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Simon Jones to Star in Guthrie's 'Shadowlands'; Complete Casting Annouced

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The Guthrie today announced casting for William Nicholson’s Shadowlands, directed by Joe Dowling. English actor Simon Jones (The Home Place, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”) returns to Minneapolis, playing C.S. Lewis alongside Guthrie favorite ChariTy Jones (Jane Eyre, A Christmas Carol), who will play his wife Joy Gresham Davidman. Shadowlands begins previews November 1, opening November 7 and continuing through December 21 on the McGuire Proscenium Stage. Single tickets are priced from $24 to $60, with opening night prices ranging from $54 to $70. Tickets are on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE and online at www.guthrietheater.org.
 
At the core of Shadowlands is a love story with undeniable staying power. World renowned writer and professor C.S. Lewis is unmarried and leads a gentleman’s life filled with intellectual pursuits. When he begins correspondence with Joy Gresham Davidman, who possesses a strange candor and familiarity with Lewis, he becomes captivated by her outspokenness and warmth and agrees to a meeting. An unlikely friendship develops between the two and – as a character in his stories – Lewis’s world is turned upside down as he experiences a love he’s never known before. But as their romance deepens, a terrible twist of fate reveals a tragic truth for Lewis: a heart awakened to great love is made vulnerable to great pain.
 
A celebrated scholar, Lewis discovers that for almost every person of religious conviction, the most harrowing test of faith comes with the suffering and death of a loved one. He comes to realize the difficulty in believing in a just and kind God who allows innocent people to suffer. Yet it is precisely at the most difficult moments that religious belief can be most comforting. Though part of Lewis plainly believed that human pain somehow reflected the Almighty’s benevolent hand, another part of him, the play argues, never could. His struggles with faith led him, as a younger man, to escape into writing the literature for which he is best remembered (including children’s fables such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), where, it is suggested, he devised a healing magic that he could not find in the everyday world.
 
Nicholson has told the story of Shadowlands in three mediums, originally writing it as a television movie for the BBC in 1986. He adapted it for the stage in 1989 (starring Nigel Hawthorne), and later as a feature-length film (starring Anthony Hopkins), which garnered him a 1993 Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
 
Simon Jones has previously portrayed C.S. Lewis in the 2004 PBS series “The Question of God: Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis,” and in two staged readings of works by Kenneth Cavander.
 
The cast for Shadowlands also includesJulian Bailey (Dr. Maurice Oakley / Clerk / Doctor / Waiter in Hotel), Jennifer Blagen (Nurse / Woman in Tea Room / Witness), Bob Davis (Christopher Riley), Tucker Garborg (Douglas), Jonas Goslow (Alan Gregg / Waiter in Tea Room / Registrar / Priest), Mykola Rieland (Douglas), James A. Stephens (Major W. H. Lewis) and Peter Thomson (Rev. “Harry” Harrington).
 
The artistic team includes Patrick Clark (Set Designer), Devon Painter (Costume Designer), Marcus Dilliard (Lighting Designer), Scott W. Edwards (Sound Designer), Adam Wernick (Music Consultant), Jo Holcomb (Dramaturgy), Elisa Carlson (Voice and Dialect Coach), Marcela Lorca (Movement), Chris A. Code (Stage Manager), Timothy Markus (Assistant Stage Manager) and Sarah Gioia (Assistant Director).
 
About the Guthrie
The Guthrie Theater, founded in 1963, is an American center for theater performance, production, education and professional training. The Guthrie is dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature, developing the work of contemporary playwrights and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. Led by Director Joe Dowling since 1995, the Guthrie opened their new three-theater home on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis in June 2006.
 
The Guthrie is located at 818 South 2nd Street (at Chicago Avenue), in downtown Minneapolis. To purchase tickets or season subscriptions call the Guthrie Box Office between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily at 612.377.2224 or toll-free 877.44.STAGE. For more information, or to purchase.

Photo Credit Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.


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