M Butterfly, 'Earnest', 'Streetcar' & Faith Healer Among Guthrie Theater 2009-10 Season Offerings

Guthrie Director Joe Dowling today announced the 21 plays of the Theater's 2009-2010 season, a blend of classics, fresh takes on timeless themes and exciting presentations - including renewed and continuing partnerships and the return of the Guthrie's prestigious WorldStage program. Ranging from uproarious comedies to a modern retelling of Ibsen's feminist classic to stories centered on Chinese opera and American jazz, the 2009-2010 season showcases Shakespeare, celebrated Irish playwrights and new American voices.

Dowling also announced lead casting for three productions. Randy Reyes will star as Song Liling in David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly on the Wurtele Thrust Stage while Dowling himself will star as Frank Hardy in Brian Friel's Faith Healer on the McGuire Proscenium Stage. Dowling is one of the leading interpreters of Friel's plays, having worked with the famed Irish playwright since 1977. Dowling has introduced Guthrie audiences to many of Friel's plays, including the U.S. premiere of The Home Place in 2007. For this production, Dowling will be joined onstage by Guthrie veterans Sally Wingert as Hardy's wife Grace and Raye Birk as his manager Teddy. Tina Fabrique, who has earned raves for her portrayal of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, will reprise her role in the Guthrie's production of Ella.

The nine-play subscription season includes Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Shakespeare's Macbeth, Hwang's M. Butterfly and Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer, all on the Wurtele Thrust Stage; Ella, about The Life and music of Ella Fitzgerald, Friel's Faith Healer, Rebecca Gilman's Dollhouse and Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire on the McGuire Proscenium Stage. As part of the subscription series, the Guthrie will also offer a WorldStage presentation on the McGuire - Noël Coward's Brief Encounter, adapted for the stage by Emma Rice. Using the unforgettable 1946 film by Noël Coward and director David Lean as a starting point, Kneehigh Theatre, based in Cornwall, England, has given a fresh vitality to the movie classic through an inventive staging that blends theater and film. Brief Encounter was a smash hit in London, where critics called it "as exciting and innovative a production as you'll find anywhere in London - a true theatrical experience" and hailed it as "brilliantly done and superbly acted" and "a first class return to romance."

Brief Encounter is one of two presentations under the Guthrie's WorldStage program, which will also include a broadcast of The National Theatre of London's highly anticipated production of Racine's Phèdre, starring Helen Mirren. The National's stage performance of Phèdre will be filmed live in high definition in June and the Guthrie will present the film for two performances only in the McGuire Proscenium.

Dowling also announced the continuation of two partnerships. Having enjoyed a rich history of co-presenting some of the most vital and innovative theater-makers of our time (the Wooster Group, Theatre de Complicite, Robert Lepage, Anne Bogart, dumb type, Spalding Gray), the Guthrie and the Walker team up again, the first time in more than five years, to welcome Ireland's acclaimed Druid Theater (DruidSynge) production of Irish playwright Enda Walsh's The Walworth Farce, which Variety called a "complex, dark, and emotionally rich master stroke of meta-theatricality." The Walworth Farce will be presented at the Walker Art Center. The Guthrie will partner with The Acting Company for the second consecutive year to co-produce Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which will play in the McGuire Proscenium in 2010 prior to a national tour. The co-production of Henry V, presented in the Dowling Studio this past January and currently on tour, was lauded by The New York Times as a production with "magnetic focus."

The Dowling Studio again hosts of some of the Twin Cities' best theater companies, including returning companies Mu Performing Arts and Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater. Among the newcomers to the Studio this season are Interact Performing Arts, The Producing House and John Ferguson.

"I am enormously proud of the ambitious season we announce today," Dowling said. "The work on our stages this season is designed to entertain, enlighten and uplift our audiences. In difficult times, it's vital that the Guthrie remains a resource for the people of this region and we are truly proud to fulfill the promise we made to this community and bring work of national significance to our stages."

 

TICKET INFORMATION

For more information or to purchase tickets or season subscriptions, call the Guthrie Theater Box Office (612) 377-2224 or toll-free (877) 44 STAGE. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.guthrietheater.org.

