ARSENIC, PINAFORE, CARNAGE Part Of Guthrie Theater's 2010-11 Season

Guthrie Director Joe Dowling today announced the plays of the Theater's 2010-2011 mainstage season. Highlighting the work of artists both local and international, the season ranges from the world premiere by a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright to classic works by Shakespeare and Shaw.

The subscription season includes seven productions, beginning on the Wurtele Thrust Stage with the previously announced world premiere of The Master Butchers Singing Club by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman, adapted from the novel by Minnesota author Louise Erdrich. Francesca Zambello (Little House on the Prairie) directs a cast led by Lee Mark Nelson (Fidelis), Emily Gunyou Halaas (Delphine), Katie Guentzel (Eva) and Sheila Tousey (Step and a Half). The McGuire Proscenium Stage opens with the hilariously inventive The 39 Steps, under the direction of Joel Sass. A comedic take on Hitchcock's 1935 classic thriller, the two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning play offers up a fast-paced whodunit, perfect for anyone who loves the magic of theater.

The Guthrie subscription season continues in 2011 with Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale on the Thrust, under the direction of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Jonathan Munby, in his Guthrie debut, with Guthrie favorite Helen Carey returning to play Paulina. George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man follows next on the proscenium, with a director to be named later, while Joe Dowling stages the classic American comedy Arsenic and Old Lace on the thrust to mark the 70th anniversary of its first production.

In the summer of 2011, John Miller-Stephany will direct Yasmina Reza's hit 2009 Tony Award-winning Best Play God of Carnage on the proscenium, while Gilbert & Sullivan's musically mirthful H.M.S. Pinafore, under the direction of Joe Dowling, concludes the 2010-2011 season on the thrust.

"Our subscription season is one we're terribly proud of," Dowling said. "I'm particularly excited to have such a wide range of comedies on our stages this coming season, from one of the greatest American comedies ever written in Arsenic and Old Lace to one of the best recent comedies from France, via London and Broadway, with God of Carnage."

In addition to the seven plays of the subscription season, Dowling also announced that the Guthrie has, after 35 years, commissioned a new version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol by British playwright Crispin Whittell. The production will boast new sets and costumes and Dowling will direct this holiday classic for the first time.

Several presentations will appear on the McGuire Proscenium Stage this season, including the previously announced WorldStage Series presentation of Tricycle Theatre's epic theatrical event The Great Game: Afghanistan; a continuation of the partnership with The Acting Company with The Comedy of Errors and Romeo and Juliet; and the third presentation of the work of Penumbra Theatre Company, bringing August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom to the Guthrie.

The Dowling Studio presentations will be announced at a later date.


Seven plays of the 2010-2011 season are available as part of the subscription series at the Guthrie Theater - The Master Butchers Singing Club, The Winter's Tale, Arsenic and Old Lace, and H.M.S. Pinafore on the Wurtele Thrust Stage and The 39 Steps, Arms and the Man and God of Carnage on the McGuire Proscenium Stage. New season subscriptions range in price from $56 to $532 and go on sale July 19. Single tickets for The Master Butchers Singing Club go on sale August 1, 2010. Single tickets for A Christmas Carol go on sale September 7. Single tickets for all other shows on the McGuire Proscenium and Wurtele Thrust stages go on sale August 15. Single ticket prices for these shows range from $24 to $69. Discounts are available for students, seniors and children.

Single tickets for productions in the Dowling Studio range from $18 to $34 and go on sale July 19.

For more information or to purchase tickets or season subscriptions, call the Guthrie Theater Box Office (612) 377-2224 or toll-free (877) 44 STAGE. Tickets can also be purchased online at



On the Wurtele Thrust Stage

September 11 - November 6, 2010

World Premiere

The Master Butchers Singing Club

by Marsha Norman

based upon the novel by Louise Erdrich

directed by Francesca Zambello
September 19, Opening Night

Bookended by the two World Wars, The Master Butchers Singing Club, a moving story of tradition, family, love and loss, follows the life of Fidelis Waldvogel and his family, as well as Delphine Watzka and her partner Cyprian, as they adjust in their separate lives in the small town of Argus, North Dakota. As Fidelis and Delphine's lives intertwine, the play chronicles ordinary small-town citizens as they encounter the extraordinary events - both in their insular world and in the larger world - that come to define their lives.

November 19 - December 30, 2010

World Premiere

A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

adapted by Crispin Whittell

directed by Joe Dowling
November 26, Opening Night

The Guthrie returns to this holiday favorite, in an all new production with a script by British playwright Crispin Whittell and directed for the first time by Joe Dowling.

January 29 - March 27, 2011

The Winter's Tale

by William Shakespeare

directed by Jonathan Munby
February 4, Opening Night

The Winter's Tale, with its improbable twists and turns, signals Shakespeare's mature and inspired creativity. This broadly appealing romance dazzles and delights with a lovely range of poetic and dramatic invention. As is often the case in Shakespeare's writings, this is a universe where time and space intermingle freely, as do rash impulses, hasty decisions, second thoughts and tardy recognitions of the truth. Jonathan Munby, whose credits include productions at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Donmar Warehouse and Washington D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre Company, makes his Guthrie directing debut.

