McKellen, Nunn, Bly's Peer Gynt and Hatcher's Take on Gogol Will Play Guthrie | Playbill

News McKellen, Nunn, Bly's Peer Gynt and Hatcher's Take on Gogol Will Play Guthrie
Guthrie Theater artistic director Joe Dowling announced the plays of the Minneapolis troupe's 2007-2008 season.

The three Guthrie stages — Wurtele Thrust Stage, the McGuire Proscenium Stage, the Dowling Studio — will offer 18 full productions of classic work, contemporary plays and world premieres, as well as a host of readings and workshops of works-in-progress.

As a special event in October 2007, the Guthrie's WorldStage Series presents the Royal Shakespeare Company in a repertory engagement of Shakespeare's King Lear and Chekhov's The Seagull, both directed by Trevor Nunn and featuring Sir Ian McKellen.

The world premiere of a new translation of Ibsen's Peer Gynt, by famed American poet Robert Bly, will open on the Wurtele Thrust Stage in January 2008.

Dowling will direct the world premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher's new adaptation of The Government Inspector, the classic comedy by Nikolai Gogol.

"Following the success of our first season in this building, we are now poised to take full advantage of the unlimited possibilities of the new Guthrie," Joe Dowling said in a statement. "We are producing plays on all three of our stages year-round and the Guthrie will be a constant hub of creativity, discovery and artistry. There will be very few dark days at the Guthrie this season." The work of the late Wendy Wasserstein will be seen at the Guthrie for the first time, with a staging of her last major work, Third.

The Guthrie will also produce an Alan Stanford adaptation of Jane Eyre.

Eight plays of the 2007-2008 season are available as part of subscription series at the Guthrie Theater – Jane Eyre, Peer Gynt, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Government Inspector on the Wurtele Thrust Stage and Private Lives, Dancing at Lughnasa, Third and The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde on the McGuire Proscenium Stage.

The Dowling Studio season will include Guthrie productions of Happy Days by Samuel Beckett, 9 Parts of Desire by Heather Raffo and After a Hundred Years by Naomi Iizuka. The Guthrie will also present the work of Frank Theatre, the Playwrights' Center, Emigrant Theater and Flying Foot Forum.

For more information or to purchase tickets or season subscriptions, call the Guthrie Theater box office at (612) 377-2224 or toll-free (877) 44 STAGE.

Tickets can also be purchased online at



On the Wurtele Thrust Stage

  • Sept. 8-Nov. 10, 2007: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, adapted for the stage by Alan Stanford, directed by John Miller-Stephany. "Charlotte Brontë’s beloved tale of romance and suspense receives a new adaptation by Alan Stanford, whose adaptation of Pride and Prejudice earned rave reviews by subscribers and critics alike. Jane Eyre accepts a position as a governess to a ward at Thornfield Manor and wins the love of her employer Edward Rochester, a kind, yet mysterious man. But soon, Jane's love, strength and determination are tested as Rochester's long-kept secrets are unveiled."
  • Oct. 5-14, 2007: The Royal Shakespeare Company productions of King Lear by William Shakespeare in repertory with The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, directed by Trevor Nunn. "Sir Ian McKellen heads the cast of the Royal Shakespeare Company in King Lear and The Seagull. Following a U.K. run, the company will embark on an international tour, visiting only three U.S. cities — New York, Los Angeles and Minneapolis."
  • Nov. 20-Dec. 30, 2007: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Barbara Field, directed by Gary Gisselman. "This perennial family holiday entertainment, inspired by Charles Dickens’ immortal tale, returns for another year."
  • Jan. 12-March 2, 2008: Peer Gynt, translated and adapted by Robert Bly from the original by Henrik Ibsen, directed by Tim Carroll. "He is arrogant, manipulative and dishonest, and yet we can't take our eyes off him. He is Peer Gynt. A timeless and rarely-produced masterpiece, with a newly-commissioned translation by prolific poet and Minnesota native Robert Bly. Bold, raucous and satirically funny, this charming fantasy play captures the misadventures of the charismatic Peer Gynt on a journey to find his place in the world."
  • April 12-June 22, 2008: A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare, directed by Joe Dowling. "After more than a decade since its critically acclaimed run on Vineland Place, Joe Dowling's landmark production of Shakespeare's beloved comedy makes a triumphant debut in the Guthrie's new home on the river. Weaving three stories of love, magic and perception in a moonlit forest on a midsummer night, Shakespeare's fantastical play remains an audience favorite across generations."
  • July 5-Aug. 24, 2008: The Government Inspector, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the original by Nikolai Gogol, directed by Joe Dowling. "When the locals in a small town in Russia learn that an undercover government inspector is coming for a surprise visit, an unfortunate case of mistaken identity sends the town spiraling into a world of panic and greed. Witty, smart and satirical, The Government Inspector exposes the corruption of a provincial town with biting hilarity. Famed playwright and screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher gives us this world premiere in a timely and spirited new adaptation." On the McGuire Proscenium Stage