Nine plays of the 2009-2010 season are available as part of the subscription series at the Guthrie Theater - The Importance of Being Earnest, Macbeth, M. Butterfly and She Stoops to Conquer on the Wurtele Thrust Stage and Ella, Faith Healer, Brief Encounter, Dollhouse and A Streetcar Named Desire on the McGuire Proscenium Stage. New season subscriptions range in price from $56 to $532 and go on sale May 22, 2008. Single tickets for Ella go on sale June 14, 2009. Single tickets for all other shows on the McGuire Proscenium and Wurtele Thrust stages go on sale July 19, 2009. Single ticket prices for these shows range from $24 to $65, with a limited number of premium tickets available for opening night performances. Single tickets for A Christmas Carol go on sale September 8, 2009, and range from $29 to $70. Discounts are available for students, seniors and children.

Single tickets for productions in the Dowling Studio range from $18 to $34 and go on sale July 19, 2009.

For more information or to purchase tickets or season subscriptions, call the Guthrie Theater Box Office (612) 377-2224 or toll-free (877) 44 STAGE. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.guthrietheater.org.

 

GUTHRIE THEATER 2009-2010 SEASON - PLAY DESCRIPTIONS

On the Wurtele Thrust Stage

September 12 - November 8, 2009
The Importance of Being Earnest
by Oscar Wilde
directed by Joe Dowling
September 17, Opening Night
One of the most perfect comedies ever written, The Importance of Being Earnest revolves around carefree dandies Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff. Each creates an imaginary character in order to visit their loves: Jack with Gwendolen, daughter of the formidable Lady Bracknell, and Algernon with Jack's ward Cecily. Oscar Wilde's masterpiece continues to entertain and delight with its keen depiction of Victorian conventional manners and its satirical yet playful treatment of upper-class notions of propriety.

November 19 - December 31, 2009
A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
adapted by Barbara Field
directed by Gary Gisselman
November 21, Opening Night
This perennial family holiday entertainment, inspired by Charles Dickens' immortal tale, celebrates its 35th consecutive year at the Guthrie. The endearingly popular favorite will be directed again by Gary Gisselman.

January 30 - April 3, 2010
Macbeth
by William Shakespeare
directed by Joe Dowling
February 5, Opening Night
A brave soldier and nobleman, Macbeth's ambition is unleashed after an encounter with three witches who prophesy his path to greatness. Laden with contemporary resonances, Macbeth's quest for glory exposes the politics of power and the corruption power breeds. With action that moves at the rapid pace of a thriller as the mystery of Macbeth unfolds, this tragedy reveals Shakespeare at his storytelling best.

April 17 - June 6, 2010
M. Butterfly
by David Henry Hwang
directed by Peter Rothstein
April 23, Opening Night
French diplomat Rene Gallimard is dazzled by "the perfect woman," Song Liling (played by Randy Reyes) a performer in the Peking opera. He seeks to ensnare Song, to gain absolute power over her. But he find far more than the submissive leading lady he wanted. This Tony Award-winning play is a tour de force that traces lines of race, gender and power through love and deception. An evocative and beautiful blend of theatrical styles and voices, M. Butterfly marks the first staging of Hwang's work at the Guthrie.

July 3 - August 22, 2010
She Stoops to Conquer
by Oliver Goldsmith
directed by Joe Dowling
July 9, Opening Night
Handsome, well-mannered and wealthy, Mr. Marlow appears to be a perfect husband for Kate Hardcastle. Alas, he is shy around upper-class women (while, of course, completely the opposite around lower-class women). Kate soon realizes that she must "stoop to conquer" to woo him. Peppered with vivid characters and filled with music and songs, She Stoops to Conquer's mistaken identities and rich humor promise to be a summer extravaganza.


On the McGuire Proscenium Stage

July 8 & 9, 2009
A filmed presentation of The National Theatre of Great Britain's production of
Phèdre
by Jean Racine
in a version by Ted Hughes
directed by Nicholas Hytner
Consumed by an uncontrollable passion for her young stepson and believing Theseus, her absent husband, to be dead, Phèdre confesses her darkest desires and enters the world of nightmare. When Theseus returns alive and well, Phèdre, fearing exposure, accuses her stepson of rape. The result is carnage. Helen Mirren takes the title role in this savage play by Jean Racine, translated into muscular free verse by the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. The cast also includes Dominic Cooper and Margaret Tyzack.

