Tonight, July 21, 5:30 PM, Minnesotans can hear the wit and wisdom of one of the theatre's great elders, Hume Cronyn. He'll be the honored guest speaker at the Guthrie Theatre's annual meeting, wherein new officers and board members of the theatre will also be annonced.
Cronyn is best known for acting in tandem with his late wife, Jessica Tandy, in such plays as The Gin Game, The Cherry Orchard and 1981's Foxfire. The pair were part of the Guthrie's inaugural 1963 season. Cronyn recently appeared in the film version of Scott McPherson's Marvin's Room. He won a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement (the first ever) in 1994 and was elected to the Theatre Hall Of Fame in 1979.
At the two hour event tonight, Cronyn will chat with new artistic director Joe Dowling about the Guthrie's history.
A Demon, a Spirit and a Playboy are all on tap for the Guthrie Theatre's 1997-98 season. Seven mainstage plays and one lab production comprise the Minneapolis theatre's July-May schedule, with You Can't Take It With You having begun July 11. Here's the 1997-98 Guthrie season schedule:
You Can't Take It With You (July 11-Aug. 17, opening July 16)
Douglas Wager, artistic director of Washington DC's Arena Stage, directs George S. Kaufman & Moss Hart's 1936 comedy about the Sycamore family's eccentricities.
Director Douglas C. Wager said in a statement, "My love affair with You Can't Take It With You began nearly 20 years ago. The play remains largely contemporary because of its generosity of humor and its honestly loving sense of humanity, for nothing human is alien to comedy."
Starring in the play is Robert Prosky (A Walk In The Woods and TV's "Hill Street Blues") as Grandpa Vanderhof. Other cast-members include Nathaniel Fuller, Nancy Gormley, Julie Briskman Hall, Emil Herrera, Richard S. Iglewski, Charles Janasz, Isabell Monk, Lee Mark Nelson, Michelle O'Neill, Marquetta Senters, Henry Strozier, Claudia Wilkens, Sally Wingert, Wendell Wright and Stephen Yoakam.
Designing You Can't Take It With You are Thomas Lynch (set), Patricia Zipprodt (costumes), Allen Lee Hughes (lighting) and Scott Edwards (sound).
Audiences can catch post-play discussions with the cast July 20, 22 and 26.
Blithe Spirit (in rep, Sept. 7-Nov. 2, opening Sept. 19)
Joe Dowling directs Noel Coward's "improbable farce" about a seance that brings back an author's first wife.
Racing Demon (in rep, Sept. 7-Oct. 30, opening Sept. 17)
Celebrated Off-Broadway director Mark Brokaw (How I Learned To Drive, As Bees In Honey Drown) directs David Hare's drama, which asks "How do you live with faith in a fallen world?"
The Playboy Of The Western World (Jan. 23-Feb. 21, 1998, opening Jan. 21) Into a broken-down pub wanders Christy Mahon, who claims he murdered his father with a turf blade -- and becomes a hero for it. Joe Dowling directs John Millingt 's classic.
Thunder Knocking On The Door (Feb. 27-March 28, opening March 4, 1998)
Marion McClinton directs Keith Glover's rhythm-n'-blues play, about a family transformed by a mysterious, musical stranger.
Much Ado About Nothing (April 3-May 10, opening April 15, 1998)
Dowling stages William Shakespeare's comedy about the war of wits between Beatrice and Benedick.
Also, running at the Lab (dates not yet announced), will be a world premiere by local playwright Syl Jones. The satire, Black No More, was commissioned by the Guthrie and is adapted from George Schuyler's 1931 novel (considered the first book-length novel written by a black American). Tazewell Thompson directs the comedy, which is co-produced with Washington DC's Arena Stage in association with Mixed Blood Theatre. The show runs March 14-April 19, opening March 20.
In other Guthrie news, the theatre has announced that their May 1997 show will be August Wilson's Fences, in a Penumbra Theatre production directed by Claude Purdy. This joint venture betwen Guthrie and Penumbra is (according to Dowling) "part of a long-term goal to work closely...to strengthen both organizations."
Tickets for Guthrie shows are $15-$36, while season subscriptions are $81-$192. The July 21 annual meeting is open to all Guthrie contributors. For information call (612) 377-2224.
--By David Lefkowitz