  • July 21-Sept. 2, 2007: Private Lives, by Noël Coward, directed by Peter Rothstein. "Noël Coward’s most celebrated comedy sets two newlyweds — who are former lovers — on adjoining terraces during their respective honeymoons in the resort town of Deauville, France. New love is no match for the fireworks of their past relationship as verbal sparring and comedic dexterity begin to flash and spark. Coward is at his best in this brilliant examination of what is public and what is private and what is past and what is present."
  • Sept. 22-Nov. 25, 2007: Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel, directed by Joe Dowling. "Brian Friel's Tony Award-winning play recalls the story of five unmarried sisters, one with a young son, in a small village in Ireland in 1936. Told through the son's memory, Dancing at Lughnasa gloriously captures the spirit and strength of a family struggling to make ends meet, but celebrating life nonetheless, through their shared love of dance."
  • Feb. 16-March 30, 2008: Third by Wendy Wasserstein, directed by Casey Stangl. "Pulitzer and Tony award-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein's final play crackles with the wit, intelligence and wryness that made her one the most prominent women playwrights of the last 20 years. In Third, Wasserstein tells the story of college professor Laurie Jameson, whose seemingly well-ordered life as a wife, mother and daughter is thrown into disarray when she accuses a student of plagiarism. While challenging the student she is forced to question her own beliefs, standards and relationships with her family."
  • May 31-July 13, 2008: The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde by Thomas Kilroy, directed by Marcela Lorca. "Playwright Oscar Wilde holds a place in literature as an important voice that was prominent, prolific and controversial. With The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde, Irish playwright Thomas Kilroy exposes the private life between Oscar and his wife Constance. Set in a magical world that shifts in time, place and perspective, this revealing play brings to light the wife few knew existed, bringing humanity to a woman searching for honor, truth and the peace that closure brings." In the Dowling Studio

  • Sept. 20-Oct. 14, 2007: Frank Theatre's production of The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh, directed by Wendy Knox. "Veering from the macabre to the hysterical, this viciously funny and disturbingly gruesome thriller centers on a writer in a totalitarian state who is brought in for questioning when the plot lines of his stories bear an uncanny similarity to real-life crimes that have been committed in the community. Intertwining family secrets with the irrepressible power of storytelling and imagination, Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman takes on some of today's most potent issues — from censorship and the power of the state, to freedom of speech and the rights of the individual."
  • Oct. 19, 2007: Playwrights' Center & Guthrie Theater reading of Vengeance Can Wait by Yukiko Motoya, translated by Kyoko Yoshida and Andy Bragen. "This project is the American reciprocation of a groundbreaking playwright exchange program with the Tokyo International Festival, where American writers' works were translated and presented as staged readings to Japanese audiences in 2006 and 2007. In this edgy comedy, Hidenori hasn't laughed for years, and nothing that his childhood friend Nanase says can make him. They live together like brother and sister, bound by the memory of a family tragedy and an intense desire for revenge that threatens both of their lives. Vengeance Can Wait is an exploration of watching — and being watched – by one of Japan's most intriguing new literary voices."
  • Nov. 3-25, 2007: Happy Days by Samuel Beckett, directed by Rob Melrose. "Winnie is buried halfway up her body in a hill of dirt, and yet she persists with a cheerful outlook on life — part memories, part reverie of her feelings, part reflection on the big themes of life, like change, mortality, relationship and identity. In Act II, she's buried up to her neck, but her eyes and mind are sufficient for her happy days. Her companion Willie exists on the edge of her life, but doesn't say too much. There's a gun, of course, and a mirror. What's it all mean is a question that comes up in the course of the play, but Beckett leaves us to answer that."
  • Jan. 17-27, 2008: Emigrant Theater's production of Blue Door by Tanya Barfield, directed by Jessica Finney. "An African American math professor struggles with his most challenging equation. Left alone by his wife after refusing to join the Million Man March, Lewis watches as the ghosts of his ancestors shatter the silence of his insomnia. He is drawn into a spiral of history, a crisis of identity and culture and an exploration of what it means to be black, then and now."
  • February 2008: Warm Beer, Cold Women produced and directed by Robert Berdahl. "Warm Beer, Cold Women is a theatrical retrospective look at the song writing of that bard of the bums, Tom Waits. Warm Beer, Cold Women assembles some of the Twin Cities' finest musicians (led by Dan Chouinard) for a twisted evening of orphaned songs and bruised music. From the rickety pump organ melodies to raucous bullhorn anthems there is something for everyone."
  • March 1-23, 2008: 9 Parts of Desire by Heather Raffo, directed by Joel Sass. "In this examination of Iraqi female identity in this time of war, one actress plays nine characters, including a doctor who confronts an epidemic of cancer, an artist, a child, an American with relatives in Baghdad, a wife and mother, a political exile in London and an old woman selling anything she can on the street corner. This is a portrait of life during the Iraq war — not through the rhetoric of politicians or the hyperbole of the press — but through the ground level reality of nine female Iraqis. In a series of monologues, they discuss the terrible difficulties of their lives — both physically and psychologically — and yet we see the spirit of courage and hope that help these women face the pain and tragedy of their lives."
  • May 8-17, 2008: Flying Foot Forum production of A New Work (title TBA) created by Joe Chvala, Karla Grotting, Mary Ellen Childs, Peter O'Gorman. "Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum present a foot-stomping, heart-stopping spectacle. Stirring up a whacky percussive dance theatre brew inspired by vaudeville, tap dance, cabaret, opera, hambone, clowning and other popular and percussive art forms, director/choreographer Joe Chvala fuses and reconfigures these time-honored theatrical traditions into an artful and poignant hybrid evening comedy and percussive dance."
  • June 7-29, 2008: After a Hundred Years by Naomi Iizuka, directed by Lisa Portes. "An American journalist arrives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He has been granted a rare, career-making interview with a Khmer Rouge general accused of war crimes on the eve of his trial in front of a UN tribunal. The Khmer Rouge general is determined to defend his actions and rehabilitate his historical legacy. As the journalist grapples with the lies and truths of his interview subject, he becomes enmeshed in the life of an American woman he meets in Phnom Penh. She is unhappily married to a prominent American doctor who has devoted his life to working in the Third World, but at the cost of betraying the ethical vows of his profession. In the shadows of these events moves a mysterious woman with surprising information about everyone's lives. As the characters' quests for truth intersect, they are drawn deeper into Cambodia's history and their own complicity in crimes past and present. Set in the present, this haunting drama examines the legacy of guilt while seeking possibilities of forgiveness and redemption."
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