July 21 - September 6, 2009
Ella
book by Jeffrey Hatcher
conceived by Rob Ruggiero and Dyke Garrison
musical direction & arrangements by Danny Holgate
directed by Rob Ruggiero
July 24, Opening Night
Ella explodes onto the stage in a torrent of jazzy passion, weaving together the music and life of vocal legend Ella Fitzgerald. Her story is told in the fashion most suitable to such an artist: through the passion of her own music. Ella herself dominates, accompanied by the boys in the band who provide the beat for indelible hits as well as step in to provide voices from her past. Tina Fabrique makes her Guthrie debut as Ella, in a portrayal Variety called "a must-see performance!"

October 17 - December 6, 2009
Faith Healer
by Brian Friel
directed by Joe Dowling
associate director Benjamin McGovern
October 23, Opening Night
An extraordinary modern masterpiece, Faith Healer is an immensely personal and powerful play about faith healer Frank Hardy, his wife Grace and talent manager Teddy. Haunted by shared memories, they present multiple facets to the story and of themselves through four monologues: how they impact one another, how they become entangled together and are broken by a final, fatal event. Guthrie Director Joe Dowling and frequent interpreter of Friel's work takes to the stage to portray Frank Hardy, with Sally Wingert as Grace and Raye Birk as Teddy.

January 9 - 31, 2010
The Acting Company / Guthrie Theater
production of
Romeo and Juliet
by William Shakespeare
directed by James Kerr
January 13, Opening Night
Perhaps one of Shakespeare's most widely-known works, Romeo and Juliet recounts the tragedy of star-crossed teenage love ensnared in a family feud. Bounding between soaring romanticism and battles of wit, festive celebrations and bloody duels to the death, the play runs on high energy throughout, as impulsive and emotional as its hot-blooded characters. The Guthrie and The Acting Company co-produced Henry V during the 2008-09 season, and like that production, Romeo and Juliet will be made up of a young company of actors, many of whom will come from two of the Guthrie's actor training programs: A Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training and the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program.

February 11 - April 3, 2010
Guthrie's WorldStage program presents
Kneehigh Theatre's production of
Noel Coward's
Brief Encounter
directed by Emma Rice
February 12, Opening Night
During weekly encounters in a train station, Laura and Alec discover a mutual and irresistible passion, but their romance is destined to end prematurely as both are married. From the 1946 Noël Coward film that tells this story, Kneehigh Theatre of Cornwall, England, gives a fresh vitality to the movie classic through an inventive staging that blends theater and film. The result is a delightfully engaging blend of film, stage, music and beguiling romance - just in time for Valentine's Day. A smash hit in London, Brief Encounter was hailed by critics as "brilliantly done and superbly acted" and "a first class return to romance."

May 22 - July 11, 2010
Dollhouse
by Rebecca Gilman
directed by Wendy C. Goldberg
May 28, Opening Night
Wife and mother Nora seems to have it all: a successful husband, three adorable children and a beautiful condo in Lincoln Park, Chicago. But what looks like the perfect life is woefully incomplete, propped up by dark secrets and bitter betrayals. From Henrik Ibsen's groundbreaking masterpiece A Doll's House, playwright Rebecca Gilman crafts a clever and insightful update that brings its timeless issues into our century with a sharp eye for social satire and moments of deliciously dark comedy coupled with taut and powerful human drama.

August 14 - October 3, 2010
A Streetcar Named Desire
by Tennessee Williams
directed by John Miller-Stephany
August 20, Opening Night
The tragic unraveling of Blanche DuBois plays out within a lily-laced atmosphere of heated passion and pulsing sweat in this classic American play by Tennessee Williams. Settling in with her sister Stella and Stella's husband Stanley, Blanche crafts an image that masks her distasteful secrets. Refusing to bend to his sister-in-law, Stanley soon discovers that there is more to this self-styled Southern belle than she would like or is able to tell. Through its tumult of fantasies, reality and impassioned speeches, A Streetcar Named Desire paints a fascinating tragedy of a woman who struggles boldly against a harsh world, and creates a night of truly compelling, intensely emotional theater.

In the Dowling Studio
July 20, 2009
A Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training
Now in its 13th year, A Guthrie Experience presents the 2009 company of actors from advanced training programs around the country in a thrilling theatrical showcase.

