The Guthrie Theater’s 2001 production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? will star noted theatre, film and television star Patrick Stewart (George) and Tony and Academy Award-winning actress Mercedes Ruehl (Martha) as well as Bill McCallum (Nick) and Carrie Preston (Honey).
Tickets go on sale Dec. 11, 2000. Preview performances begin Feb. 23 with an opening date of March 2. Woolf runs through April 1 at the Guthrie, which is located in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Albee’s savage portrait of a marriage centers on the hostile games played by the leading couple, Stewart (George) and Ruehl (Martha). The full spectrum of the couple’s destructive relationship is explored—beginning with an “initial amiable ‘social’ visit” which devolves into a “ghastly, alcohol-fueled domestic battleground” over the course of a single evening.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, received its Broadway premiere on October 13, 1961, at New York’s Billy Rose Theater. Directed by Alan Schneider, that Tony and Drama Critics Circle-winning production starred Arthur Hill and Uta Hagen as the embattled George and Martha. George Grizzard and Melinda Dillon played the younger couple who find themselves directly or indirectly involved in the elder couple’s cruel games.
Production notes cite the historic controversy over Albee’s failure to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama because of “the objections of one Pulitzer trustee over the play’s sexual content.” Former Pulitzer drama advisors John Gassner and John Mason Brown issued public resignations over the issue. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf will be directed by David Esbjornson, who also directed Patrick Stewart in last season’s Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s The Ride Down Mt. Morgan.
Tickets range from $16 -$42. The Guthrie Theatre is located at 725 Vineland Place in Minneapolis. For tickets and information call the box office at (612) 377-2224 or in Greater Minnesota call toll free at (877) 44 -STAGE. Tickets may be purchased online at www.guthrietheater.org
Patrick Stewart’s most recent stage appearance was in the Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s Ride Down Mt. Morgan . His New York stage credits include Prospero in George C. Wolfe's production of The Tempest, both at the Delacorte Theatre and then on Broadway, as well as Peter Brook's legendary production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He performed his acclaimed one-man show A Christmas Carol to Broadway audiences in 1991, 1992 and 1994, earning him a Drama Desk Award, and, in London at the Old Vic Theatre, an Olivier Award.
Mercedes Ruehl won a Tony Award for her performance in Lost In Yonkers. Before that, she was seen on stage in Other People's Money, for which she received the Clarence Derwent Award. She appeared both on and Off-Broadway in Herb Gardner'sI'm Not Rappaport.
Edward Albee is the author of The Zoo Story, The Death of Bessie Smith, The Sandbox, Tiny Alice, A Delicate Balance, Seascape, Three Tall Women, The Lorca Play and Fragments. Albee’s most recent work, The Play About the Baby, will have its premiere in New York in mid January 2001. David Esbjornson will direct. Also in production is a revival of Albee’s Tiny Alice at New York’s Second Stage Theater, playing through December 24, 2000.
—By Murdoch McBride