Guthrie Theater Announces 2019-2020 Season - CABARET, SWEAT, and More!
The Guthrie Theater (Joseph Haj, artistic director) today announced the nine productions of its 2019-2020 subscription season: Tennessee Williams' classic family drama The Glass Menagerie; Shakespeare's rollicking comedy Twelfth Night; an adaptation of Emma based on the Jane Austen novel; and Kander and Ebb's musical Cabaret will grace the Guthrie's signature Wurtele Thrust Stage while the McGuire Proscenium Stage's lineup will include Robert Harling's female-driven comedy Steel Magnolias; the regional premiere of Noura, Heather Raffo's complex tale of identity; Anne Bogart's acclaimed production of Euripides' The Bacchae; Karen Zacar as' comedic telenovela Destiny of Desire; and Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat.
From her dingy St. Louis apartment, Amanda Wingfield dreams of her days as a Southern debutante while obsessing over the future of her aimless son Tom and unmarried daughter Laura. With their father absent and the Great Depression looming, the siblings find comfort in their foibles alcohol for Tom and a collection of glass animals for Laura which only heightens Amanda's anxiety. When a gentleman caller arrives for dinner, the Wingfields are flooded with hope. But it's unclear if his presence will change things for the better or shatter their fragile illusions.
A masterpiece of compassionate insight and distinctive theatrical vitality that is rich in bittersweet nostalgia, The Glass Menagerie offers a glimpse into the Wingfield family's struggle to hold its ground in 1939 St. Louis.
The season continues on the McGuire Proscenium Stage with the all-female Steel Magnolias (October 26 December 15, 2019), a tenderhearted favorite by Robert Harling.
Truvy's salon is Chinquapin, Louisiana's go-to place for a beauty fix with a hearty side of gossip. Along with her overeager assistant Annelle, Truvy pampers her small-town clients with blowouts, manicures and all kinds of unsolicited advice. Anybody who's anybody is a regular: There's the ringleader M'Lynn who dotes on her soon-to-be-married daughter Shelby, the moody Ouiser and the well-to-do widow Clairee. Through witty banter and wisecracks, this group of women form friendships as strong as steel, which they are forced to lean on when tragedy strikes.
Harling is a native of Natchitoches, Louisiana, and he based M'Lynn and Shelby on his own mother and sister, whose experience mirrors that of Shelby's in the play: a diabetic whose pregnancy taxed her health, and after receiving a kidney transplant from her mother, died two years after giving birth. Deeply impressed by how the community of women around her pulled together for support and wanting to give his nephew something to remember his mother by, Harling wrote Steel Magnolias as his debut play.
Next on the McGuire Proscenium Stage is the regional premiere of Noura (January 11 February 16, 2020) by Heather Raffo. A story of identity and belonging, Noura had its world premiere at Shakespeare Theatre Company in February 2018 and subsequently played at Playwrights Horizons.
It's Christmas Eve in New York City, and Noura a newly minted U.S. citizen is preparing to host an Iraqi meal and growing more homesick by the minute. Her husband and son have fully embraced their American names and identities, but Noura feels restless and displaced. Even so, she eagerly welcomes her dinner guests, who come bearing gifts and a big surprise that sends everyone spinning. Inspired by Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, this brilliant new play is a poignant exploration of motherhood, marriage and identity in modern America.
Playwright Heather Raffo, whose mother is American and father is Iraqi, often draws on her personal background in her work. Her acclaimed solo play 9 Parts of Desire (produced in the Guthrie's Dowling Studio during the 2007 2008 Season) delves into the lives of nine women eight Iraqi, one American as each struggles to attain her own definition of liberation. With Noura, Raffo investigates the complications of identity through the eyes of a woman who is wrestling with where she most belongs. The play developed out of a series of workshops she led, first with college students responding to Ibsen's A Doll's House and then with older immigrant women, many of whom were Arab-American and mothers. In Raffo's version of the tale, Noura explores many of the same issues as Nora Helmer, weighing cultural and societal expectations against her own personal needs and desires.
William Shakespeare's boisterous comedy Twelfth Night (February 8 March 22, 2020) is next on the Wurtele Thrust Stage.