September 17 - October 4, 2009
Super Monkey
An ensemble-created dramatic-comedy led and directed by Jon Ferguson
A world premiere production created by award-winning theater artist Jon Ferguson and an ensemble of some of the leading physical performers in the Twin Cities, Super Monkey is a universal story of poisonous status obsession, miscommunication, fear of the unknown and basic evolution that barrels out of control. Highly visual, physical and comic with a sharp and dark edge, this modern farce explores the idea of personal and structural facade and the ever-present potential descent into chaos.

October 8 - 18, 2009
Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater
A World Premiere of a New Work
Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater (SPDT) will return to the Guthrie to present the world premiere of a new work. Inspired by the poetry of Leonard Cohen and the music of Antony and The Johnsons, this new SPDT work follows on the heels of the company's critically-acclaimed The Ends of Love which premiered in the Dowling Studio during the Guthrie's inaugural season. Since its inception, SPDT has toured throughout the U.S. and abroad garnering a reputation for its interdisciplinary art making.

October 22 - November 8, 2009
Interact Theater
Northern Lights/Southern Cross: Tales from the Other Side of the World
An international collaboration with Tutti Ensemble of Adelaide, Australia
written by Kevin Kling
directed by Jeanne Calvit
music by Pat Rix
Northern Lights/Southern Cross reaches across cultures and across the hemispheres to tell the epic story of an ordinary man. Kevin Kling is a regular Minnesota guy, until his motorcycle hits the asphalt and his injured brain wakes him up on the other side of the world. Kling's journey home is rooted in cultural mythology, storytelling, ritual dance and music, the humor of the tricksters and the healing sense of place. With an extraordinary musical score by Australian composer Pat Rix, Northern Lights/Southern Cross features Aboriginal artist Steve Goldsmith's didgeridoo, Native American drumming and singing by Lac Courte Oreilles ceremonial leader Alvin Baker, Native American dancers, and members of RoBert Robertson's Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir.

January 13 -24, 2010
Singled Out: A Festival of Emerging Artists
curated by Benjamin McGovern
A two-week festival of performance from local companies and artists presenting the best work of the Twin Cities small theater scene. These short works will be culled from the Minnesota Fringe Festival, church basements, cabaret theaters, abandoned warehouses or wherever the best work is found. This is a chance for people who are interested in what is bubbling up to see young companies at work.

February 4 - 21, 2010
Mu Performing Arts
Yellow Face
by David Henry Hwang
directed by Rick Shiomi
In classic David Hwang fashion, Yellow Face is a head-spinning comedy that delivers poignancy with a punch. Through his alter ego, DHH, the play takes us from the pinnacle of his Tony Award with M. Butterfly downward through the Miss Saigon controversy and a landscape of missteps, broken relationships and political investigations. In his play that was a 2008 Pulitzer Prize finalist, Hwang turns his own travails into humorous insights and warns us that good intentions do not necessarily make the world go round.

March 30 - April 3, 2010
The Producing House
Coward's Women
A musical review featuring some of Noël Coward's best-known songs as well as some of his lesser known works, sung by Twin Cities performers Erin Schwab and Maude Hixson with a four piece combo, Coward's Women takes a look at some of Coward's defining relationships with women throughout his life and career. Using excerpts from his private letters, his autobiography and personal journal as well as pieces from Blithe Spirit, Private Lives and Star Quality interwoven in an evening of song we get a brief glimpse at this complicated and brilliant man of the theater and just a few of the women who influenced him along the way.

April 5 - 19, 2010
University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater
BFA Senior Showcase
These performances showcase the graduating class of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program.


At the Walker Art Center
October 21 - 25, 2009
The Guthrie Theater and the Walker Art Center Present
Druid's The Walworth Farce
by Enda Walsh
directed by Mikel Murfi
It's 11 o'clock in the morning in a council flat on the Walworth Road in London. In two hours' time, as is normal, three Irish men will have consumed six cans of Harp, 15 crackers with spreadable cheese, 10 pink biscuit wafers and one oven-cooked chicken with a strange blue sauce. In two hours' time, as is normal, five people will have been killed. This remarkable play by Enda Walsh combines hilarious moments with shocking realism as it delivers an achingly tender insight into what happens when we become stuck in the stories we tell ourselves about our lives.

 

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