Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance to Star in His Girl Friday at Guthrie

News   Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance to Star in His Girl Friday at Guthrie
Married film stars Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance will star in the American premiere of His Girl Friday, John Guare's rewrite of The Front Page, at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, MN.
Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance
Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance Photo by Aubrey Reuben

"First rehearsal is May 31, and we open July 2," Bassett told columnist Harry Haun at the Broadway opening of Julius Caesar.

An adaptation of both Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's The Front Page and the Howard Hawks film "His Girl Friday," the Guare comedy will run July 2-31. Guthrie Artistic Director Joe Dowling will direct the production, which premiered at London's Royal National Theatre in 2003.

Bassett is known for such films as "What's Love Got to Do With It" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back." Theatre-wise, she played Lady Macbeth to Alec Baldwin's Macbeth at the Public Theater. She also acted in August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone.

Vance was in the original New York production of John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation and August Wilson's Fences. He received Tony nominations for both performances. This would mark his reunion with playwright Guare. His films include "The Preacher's Wife." He stars on TV's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

Alex Jennings and Zoë Wanamaker starred as, respectively, editor Walter Burns and his ex-wife and star reporter Hildy Johnson in the London premiere. Director Jack O'Brien set the action on a Hollywood sound stage, where a group of actors are enacting the newsroom drama. The battle of the sexes approach is taken from the 1940 Cary Grant Rosalind Russell movie. Hecht and MacArthur's original set up a love-hate relationship between ace male reporter Hildy Johnson, who is trying to leave the newspaper racket, and hard-boiled editor Walter Burns, who wants to keep him on the beat. The Howard Hawks film, looking for a romantic angle, made Hildy a woman and Burns' ex-wife, on the brink of marrying someone else. The "His Girl Friday" plot has since proved more popular with both audiences and interpreters.

Hecht and MacArthur both began their careers as reporters. The Front Page is still considered the best play ever written about the newspaper business.

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