When a shipwrecked Viola washes up on Illyria's shores without her twin brother, she must adapt to her strange new surroundings on her own. For safety, she disguises herself as a boy and quickly finds favor and employment with the lovesick Orsino, who pines for Olivia's devotion. After a series of mishaps and plenty of mayhem, their love triangle becomes so entangled it brings all of Illyria along for the ride. When at last the truth is revealed, the Bard's starry-eyed tale proves that the revelry of love is something worth fighting for.
Twelfth Night is often paired with its preceding comedy As You Like It when discussing the height of Shakespeare's comic powers. The plot spins around a young woman disguised as a man whose resulting mistaken identity creates much comic hay. When Viola dresses as Cesario, she and her twin brother Sebastian appear to be the same person, which brings unwanted or surprised suitors, a forced duel and hurt feelings while they remain oblivious to each other's presence in Illyria. Threading a needle of sisters mourning brothers while pursuing romance, Shakespeare creates a complex and comedic story of love and loss.
In Euripides' tale of hubris and tyranny, a disguised Dionysus descends on the city of Thebes to prove Zeus is his father and settle a score with his mortal adversary King Pentheus. His attempts to tear the people's loyalties away from the king cause a frenzy of emotion that lands Dionysus in prison. But Pentheus' misguided attempt to suppress the god's influence tests his leadership and threatens to bring his family to ruin. With striking visuals and bewitching beauty, Bogart gives this ancient tale a modern, razor-sharp edge.
SITI (Saratoga International Theater Institute) Company was founded in 1992 by Bogart and Tadashi Suzuki to train theater artists, create new work and encourage international collaboration. Siti Company's production of The Bacchae premiered at the Getty Villa in September 2018 before playing the Next Wave Festival at Brooklyn Academy Of Music the following month. The production reconceives the millennia-old tragedy for our contemporary age. As The New York Times described it, the adaptation makes the play's back-burnered anxieties about women and power feel very front-burnered and very now. Packed with arresting scenes, powerful emotion and choral songs of great power and beauty, The Bacchae is considered one of Euripides' greatest surviving works.
Next on the Wurtele Thrust Stage, the Guthrie presents an adaptation of the endearing literary classic Emma (April 11 - May 31, 2020) based on the novel by Jane Austen. The Guthrie produced an adaptation of Austen's Sense and Sensibility in 2016 and adaptations of Pride and Prejudice in 2003 and 2013.
Emma Woodhouse prides herself on being a mischievous matchmaker with an impeccable track record, much to the chagrin of her dear friend Mr. Knightley. Her latest scheme revolves around the sweet Harriet Smith, whom Emma advises to reject a perfectly good marriage proposal in favor of another eligible bachelor. But her best-laid plans are turned upside down by unpredictable displays of affection, the arrival of two charming new guests and Emma's sudden realization that the men she and Harriet truly love may have been under their noses all along.
Following Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815) would be the last novel Austen would live to see published. Many Jane-ites consider Emma to be Austen's masterwork, taking her writing to new heights in the creation of the witty Emma Woodhouse and developing her narrative style in such a way that the reader sees events through Emma's self-deluded point of view.
Karen Zacar as' switched-at-birth comedy Destiny of Desire (May 30 July 11, 2020), directed by Jos Luis Valenzuela, follows on the McGuire Proscenium Stage and is a co-production with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Milwaukee Repertory Theater. In 2017, the Guthrie produced Zacar as' Native Gardens, also on the proscenium.
On a blustery night in Bellarica, Mexico, two babies enter the world. The poor Hortencia welcomes a strong, healthy girl while the affluent Fabiola discovers her daughter has a weak heart a cross the beauty queen refuses to bear. So she devises a scheme to swap the newborns (cue dramatic sound effects). In true telenovela fashion, the daughters meet 18 years later and become fast friends. Through over-the-top musical numbers and plot twists galore, their long-buried past comes to light and upends everyone's lives in hilarious, melodramatic ways.
Zacar as calls Destiny of Desire an unapologetic telenovela and draws on many soap opera tropes to both celebrate and spoof the genre. The play is also unabashedly theatrical, using a number of devices to interrupt, elaborate on and comment on the play's events. The cast occasionally breaks into the play's narrative to tell the audience the title of a scene, reveal important facts, provide sound effects or burst into song, resulting in a frothy, zany melodrama.
