was, of course, overshadowed by the events of the time. A new production will give us a chance to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this remarkable play and to share it with the many theatergoers who have discovered the Mint in the last ten years," said Artistic Director Jonathan Bank.
Richard Corley returns to direct a cast that features 2001 cast members Robert Hogan as Rutherford, Dale Soules and David Van Pelt, as well as Eli James (Temporal Powers), Allison Mclemore (The Madras House), James Patrick Nelson (Three Sisters at CSC), Sandra Shipley (Broadway: Importance of Being Earnest, Blithe Spirit, Equus, more), and Sara Surrey (Lost In Yonkers at Papermill).
Hogan is currently appearing in Blood and Gifts for Lincoln Center Theater. His Broadway credits include A Few Good Men and Hamlet. Off-Broadway he has been seen in Mourning Becomes Electra, Accomplices, Never the Sinner, Waiting for Lefty, What Didn't Happen, Hope is the Thing with Feathers, On the Bum, Further Than the Furthest Thing, Boy, Rainbow Kiss, Baby Dance, In the Western Garden, Major Crimes, and Lighting Up the Two-Year-Old. He is the recipient of a Drama League Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award as Best Featured Actor.
"This acute play shows how by striking hard bargains and always winning a man may lose everything. The play is as skillful as blown glass. It is a subtle meditation on ownership, justice, and loyalty," wrote Kate Kellaway in The Observer, reviewing the National Theater's 1994 production. Charles Spencer wrote in The Daily Telegraph, "it is far better than most of Shaw and easily stands comparison with another Edwardian masterpiece, Harley Granville Barker's The Voysey Inheritance… A great play has been reclaimed." "Sowerby knew what she was talking about," wrote Lyn Gardner in The Guardian of a 2009 production. "The amazing thing is that she did it so blatantly and with such flair almost 100 years ago, when women were seen but seldom heard on British stages."
Rutherford & Son was scheduled for only four performances when it opened at London's Royal Court Theatre on January 31, 1912. Critical response was so enthusiastic it quickly transferred to the West End. "One of the very best, strongest, deftest, and altogether most masterly family dramas that we have had for a long time from any one, however famous," wrote one London critic. The New York premiere in 1912 equally impressed American critics: "A play that carries conviction in every line-that leaves no doubt that it was written out of a fullness of knowledge of the life and people with which it deals," wrote The New York Times.
When Rutherford & Son premiered critics were astounded that a play of such depth and exquisite stagecraft could be penned by a first-time playwright. The London Times predicted a future "full of promise" for this preternaturally talented writer-known at this point only as "K.G. Sowerby." What did "K.G." stand for? No one knew for sure until the author-Katherine Githa Sowerby-came forward. That a woman had written such a brilliant, brutal drama made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. The Times of London referred to Githa as a "girl-dramatist" and observed: "She is the last person in the world one would expect to find as the author of so grim, powerful and closely-thought out drama of business. Instead of looking as if she wrote this play, she is a young, pretty, fair-haired girl, refined of speech and dainty in dress, who seems far better suited to a drawing room than to the dramatist's work room."
The press painted her as an English rose who'd stumbled into playwriting-and Githa, a private person who dreaded interviews, did little to correct them. Her diffident answers only added to the misconception. Indeed, Githa was neither as naïve, nor as young, as the press assumed. Githa kept her history private-and it nearly went with her to her grave. Shortly before her death in 1970, Githa burned her personal papers. By that time, both her and her work had been forgotten. None of her plays after Rutherford & Son had achieved acclaim; even Rutherford disappeared from the repertory. When The National Theatre revivEd Rutherford & Son in 1994, inspiring new interest in Githa, her biography remained a mystery. With the publication of Looking for Githa by Patricia Riley two years ago concrete details of Githa's life and family history finally emerged.
"The Mint does for forgotten drama what the Encores! series does for musicals, on far more modest means" (The New York Times). The Mint was awarded an OBIE for "combining the excitement of discovery with the richness of tradition," and a special Drama Desk Award for "unearthing, presenting and preserving forgotten plays of merit." Ben Brantley, in The New York Times Arts & Leisure (August 21st, 2011) hailed the Mint as the "resurrectionist extraordinaire of forgotten plays."
Performances for Rutherford & Son will be Tuesday through Thursday at 7 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM, and Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets are $55. All performances will take place on the Third Floor of 311 West 43rd Street.
Tickets are available by calling 866/811-4111 or at www.minttheater.org. PLEASE NOTE NEW BOX OFFICE NUMBER!