The Guthrie Lines Up Classic Favorites and Bold New Works for 2018/19 Season
The Guthrie Theater (Joseph Haj, Artistic Director) today announced seven of the eight productions to be offered as part of the theater's 2018-2019 subscription season, including Playing with Fire by Barbara Field based upon the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Metamorphoses, written and directed by Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman, and the renowned musical comedy Guys and Dolls on the Wurtele Thrust Stage, and Michael Frayn's Noises Off, The Great Leap by rising playwright Lauren Yee, Cyrano de Bergerac, adapted and directed by Joseph Haj, and the world premiere of Floyd's, a Guthrie commission by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, on the McGuire Proscenium Stage.
The eighth production-a Shakespeare play-will be announced later this spring. New season subscriptions start at $90 and go on sale May 21, 2018 through the Season Ticket Office at 612.225.6238 or 1.877.997.3276 (toll-free) and at guthrietheater.org.
"It thrills me immensely to announce these productions today," said Haj. "The Guthrie is devoted to both classic and contemporary plays, and next season will be an exciting combination of time-honored favorites and brilliant new work. In 2018-2019, it is my hope that we'll continue to see ourselves as well as our neighbors in the work we present, ask meaningful questions of each other, broaden our perspectives and expand our tastes - all while being thoroughly entertained."
The 2018-2019 Guthrie subscription season begins on the Wurtele Thrust Stage with Playing with Fire (September 15 - October 27, 2018). Adapted by Minnesota playwright Barbara Field from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (celebrating its 200th anniversary this year), Playing with Fire imagines a meeting between a dying Victor Frankenstein and his Creation in the frozen tundra of the Arctic Circle. As Frankenstein prepares to right his greatest wrong by finally confronting the Creature, scenes from their past are replayed and the line between good and evil is debated, revealing a powerful and agonizing question. Playing with Fire is a poignant thriller and an interrogation of the ethical limits of science and the human imagination.
Originally commissioned by the Guthrie, Playing with Fire toured widely in 1988 throughout the United States, receiving unanimous critical acclaim. The Star Tribune wrote, "Playing with Firemanages to be both intellectually stimulating and thoroughly engrossing." City Pages said, "It works almost like poetry-each layer of comprehension uncovers another layer of questions," and Minnesota Public Radio reported, "Field has written a morality play that speaks to some of the most basic concerns of our time."
The season continues on the McGuire Proscenium Stage with the outrageously funny backstage farce Noises Off by Michael Frayn (October 27 - December 16, 2018), to be produced for the first time at the Guthrie. In this rip-roaring classic, the audience is treated to a hilarious behind-the-scenes peek at an acting troupe rehearsing and performing the farce Nothing On. Despite nerves, dropped lines and technical difficulties they make it through rehearsal and open the show. Time goes by and things deteriorate until pandemonium ensues and axe-wielding co-stars, drunken cast members and misplaced sardines take center stage during a disaster of a performance, threatening to jinx the old saying: "The show must go on."
The New York Times has called Noises Off "a spectacularly funny, peerless backstage farce." Frayn's comedy won the 1982 Olivier Award, the 1982 London Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy and was nominated for the 1984 Tony Award for Best Play.
Next on the McGuire Proscenium will be The Great Leap (January 12 - February 10, 2019), a tender, quick-witted drama by award-winning rising playwright Lauren Yee. When an American basketball team travels to Beijing for an exhibition game in 1989, the drama goes deeper than the strain between countries. For two men with a past and one teen with a future, the game is a chance to stake their moment in history and claim personal victories off the court. Tensions rise right up to the final buzzer as history collides with the action in the stadium. Rapid-fire comedy meets poignant reflection in this perceptive new play inspired by the life of Yee's father.
The Chicago Tribune said, "Yee's honesty, her ability to poke fun at herself and those for whom she cares, her frankness, the freshness of her voice about a world that so often does not get a place at the theatrical table ... It's indicative of how important a voice Yee will surely be."
The Great Leap was commissioned by Denver Center where its world premiere production is playing now through March 11, 2018. The play will receive its New York premiere at Atlantic Theater Company this spring.
The Guthrie is lauded for its Shakespeare productions and from February 9 - March 17, 2019, the Wurtele Thrust Stage will be home to yet another scintillating play by the Bard. The announcement of the Shakespeare offering will be made later this spring.
Next on the McGuire Proscenium Stage, the Guthrie will present Cyrano de Bergerac (March 16 - May 5, 2019), a swashbuckling romantic adventure adapted and directed by Guthrie Artistic Director Joseph Haj. The Guthrie has produced Cyrano de Bergerac previously, in 1971 and in 1985, and a musical adaptation, Cyrano: A New Musical, was presented in 1972. While Haj has directed several times for the theater, this marks his first script to be produced by the Guthrie and his first time directing on the McGuire Proscenium Stage.
