Thursday, October 25, 2007

Guthrie Commissions Kushner

Guthrie Commissions Kushner

All in all, it's been a pretty good month for Minneapolis' Guthrie.

First, it played host to Sir Ian McKellen and sold-out crowds for the Royal Shakespeare Company's touring productions of King Lear and The Seagull in repertory -- one of just three North American venues.

Then it received major buzz from Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune for all it does to be a cultural destination beyond just theatre. (Hat tip to The Playgoer.)

Now, lest anyone think that Artistic Director Joe Dowling is some stodgy fool stuck in the past, he announced today that the theatre has commissioned Tony Kushner's new play, The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide To Capitalism And Socialism With A Key To The Scriptures, which will premiere within the Guthrie's gloriously red McGuire Proscenium Theatre in the spring of 2009.

“Tony is one of the great playwrights in the contemporary theater,” Dowling said. “His powerful dramatic voice has identified our times in a unique and dramatic way, so it is a thrill and honor for the Guthrie to premiere his latest piece.”

While still tentatively titled -- and it is a bit lengthy, isn't it?! -- the addition of Kushner to its repertoire demonstrates a very bold and forward-thinking Guthrie. It should further cement its place, and Minneapolis' (a city that boasts more theatre seats per capita than any other American city save New York), as a destination city for great theatre.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 25 October, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...very exciting. I think I will have to make my first ever visit to the Guthrie to see Kushner's new show. I read Chris Jones' article about the Guthrie and it truly sounds like an incredible place...


At 25 October, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...


As I've said elsewhere, I get to the new Guthrie very frequently and love the fact that it has become a destination along the long-neglected part of downtown Minneapolis along the Mississippi.

Not only has it produced some truly decent shows (including offering space to small third party theatrical companies in its experimental space) and hosted many Q&As with notable playwrights and actors (Neil Simon, Tom Stoppard, Ian McKellen, etc.), but it also is a great place to eat, drink and be merry. Plus, it has some of the single best views of the Mississippi.

They're getting a lot right.

At 26 October, 2007, Blogger Esther said...

I read the article, too, and the Guthrie does sound great. You could spend the whole day there, eating, shopping, taking a backstage tour, then seeing a show! The backstage tour sounds especially interesting. I love that kind of stuff.

It's amazing that Minneapolis has more theatre seats per capita than any other U.S. city outside New York. I would have guessed Chicago or Los Angeles.

And the new Tony Kushner play sounds interesting, too. Although the title is a bit long for a marquee.

My only previous exposure to Kushner's work has been the tv version of "Angels in America" on HBO. The matter of how you respond to a loved one's illness really struck a chord with me. (I also saw the movie "Munich," for which he cowrote the screenplay).


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