Guthrie Theater Announces 2011-2012 Season

Guthrie Director Joe Dowling today announced 14 plays of the Theater's 2011-2012 season. The diversity of productions showcases the full potential of the three-theater complex, offering a balance of the classic and the modern, both in comedies and tragedies, as the Guthrie prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary in its Mississippi Riverfront building.

The 2011-2012 Guthrie subscription season includes 10 productions, beginning on the Wurtele Thrust Stage with William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (September 10 - November 5, 2011), directed by Dowling and starring 1991 Tony Award-nominated actress Dearbhla Molloy (Broadway: Dancing at Lughnasa), in her Guthrie debut, as Beatrice. Molloy, who is currently playing Eileen in the Druid/Atlantic Theater U.S. touring company of Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan, reunites with Dowling, having both started their careers together at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Featuring some of the greatest comic love scenes ever written, Much Ado About Nothing was last produced at the Guthrie in 1998. The McGuire Proscenium Stage opens with The Burial at Thebes (September 24 - November 6, 2011), by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney. Under the direction of Marcela Lorca (Guthrie: Caroline, or Change, The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde), with original music composed by J.D. Steele, the play is based on Sophocles' fifth century B.C. tragedy Antigone, recalling the crime and punishment of Oedipus' daughter, and the conflicts between individual freedom and the imposition of restrictions by the state.

Associate Artistic Director John Miller-Stephany (Guthrie: A Streetcar Named Desire, Jane Eyre, 1776) will direct BranDon Thomas' classic British farce Charley's Aunt (November 26, 2011 - January 15, 2012), produced for the first time at the Guthrie, on the proscenium. University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program graduate John Skelley (Guthrie: The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, The Importance of Being Earnest) will play Lord Fancourt Babberley, an Oxford undergraduate persuaded to impersonate the millionaire aunt of two college gents hoping to win their girlfriends' hands in marriage.

The Guthrie subscription season continues on the thrust in 2012 with Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (January 14 - February 26, 2012), last produced at the Guthrie in 1975 under the artistic leadership of Michael Langham. Set in the Mississippi Delta plantation home of wealthy cotton tycoon Big Daddy Pollitt, Williams' work tells the story of a Southern family in crisis, and a reunion that jogs memories and revelations for a father and son. The proscenium opens in 2012 with Peter Quilter's award-winning musical drama End of the Rainbow (January 28 - March 11, 2012), directed by Tony and Olivier Award-winning La Cage aux Folles director Terry Johnson. On the heels of her smash hit London run, Olivier Award-winning Tracie Bennett repeats her break-out performance as Minnesota's own Judy Garland, in this unforgettable glimpse into the weeks leading up to the iconic actress' final days. About to make her comeback, with her loyal pianist Anthony and a new young fiancé at her side, Garland's battles with a tornado of drugs and alcohol in this breathtaking production featuring some of her most memorable songs, including "The Man That Got Away," "Come Rain Or Come Shine," "The Trolley Song" and "Over The Rainbow."

Produced for the first time at the Guthrie, Noël Coward's hilarious high farce Hay Fever (March 10 - April 22, 2012) will play on the thrust stage. Acclaimed British director Christopher Luscombe (Shakespeare's Globe 2008 production and 2010 U.S. and U.K. tour of The Merry Wives of Windsor) makes his Guthrie debut, directing this 1920s comedy of manners about a family whose theatrical excesses torment a group of unsuspecting visitors. The 2010 Tony-nominated play Time Stands Still (April 7 - May 20, 2012), under the direction of Dowling, will take to the proscenium. Heralded by The New York Times as Donald Margulies' finest work since his Pulitzer Prize-winning Dinner With Friends, this play about changing relationships and developing social issues "crackles with bright wit and intelligence" when a photojournalist and a foreign correspondent are confronted with what happens when ordinary life is refracted through the lens of war.

The Guthrie will present the work of Penumbra Theatre Company for the fourth time, now as part of the subscription season, bringing James Baldwin's The Amen Corner (May 5 - June 17, 2012) to the thrust. Starring Caroline, or Change songstress Greta Oglesby, and featuring live gospel music by the renowned Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, this illuminating look at the power of love and the price of salvation will be directed by Penumbra's Artistic Director Lou Bellamy.

In the summer of 2012, the Guthrie will produce the American premiere of the musical Roman Holiday (June 9 - August 19, 2012), a stage adaptation of the legendary film with the songs of Cole Porter and a book by Paul Blake (Broadway: Irving Berlin's White Christmas). The proscenium production will be directed by John Miller-Stephany and feature many memorable musical numbers, including "Easy to Love," "Begin the Beguine" and "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye." The 2011-2012 season concludes on the thrust with Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys (July 7 - September 2, 2012), starring Guthrie favorites Raye Birk and Peter Michael Goetz. The popular pair, directed by Gary Gisselman (Guthrie: A Christmas Carol, Lost in Yonkers), will play crotchety retired vaudeville comedians persuaded to reunite after 11 years apart - despite the fact that they now hate each other. The New York Times called The Sunshine Boys "an evening that keeps you laughing and then leaves you surprisingly moved."

"The Guthrie is fulfilling its promise to our community," said Dowling, "deepening the variety of offerings, developing richer relationships with local artists, introducing the work of artists from around the globe, and fostering the theater's next generation."

Dowling also announced that the Theater will produce three plays in the Dowling Studio next season, including The Edge of Our Bodies (October 22 - November 20, 2011), the Guthrie's first-ever production of Obie Award-winning playwright Adam Rapp's work, directed by Guthrie Associate Director of Studio Programming Benjamin McGovern; a continuation of the partnership with The Acting Company with Julius Caesar (January 14 - February 5, 2012) directed by San Francisco's Cutting Ball Theater Artistic Director and co-founder Rob Melrose (Guthrie: Happy Days, Pen); and the 2009 stage adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's story The Birds (February 25 - April 8, 2012), written by Tony-nominated Irish playwright/director Conor McPherson (Shining City, The Weir, The Seafarer) and directed by Katharsis Theater Company Artistic Director Henry Wishcamper (Broadway: Assistant Director for August: Osage County and Shining City) in his Guthrie debut.

"The Dowling Studio continues to be a place embraced by young audiences, where they can discover new work and new faces," said Dowling. "I am enormously excited that we can bring the work of Adam Rapp and Conor McPherson to the Guthrie, while also continuing our partnership with Margot Harley and The Acting Company."

In addition to the 10 plays of the subscription season and three Studio Productions, Dowling also announced that he will again direct Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (November 19 - December 30, 2011), the perennial favorite that received a new adaptation by Crispin Whittell in 2010 and continues the Guthrie's holiday tradition for the 37th year.

The 2011-12 Dowling Studio presentations will be announced at a later date.

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.

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