Cyrano de Bergerac is the full package: he's a poet, playwright and consummate swordsman. The only thing standing in the way of declaring his love for Roxane is his grotesquely large nose. When Roxane confides that she's fallen for a handsome young cadet named Christian, Cyrano takes him under his wing, adds brains to his beauty, and through Christian expresses his own feelings to Roxane without her suspecting a thing. With wit, wordplay and rousing passion, Cyrano de Bergerac is a heroic comedy for the ages.
Next on the Wurtele Thrust Stage, the Guthrie will present Metamorphoses (April 13 - May 19, 2019), based on the myths of Ovid, written and directed by Mary Zimmerman. In what's considered her signature theatrical piece, once hailed as "the theater event of the year" (Time), the Tony Award-winning director and playwright juxtaposes the ancient and the contemporary in a visually stunning theatricalization of Roman poet Ovid's powerful masterwork, Metamorphoses. Performed in and around a large pool of water, a ravishing effect, an ensemble of actors embodies figures from Greek mythology to share both well-known and rarely told stories of transformation.
The Guthrie welcomes the return of Zimmerman, a Chicago-based artist, professor and MacArthur Fellowship "genius grant" recipient. She previously worked at the Guthrie as writer, adaptor and director of The White Snake, an audience favorite, in the fall of 2014.
Metamorphoses was nominated for the 2002 Tony Award for Best Play, and won Zimmerman the award for Best Direction. Time raved, "Writer-director Mary Zimmerman's lovely, deeply affecting work ... recaptures the primal allure of the theater. It shows that theater can provide not just escape but sometimes a glimpse of the divine." The Wall Street Journal wrote, "Funny one moment, achingly sorrowful the next, Metamorphoses somehow manages both to lift you out of the moment you're living in and speak to it with piercing directness."
Continuing on the Wurtele Thrust Stage will be the crowd-pleasing summer musical, Guys and Dolls (June 22 - August 25, 2019), A Musical Fable of Broadway, based on a story and characters of Damon Runyon, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. This musical comedy was presented at the Guthrie Theater in 1983 under the direction of Garland Wright, prior to his appointment as artistic director.
New York City's infamous gambler Nathan Detroit has set his sights on the biggest craps game of his career while Adelaide, his fiance?e of 14 years, longs for a wedding. Master gambler Sky Masterson woos upright missionary Sarah Brown despite the obvious problems inherent in their relationship. Gambling in luck and love from Times Square to Havana, this classic musical boasts colorful characters and a brassy score, featuring "Luck Be a Lady," "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" and "Adelaide's Lament."
Guys and Dolls ran for 1,200 performances when it opened on Broadway in 1950. It received nearly unanimous positive reviews from critics and won numerous awards including the 1951 Tony Award for Best Musical.
The theater rounds out its season on the McGuire Proscenium Stage with the world premiere of Lynn Nottage's Floyd's (July 27 - August 25, 2019), directed by Kate Whoriskey. Floyd's was commissioned by the Guthrie and has been in development at the theater for several years, receiving its most recent workshop and reading in December 2017. Floyd's shares a location (Reading, Pennsylvania) and one character from Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat, which premiered on Broadway in 2017 under Whoriskey's direction.
A diner named after its tough-as-nails owner, Floyd's is more than a rest stop for truckers. It's the first step for its ex-con employees and their last hope for survival. A motley crew of line cooks forms under Zen Master Montrellous to learn the secret art of creating the perfect sandwich, a metaphor for how to rebuild their lives.
Nottage won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2009 for Ruined and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2017 for Sweat - making her the only woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice. Her play Intimate Apparel was produced on the Guthrie stage in the fall of 2005.
In addition to the mainstage subscription season, the Guthrie will present the 44th annual production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (November 13 - December 29, 2018), adapted by Crispin Whittell and directed by Lauren Keating.
The Guthrie's Level Nine Series, which continues to gain popularity, will be announced this spring. As part of the series, all general admission tickets are priced at just $9, and every performance includes an audience engagement component. The Level Nine Series is sponsored by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Guthrie Theater's 2018-2019 Season sponsors include Bell Bank, The Shubert Foundation and Target.
Eight plays will be available as part of the 2018-2019 subscription series: Playing with Fire, TBA- Shakespeare, Metamorphoses and Guys and Dolls on the Wurtele Thrust Stage, and Noises Off, The Great Leap, Cyrano de Bergerac and Floyd's on the McGuire Proscenium Stage.
New season subscriptions start at $90 and go on sale May 21, 2018. Single tickets for Playing with Fire and Noises Off go on sale July 16, 2018. Single tickets for A Christmas Carol go on sale September 4, 2018. Single tickets for The Great Leap, TBA - Shakespeare play, Cyrano de Bergerac and Metamorphoses go on sale November 5, 2018. Single tickets for Guys and Dollsand Floyd's go on sale February 18, 2019. Single ticket prices for all mainstage shows, excluding A Christmas Carol, range from $15 to $93; A Christmas Carol ranges from $15 - $137. Discounts are available for students, seniors and children.
For more information or to purchase tickets or season subscriptions, call the Season Ticket Office at 612.225.6238 or 1.877.997.3276 or visit guthrietheater.org.
Photo Credit: Lynn Nottage by Jennifer Broski