Zambello Directs 'Little House' New Musical at Guthrie

The Guthrie will debut a new musical, Little House on the Prairie, based on the beloved "Little House" books by writer Laura Ingalls Wilder. Francesca Zambello, an internationally recognized director of opera and theater, will direct the world premiere, slated for summer 2008 on the McGuire Proscenium Stage.

Laura Ingalls Wilder's classic "Little House" book series tells fictionalized tales of her years growing up on the Midwestern frontier in the 1870s and 1880s when the Ingalls family lived in Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota and South Dakota.

Little House on the Prairie, with lyrics by Donna DiNovelli, music by Rachel Portman and book by Rachel Sheinkin, has been in development and the Guthrie relationship provides the artistic resources to bring the production to the stage. Lyricist DiNovelli's work has been seen at the Public Theater's New Work Now! Festival, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Ford Amphitheater in Los Angeles and Joe's Pub in New York. Portman is best known for her film scores, having received an Academy Award for her score of Emma and Academy Award nominations for both The Cider House Rules and Chocolat. Sheinkin is the Tony Award-winning book writer of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

The artistic team for Little House on the Prairie also includes set designer Adrianne Lobel, costume designer Martin Pakledinaz, choreographer Michelle Lynch and music director/supervisor Kristen Blodgette. Little House on the Prairie is being produced at the Guthrie by special arrangement with Global Prairie Productions, Inc.

Francesca Zambello (Director) has staged productions at major theaters and opera houses around the world.  For her works, she has been awarded three Olivier Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, French Grand Prix des Critiques, Japanese Golden Prize, Helpmann Award, Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and Russian Federation's medal for Service to Culture.

Zambello is currently directing Disney's The Little Mermaid on Broadway, which began previews on November 3. Recent theater projects include Showboat in London, a new musical based on Rebecca for the Raimund Theater in Vienna, West Side Story for the floating stage in Bregenz, Porgy and Bess for the Kennedy Center, Lady in the Dark for the Royal National Theater and Street Scene in Berlin. Her film credits include War and Peace for ORF, Amahl and The Little Prince by Rachel Portman, both for the BBC. Recent opera projects include The Ring for Washington National and San Francisco Operas; the world premiere of An American Tragedy, Cyrano du Bergerac with Placido Domingo and The Trojans for the Metropolitan Opera.  She takes a special interest in producing theater and opera for wider audiences. A native New Yorker, who grew up in Europe, she attended Moscow University and Colgate University. She makes her home in NYC and London.

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 10AM and 8PM daily at 612.377.2224 or toll-free 877.44.STAGE. For more information, or to purchase tickets online, visit

Photo: Francesca Zambello

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