Garland Wright, former artistic director of MN's Guthrie Theatre, died of cancer, July 22, at age 52. As a tribute to the man Michael Kahn (of DC's Shakespeare Theatre) calls "one of the most brilliant directors of his generation," the Guthrie will hold a memorial service at 5 PM Aug. 31.
Only recently, the news came that Wright had to bow out of directing Edward II at the Shakespeare Theatre to begin their fall season. (That show will be replaced by Kahn directing A Woman of No Importance.) The Shakespeare Theatre opened this past season with Wright staging Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Wright served at the Guthrie from 1986-95 and became the longest tenured artistic director in that theatre's history. His work has been seen in regional, Broadway and Off-Broadway theatres as well as on television. The recipient of numerous Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, he received Obie Awards for his New York production of K: Impressions of Kafka's THE TRIAL and On the Verge.
Wright's last Broadway show was Christopher Durang's 1996 Sex and Longing at the Cort Theatre. He also recently directed Tartuffe at the Juilliard School of Drama, but he's probably best known for directing the long-running Off-Broadway comedy/drama, Vanities.
Said current Guthrie artistic director Joe Dowling, "Garland Wright's death has left an enormous vacuum in American Theatre and in the hearts of his many friends and admirer... His development of a permanent acting company, his directorial brilliance with both classical and modern plays, his absolute belief in the power of theatre to change young lives, all marked him out as a man of vision and inspiration." Contributions to the Garland Wright Fund to help young directors and actors may be sent to the Guthrie Theatre, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403.
-- By David Lefkowitz