Gavin Lawrence, Steve Hendrickson and More Set for ARE YOU NOW OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN at the Guthrie


The Guthrie Theater today announced complete casting for the presentation of Carlyle Brown & Company's Are You Now or Have You Ever Been…, a speculative drama about the clash between art and politics that celebrates the legacy of Langston Hughes and his history of literary activism in the face of oppressive power. This new and original piece will play from May 4 – 20, 2012 in the Dowling Studio. 

Written and conceived by Carlyle Brown and directed by Noël Raymond, Are You Now… features the talents ofGavin Lawrence (Langston Hughes), Steve Hendrickson (Senator Dirksen), John Middleton (Roy Cohn) and Peter Rachleff (Senator Joseph McCarthy). Carlyle Brown also appears in the play as Lawyer Frank Reeves. 

The year is 1953 in the Harlem apartment of African American writer Langston Hughes. Unable to sleep in light of the hearing he faces the next day, he gets up and begins to write a poem but finds his living space somehow inhabited by his readers. Exposed, guilt-ridden and fearful, he confesses how he intends to answer McCarthy's accusations that he is a communist-imploring his readers not to abandon him no matter what they might read or hear. His confession is intermittently interrupted by flashes of inspiration, seen in projected images of a word or line of his poem. As the poem continues to grow and take shape, it becomes a thing with a life of its own before the audience's eyes.

Langston Hughes was one of the great poets of the previous century, and the poems invoked in Are You Now… are among his most endurinG. Hughes wrote in the great tradition of literary activism, synonymous with the broad history of African American poetry and writing. 

The artistic team includes Joe Stanley (Set Designer), Clare Brauch (Costume Designer), Mike Wangen (Lighting Designer) and C. Andrew Mayer (Sound Designer).

Are You Now or Have You Ever Been will preview on May 4, open May 5 and continue through May 20, 2012, in the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie Theater. Single tickets start at $18 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, 612.225.6244 (Group Sales) and online at

Carlyle Brown & Company is a professional theater company formed in 2002 around a constellation of culturally and ethnically diverse artists dedicated to the development and performance of award-winning African American playwright Carlyle Brown's rigorous, extremely theatrical works occupying a wide range of aesthetic forms. CB&C seeks to enrich the field with innovations in dramatic form, rich storytelling and shaping ideas of race, culture and American identity into theatrical events in an atmosphere of collaborative co-creation. CB&C produces one to two live works of performance each year supported by enrichment events and activities designed to give audiences context and insights to the ideas that CB&C's works explore. 

The GUTHRIE THEATER (Joe Dowling, Director) was founded by Sir Tyrone Guthrie in 1963 and is an American center for theater performance, production, education and professional training. The Tony Award-winning Guthrie Theater is dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature, developing the work of contemporary playwrights and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. With annual attendance of nearly 500,000 people, the Guthrie Theater presents a mix of classic plays and contemporary work on its three stages. Under the artistic leadership of Joe Dowling since 1995, the Guthrie continues to set a national standard for excellence in theatrical production and performance. In 2006, the Guthrie opened its new home on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Guthrie Theater houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms and dramatic public lobbies.

Related Articles

Minneapolis THEATER Stories | Shows  Follow BWW Minneapolis

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...