Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Starring Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Begins Performances at Arena Stage Nov. 29

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29 Nov 2013

Bethany Anne Lind and Malcolm-Jamal Warner
Bethany Anne Lind and Malcolm-Jamal Warner
Photo by Tony Powell

Arena Stage's production of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, starring Malcolm-Jamal Warner, begins its limited engagement Nov. 29 on the Fichandler Stage. Performances will continue through Jan. 5, 2014.

Directed by David Esbjornson (Driving Miss Daisy, Red Hot Patriot), the cast features Warner ("The Cosby Show," "Malcolm and Eddie") in his Washington, DC, theatrical debut as Dr. John Prentice.

The cast also includes Lynda Gravátt (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Doubt) as Matilda Banks; Eugene Lee (Gem of the Ocean, every tongue confess) as John Prentice, Sr.; Valerie Leonard (An Ideal Husband, The Odd Couple) as Hilary St. George; and Michael Russotto (Legacy of Light, On the Jump) as Monsignor Ryan, along with Atlanta-based actors, who appeared in the True Colors production, Andrea Frye (Ruined, The Ladies' Man) as Mary Prentice (originally as Matilda Banks), Tom Key (Cotton Patch Gospel, Grapes of Wrath) as Matt Drayton, Tess Malis Kincaid (August: Osage County, Broke) as Christina Drayton and Bethany Anne Lind (Really, Really, 26 Miles) as Joanna Drayton.

Kenny Leon, who collaborated with playwright Todd Kreidler on the 2012 world-premiere production in Atlanta, was previously announced to direct for Arena Stage but withdrew from the project due to an unforeseen conflict.

"The play is adapted from William Rose's screenplay for the 1967 film of the same name starring Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy about a young white woman in the 1960s introducing her family to her charming, accomplished and African-American fiancé," press notes state.



"I am delighted to return to Arena Stage to present Todd Kreidler's exciting, new stage adaptation of what has become a classic American story," Esbjornson said in a previous statement. "It is a privilege to work with this exceptional group of artists who share in the hope that audiences will find the experience of this piece compelling, provocative and perhaps all too relevant."

"We are happy to have David Esbjornson back at Arena after his wonderful production of Red Hot Patriot last season," artistic director Molly Smith added. "He is a real man of the theater. David's work has been seen in major theaters across the country. He is an excellent director and will have strong insight into this American story about love, family, class and race."

The creative team for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner includes set designer Kat Conley, costume designer Paul Tazewell, lighting designer Allen Lee Hughes, sound designer Timothy M. Thompson, stage manager William E. Cruttenden III and assistant stage manager Michael D. Ward.

Tickets and more information are available by calling (202) 488-3300 or visiting arenastage.org.