The Guthrie rounds out its 2019-2020 Season on the Wurtele Thrust Stage with Kander and Ebb's Cabaret (June 20 August 23, 2020) directed by Artistic Director Joseph Haj. With a book by Joe Masteroff based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, this musical masterpiece marks its first time on the Guthrie stage.
Inside Berlin's seedy Kit Kat Klub, a flamboyant Master of Ceremonies invites patrons to partake in a decadent underworld of musical numbers, kick lines and torrid affairs a welcome escape from the ever-growing Nazi influence just outside its doors. As the political unrest nears a tipping point, the beautiful life the cabaret promises slowly begins to fade, putting love, friendship and loyalties to the test. This Tony Award-winning sensation, featuring hits such as Willkommen, Don't Tell Mama and Cabaret, is a daring and dazzling musical you won't want to miss.
Cabaret was the first collaboration between Kander and Ebb. Shepherded by producer/director Harold Prince, Cabaret became a critical and box office success and ran on Broadway for 1,165 performances in its original production. It won the 1967 Tony Award for best musical and a Grammy Award for best score from an original show cast album. The 1972 film adaptation directed by Bob Fosse won eight Academy Awards. Kander and Ebb would go on to have one of musical theater's longest and most storied partnerships. Among their best-known and beloved works are Zorba (1968), Chicago (1975) and Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993). They also wrote the song New York, New York for the film musical of the same name. Before Ebb's death in 2004, the duo's last collaboration was The Scottsboro Boys, which played at the Guthrie in 2010 before its Broadway premiere.
The 2019-2020 Season closes on the McGuire Proscenium Stage with Sweat (July 25 August 29, 2020), which won playwright Lynn Nottage her second Pulitzer Prize in 2017.
Reading, Pennsylvania, is a blue-collar town with generations of hardworking folk, many of whom work at Olstead's factory and down cold beers together after hours. But the economy is changing, NAFTA is a new reality and rumors fly about layoffs. Promotions and pride inevitably collide, forming cracks in decades-old friendships that crumble when the factory breaks with the union. From the politically charged opening scene to its electrifying conclusion, Sweat boldly confronts issues of race, immigration, globalization and the ever-slipping grip on middle-class life all with Nottage's signature humor and heart.
Sweat was co-commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arena Stage, making its world premiere at OSF in 2015. Subsequent productions include Arena Stage and The Public Theater in 2016, Broadway in 2017 and Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum and Donmar Warehouse in London in 2018. Nottage did extensive research with residents of Reading, Pennsylvania, before writing the play
In addition to the mainstage subscription season, the Guthrie will present its 45th annual production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (November 12 December 29, 2019), adapted by Crispin Whittell and directed by Lauren Keating. This Twin Cities holiday tradition is for families, friends and champions of good cheer.
A miserly and miserable man, Ebenezer Scrooge greets each Christmas with Bah! Humbug! until he is visited one Christmas Eve by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. Through a restless night, the spirits show him happy memories from his past, cruel realities from the present and a grim future should he continue his cantankerous ways. Charles Dickens' timeless tale continues to be a perennial favorite and holiday tradition that invites audiences of all ages to celebrate the merriment of the season with their family and loved ones.
Nine plays will be available as part of the 2019-2020 subscription series: The Glass Menagerie, Twelfth Night, Emma and Cabaret on the Wurtele Thrust Stage, and Steel Magnolias, Noura, The Bacchae, Destiny of Desire and Sweat on the McGuire Proscenium Stage.
New season subscriptions start at $90 and go on sale May 28, 2019. Single tickets for The Glass Menagerie and Steel Magnolias go on sale July 15, 2019. Single tickets for A Christmas Carol go on sale September 3, 2019. Single tickets for Noura, Twelfth Night, The Bacchae, Emma and Destiny of Desire go on sale November 4, 2019. Single tickets for Cabaret and Sweat go on sale February 17, 2020. Single ticket prices for all mainstage shows, excluding A Christmas Carol, range from $15 to $94. Tickets for A Christmas Carol range from $15 to $134. Discounts are available for students, seniors and children.
To purchase season subscriptions, call the Season Ticket Office at 612.225.6238 or 1.877.99.SEASN (toll-free) or visit guthrietheater.org.
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