John McGinty, Stephen Schnetzer & More Star in TRIBES, Beginning Tonight at Guthrie Theatre

The Guthrie Theater begins its production of Nina Raine's Tribes tonight, October 5. Winner of the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and a 2010 Olivier Award nominee for Best Play, Tribes is a provocative, poignant family drama that illuminates the fascinating interplay of sound and communication, perception and true understanding. Wendy Goldberg (Guthrie: Dollhouse) directs this regional premiere that begins performances on the McGuire Proscenium Stage tonight.

Billy is a young man born deaf and raised in an opinionated and intellectually raucous family that talks constantly. Not only have his parents and siblings never learned sign language, neither has Billy, who has had to adapt to the hearing world. Then he meets Sylvia, a young woman from a Deaf family who introduces him to sign language. Billy feels a confidence and sense of belonging he's not known before and finally understands what it means to be understood.

On writing the play Nina Raine offers, "I first had the idea of writing Tribes when I watched a documentary about a deaf couple. The woman was pregnant. They wanted their baby to be deaf. I was struck by the thought that this was actually what many people feel, deaf or otherwise. Parents take great pleasure in witnessing the qualities they have managed to pass on to their children. Not only a set of genes. A set of values, beliefs. Even a particular language. The family is a tribe: an infighting tribe but intensely loyal."

Tribes features the Guthrie debuts of John McGinty and Stephen Schnetzer. McGinty, who is himself deaf, will appear in the role of the central character Billy. His previous work includes roles in theater (Pippin at the Mark Taper Forum/DeafWest, Handicapped People In Their Formal Attire at Premiere Stages, Robin Hood: Thieves of Hearts at Cleveland Sign Stage), in film (Closed Caption, Conned, Love Signs) and on television ("I Killed My BFF" and "Law and Order: Criminal Intent"). Schnetzer, known best for his roles on the daytime television series "Days of Our Lives," "One Life to Live" and "Another World," will play Christopher-the family patriarch. Schnetzer's theater credits include The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?on Broadway and The Quality of Life, Legacy of Light and Noises Off at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

The production also features Hugh Kennedy (Guthrie: Pride and Prejudice, A Christmas Carol, the Pillsbury House Theatre production of Buzzer, University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA Actor Training Program) as Daniel-Billy's brother and the eldest of three siblings; Tracey Maloney (Guthrie: A Christmas Carol, God of Carnage) as Sylvia-a young woman from a Deaf family who is now losing her hearing; Anna Reichert (Guthrie: A Christmas Carol; University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA Actor Training Program) as Ruth-Billy's older sister; and Sally Wingert (Guthrie: Pride and Prejudice, Other Desert Cities) as Beth-the family matriarch.

The artistic team includes Alexander Dodge (Set Designer), Anne Kennedy (Costume Designer), Josh Epstein (Lighting Designer), Leah Gelpe (Sound and Projection Designer),Lucinda Holshue (Voice and Dialect), Carla Steen (Dramaturg), Chris A. Code (Stage Manager) and Meaghan Rosenberg (Assistant Stage Manager).

Tribes begins preview performances tonight, October 5, opens October 11 and continues through November 10 in the McGuire Proscenium at the Guthrie Theater. Single tickets start at $29and 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

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...