Guthrie Plans Musical Roman Holiday and Broadway-Bound Garland Play End of the Rainbow

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19 Apr 2011

Tracie Bennett
Tracie Bennett
Photo by Nobby Clarke

Tracie Bennett's acclaimed London turn as Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow will make its U.S. debut in January 2012 as part of the new season of the Guthrie Theater. It will then move to Broadway. The 2011-12 slate was announced by artistic director Joe Dowling on April 18.

The season at the three-theatre complex in Minneapolis will feature 14 titles, with 10 of those on subscription. A new musical based on the Audey Hepburn-Gregory Peck film "Roman Holiday" (and borrowing songs from the Cole Porter catalog) is part of the lineup.

Peter Quilter's award-winning musical drama End of the Rainbow, directed by Tony and Olivier Award-winning La Cage aux Folles director Terry Johnson, will run Jan. 28-March 11, 2012. Details about a Broadway engagement will be announced later.

Olivier Award winner Bennett "repeats her breakout performance as Minnesota's own Judy Garland, in this unforgettable glimpse into the weeks leading up to the iconic actress' final days," according to the Guthrie. In it, she's about "to make her comeback, with her loyal pianist Anthony and a new young fiancé at her side, Garland's battles with a tornado of drugs and alcohol in this breathtaking production featuring some of her most memorable songs." Expect "The Man That Got Away," "Come Rain Or Come Shine," "The Trolley Song" and "Over the Rainbow."

In the summer of 2012, the Guthrie will produce the American premiere of the musical Roman Holiday, June 9-Aug. 19, 2012. Paul Blake (St. Louis Muny and Broadway's White Christmas) penned the libretto. John Miller-Stephany will direct. The score will include "Easy to Love," "Let's Misbehave," "Begin the Beguine" and "Night and Day."



Here' the Guthrie season at a glance:

On the Wurtele Thrust Stage

Sept. 10-Nov. 5, 2011
Much Ado About Nothing
by William Shakespeare
directed by Joe Dowling

"One of Shakespeare's great comedies, Much Ado About Nothing revolves around two pairs of lovers, with the obstacles to the union of one playing in stark contrast to the love-hate relationship of the other. Complete with themes of infidelity and deception, not to mention the ever-present Shakespearean clowns, this inevitable and entertaining journey to true love delivers the ultimate happy ending."

Nov. 19-Dec. 30, 2011
A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Crispin Whittell
Directed by Joe Dowling

"The Guthrie's perennial holiday favorite, which received a new adaptation by Crispin Whittell in 2010, continues the Theater's holiday tradition for the 37th year, telling the story of an old miser who learns real compassion when three ghosts visit him on Christmas Eve."

Jan. 14-Feb. 26, 2012
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
By Tennessee Williams

"Set on a single summer evening in the Mississippi Delta plantation home of wealthy cotton tycoon Big Daddy Pollitt, Williams' popular work tells the story of a Southern family in crisis, and a reunion that jogs memories and revelations for a father and son."

March 10-April 22, 2012
Hay Fever
By Noël Coward
Directed by Christopher Luscombe

"Produced for the first time at the Guthrie, Noël Coward's hilarious high farce epitomizes the sophisticated wit of the era between the two world wars. This comedy of manners about a family whose theatrical excesses torment a group of unsuspecting visitors is considered by many to be the cleverly constructed, wittily written, slightly cynical and undeniably entertaining evening that helped establish the playwright's place in the theatrical canon."

May 5-June 17, 2012
The Guthrie Theater presents A Penumbra Theatre Company production of
The Amen Corner
By James Baldwin
Directed by Lou Bellamy

"Sister Margaret Alexander (Greta Oglesby), pastor of her church, has devoted her life to serving the Lord, but when her son unexpectedly reunites her with her estranged husband, she finds herself torn. Featuring live gospel music by the renowned Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, The Amen Corner illuminates the power of love and the price of salvation."