April 9 - June 5, 2011

Arsenic and Old Lace

by Joseph Kesselring

directed by Joe Dowling
April 15, Opening Night

An American classic, Arsenic and Old Lace is nothing short of a perfectly written farcical black comedy. Spinster sisters Abby and Martha Brewster are devoted to charity and family. But the sisters have taken on another project as well - befriending lonely older gentlemen and then poisoning them with arsenic-laced elderberry wine. To mark the 70th anniversary of a play The New York Times called "so funny that none of us will ever forget it," the Guthrie presents this uproarious comedy for the first time since 1975.

June 18 - August 28, 2011

Gilbert and Sullivan's

H.M.S. Pinafore

directed by Joe Dowling
June 24, Opening Night

H.M.S. Pinafore, Gilbert and Sullivan's first major success, provides a farcical look at the mixing of social classes and the failure of idealistic socialism when put into practice. With a plot imbued with mirth and silliness, a surprise disclosure changes relationships dramatically near the end of the story. But fear not: it all works out in the end. Joe Dowling directs the Guthrie's first production of H.M.S. Pinafore following up on his wildly successful 2004 production of The Pirates of Penzance.


On the McGuire Proscenium Stage

September 29 - October 17, 2010

The Guthrie Theater's WorldStage Series presents

The Tricycle Theatre's production of

The Great Game: Afghanistan

by Richard Bean, Lee Blessing, David Edgar, David Greig, Amit Gupta, Ron Hutchinson, Stephen Jeffreys, Abi Morgan, Ben Ockrent, Simon Stephens, Colin Teevan and Joy Wilkinson

directed by Nicolas Kent and Indhu Rubasingham

This ambitious theatrical experience, recently nominated for a prestigious Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement, from London's Tricycle Theatre explores Afghan culture and history in an enthralling three-part event.

October 30 - December 19, 2010

The 39 Steps

adapted by Patrick Barlow

from the novel by John Buchan

from the movie of Alfred Hitchcock

licensed by ITV Global Entertainment Limited

and an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon

directed by Joel Sass
November 5, Opening Night

Combining spy thriller with farcical comedy and ingenious theatrical invention, The 39 Steps is an engaging, fast-paced whodunit that celebrates the magic of theater. Closely following the storyline of Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 film, the play demands the sort of inventive, creative staging Joel Sass is known for. Most remarkably, the play's more than 150 characters are brought to life by a cast of only four actors! With sly nods to the art and tricks of live theater, The 39 Steps is a hilarious theatrical experience.

January 8 - 30, 2011

The Acting Company

in association with the Guthrie Theater presents

Romeo and Juliet

by William Shakespeare

directed by Penny Metropulos


The Comedy of Errors

by William Shakespeare

directed by Ian Belknap

The Guthrie and The Acting Company reunite for the third year with The Comedy of Errors, a hilarious tale of multiple mistaken identities, and Romeo and Juliet, the story of star-crossed teenage love returning after an earlier run in 2010. Like past productions, the casts will be made up of a young company of actors, many of whom will come from two of the Guthrie's actor training programs: A Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training and the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program.

February 10 - March 6, 2011

Penumbra Theatre Company's

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

by August Wilson

directed by Lou Bellamy
February 11, Opening Night

It's 1927 and the fiery blues legend Gertrude "Ma" Rainey has a golden opportunity to lay down a hit record with her virtuoso band. Inside a cramped Chicago recording studio, the agony and rage bound up in the blues gets amplified when a young talent threatens to dethrone the queen.

March 19 - May 15, 2011

Arms and the Man

by George Bernard Shaw
March 25, Opening Night

In Shaw's lighthearted poke in the eye to idealizing love, war and patriotism, Arms and the Man contrasts the practical military knowledge of a Swiss mercenary - who knows that old soldiers carry food in their holsters and young ones pistols - with the romantic posturing of a Bulgarian soldier who becomes a hero by leading an improbably successful, and stupid, cavalry charge.

May 28 - August 7, 2011

God of Carnage

by Yasmina Reza

translated by Christopher Hampton

directed by John Miller-Stephany
June 3, Opening Night

God of Carnage is a self-proclaimed "comedy of manners ... without manners" in which the parents of two boys involved in a playground scuffle meet to discuss, logically and amiably, how to deal with the boys. As the evening goes on, the meeting degenerates into the four parents spiraling into irrational arguments, and their discussion falls into the loaded topics of misogyny, racial prejudice and homophobia. The insults they throw at each other are priceless. Loyalty becomes a disposable commodity as spouses turn on spouses and new alliances are formed and dissolved.

Photo Credit: Sally Wagner

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