July 7-Sept. 2, 2012
The Sunshine Boys
By Neil Simon
Directed by Gary Gisselman

"Guthrie favorites Raye Birk and Peter Michael Goetz play a pair of crotchety retired vaudeville comedians persuaded to reunite after 11 years apart, despite the fact they now hate each other."

On the McGuire Proscenium Stage

Sept. 24-Nov. 6, 2011
The Burial at Thebes
By Seamus Heaney
Based upon Sophocles' Antigone
Directed by Marcela Lorca
With original music by J.D. Steele

"Seamus Heaney's adaptation of Sophocles' Antigone offers modern touches to revive this ancient tale of love and self-sacrifice. As with the original, The Burial at Thebes focuses on the never resolved conflict between a person's individual rights and the demands of the state. The timeless struggle for honor is called into question in the face of challenging authority: to whom does loyalty belong — to one's family and cultural practices or to the law decreed by the state?"

Nov. 26, 2011-Jan. 15, 2012
Charley's Aunt
By Brandon Thomas
Directed by John Miller-Stephany

"Widely regarded as one of the finest farces of all times, complete with misunderstandings, mistaken identities and madcap frolics, Charley's Aunt follows an Oxford undergraduate persuaded to impersonate the millionaire aunt of two college gents hoping to win their girlfriends' hands in marriage."

Jan. 28-March 11, 2012
American Premiere
End of the Rainbow
By Peter Quilter
Directed by Terry Johnson

"End of the Rainbow combines humor and heartbreak to capture both the drama of Judy Garland's final performances and her controversial life offstage. Set in London in 1968, Peter Quilter's touching play features some of Garland's most memorable songs."

April 7-May 20, 2012
Time Stands Still
By Donald Margulies
Directed by Joe Dowling

"Time Stands Still follows Sarah and James, a photojournalist and a foreign correspondent trying to find happiness in a world that seems to have gone crazy. Theirs is a partnership based on telling the toughest stories, and together, making a difference. But when their own story takes a sudden turn, the adventurous couple confronts the prospect of a more conventional life, and everything changes — in a flash."

June 9-Aug. 19, 2012
American Premiere
Roman Holiday
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Paul Blake
Based on the Paramount Pictures Motion Picture
Directed by John Miller-Stephany

"More than 50 years after the making of the Gregory Peck-Audrey Hepburn romantic comedy Roman Holiday, the story returns — this time to the stage — in a musical based on the film. The much beloved story is enhanced with a full scoring of many of the songs of Cole Porter, including 'Easy to Love,' 'Let's Misbehave,' 'Begin the Beguine' and 'Night and Day.'"

In the Dowling Studio

Oct. 2-Nov. 20, 2011
The Edge of Our Bodies
By Adam Rapp
Directed by Benjamin McGovern

"Novelist and playwright Adam Rapp's new play takes a 16-year-old girl with big news for her boyfriend to the brink of adulthood over the course of one night in New York City. Told by a single actor and developed for the Humana Festival, this marks the first-ever production of Adam Rapp's work at the Guthrie."

Jan. 14-Feb. 5, 2012
The Acting Company in association with The Guthrie Theater presents
Julius Caesar
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Rob Melrose

"One of several Roman plays that Shakespeare wrote, including Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra, this tragedy, based on true events from Roman history, portrays the 44 B.C. conspiracy against the Roman dictator, his assassination and the defeat of the conspirators at the Battle of Philippi."

Feb. 25-April 8, 2012
American Premiere
The Birds
By Conor McPherson
From the short story by Daphne du Maurier
Directed by Henry Wishcamper

"In an isolated, abandoned house, strangers Nat and Diane take refuge from the unnerving masses of birds that attack everyone around them. They find relative sanctuary but not comfort or peace: there's no electricity, little food and the birds always return. And they worry about a nearby neighbor, who may or may not still be alive and watching them. Soon another refugee, young attractive Julia, arrives with some news of the outside world, but her presence also brings discord. The uncertain survival of the three becomes even more doubtful when paranoia creeps into their little refuge, adding an internal threat to match the external threat of the birds."

For more information or to purchase tickets or season subscriptions, visit www.guthrietheater.org.