MANKATO — For decades a group called Friends of the Guthrie have chartered buses to various Guthrie Theater productions, and this year is no different.
With the announcement of the upcoming season of shows has come the planning for this year’s Friends season, to include four productions that the group of more than 60 will attend, said coordinator Joan Christensen.
The Friends are mostly retired Mankato-area folks, and what has kept the group going strong all these years is two-fold: a love of theater and “nobody wants to drive up there,” Christensen said.
That’s also the motivation behind a partnership formed a couple of years ago between the Guthrie and Jefferson Lines, a sister company of Land to Air. Jason Mekalson at Land to Air said there are buses going up to the Cities for events routinely, and buses can be chartered by groups of pretty much any size to drop a group off at the Guthrie’s front door and to pick them up afterward.
Guthrie staff said a number of outstate visitors — including many from Mankato — make the trip up year-round, and they were hoping to give them and others a transportation option that doesn’t involve battling rush hour traffic or Minnesota’s inclement weather conditions.
The upcoming season certainly has Christensen and Co. excited to board the next bus. But they still have one show left in the current season, which Christensen is very much looking forward to in August: “Pride and Prejudice.”
Based on the novel by Jane Austen, the classic love story adapted for the stage by Simon Reade is being staged at the Guthrie now through Aug. 31 in honor of the book’s 200th anniversary.
“Pride and Prejudice” tells the story of the five Bennet daughters who are in need of suitable husbands. The sisters’ interests are piqued with the arrival of the wealthy Mr. Bingley and his friend, Mr. Darcy. And the tension begins to mount between the temperamental Elizabeth Bennet and the arrogant Mr. Darcy, who is played by Vincent Kartheiser.
Kartheiser is best known as Pete Campbell on AMC’s period drama “Mad Men.”
Here’s a look at other upcoming shows in the 2013-14 Guthrie Theater season (with playbill descriptions):
“Moon Show 143”
Sept. 14-18 in Dowling Studio
Inspired by cultural moon myths and beliefs from around the world, “Moon Show 143” is a theatrical duet combining live and recorded sound, puppets, and movement.
Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya”
Sept. 14-Oct. 27, on the Wurtele Thrust Stage
Joe Dowling directs a brand new, stripped-down version of Chekhov’s 1899 classic. Vanya and his niece Sonya work their small country estate, living frugally and keeping their emotions tightly reined in. The return of Vanya’s brother-in-law with his beautiful second wife Elena unlocks hidden passions as the entire family is thrown into turmoil.
“How to be a Korean Woman”
Sept. 19-22 in Dowling Studio
“How to Be a Korean Woman” is a hilarious and poignant one-woman show about an adoptee’s reunion with her birth family.
Oct. 5-Nov. 10 on the McGuire Proscenium Stage
Billy is a young man born deaf and raised in a loud, opinionated family that talks constantly. Not only have his parents and siblings never bothered to learn sign language, neither has Billy, who has had to adapt to the hearing world. Then he meets Sylvia, a young woman from a deaf family who introduces him to sign language.
“Skiing on Broken Glass”
Oct. 29-Nov. 17 in Dowling Studio
“Skiing on Broken Glass” depicts the story of a lonely writer and a mysterious young male escort who find themselves in an unlikely relationship.
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”
Nov. 14-Dec. 29 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage
The perennial favorite that received a new adaptation by Crispin Whittell in 2010 continues the Guthrie’s holiday tradition for the 39th year. J.C. Cutler will play the role of Ebenezer Scrooge for the third time, following acclaimed performances the last two years.
Nov. 23-Jan. 5, 2014, on the McGuire Proscenium Stage
From celebrated entertainer Garson Kanin — with a golden career spanning more than 60 years with credits including Tracy and Hepburn classics Adam’s Rib and Pat and Mike — comes this deliciously witty comedy about a corrupt businessman trying to get ahead.
“Tristan & Yseult”
Feb. 13-March 23, 2014, on the McGuire Proscenium Stage
This season marks the triumphant return of the acclaimed Kneehigh Theatre – best-known for their wildly popular and evocative adaptation of “Brief Encounter” – to present the celebrated show that catapulted them onto the national stage. King Mark of Cornwall is at war; he rules with his head not his heart. But he hasn’t counted on falling head over heels for his enemy’s sister Yseult or the arrival of the enigmatic Tristan.
“Freud’s Last Session”
Feb. 25-March 16, 2014, in Dowling Studio
“Freud’s Last Session” depicts Sigmund Freud in the weeks before his death consulting with the young C.S. Lewis on the existence of God, love and the meaning of life.
William Shakespeare’s “Othello”
March 8-April 20, 2014, on the Wurtele Thrust Stage
Shakespeare’s great tragedy of sweeping passions and murderous jealousy is a thrilling meditation about the power of love and the destructiveness of doubt and suspicion, triggered by one of literature’s most manipulative villains: Iago.
“Abe Lincoln and Uncle Tom in the White House”
March 21-April 6, 2014, in Dowling Studio
“Abe Lincoln and Uncle Tom in the White House” is a fantasy and meditation on the real and figurative intersection between political identity and literary image, a tale of suffering, self-discovery and redemption.
March 28-April 19, 2014, on the McGuire Proscenium Stage
A drama that reimagines events the night before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: after he has just delivered one of his most memorable speeches, the arrival of a stranger sparks King to examine his history-changing achievements, his failures and his unfinished dreams.
“Hamlet” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”
April 22-May 4, 2014, on the McGuire Proscenium Stage
The partnership between the Guthrie and The Acting Company enters its sixth year and provides an amazing training ground for up-and-coming actors to showcase their talents. “Hamlet” – Shakespeare’s story of a Danish prince’s search for vengeance, justice and truth – will play in repertory with Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” a reworking of the same tragedy from the point of view of two minor characters and their static existence in a world beyond their comprehension.
“Crimes of the Heart”
May 3-June 15, 2014 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage
In this deeply touching Southern Gothic screwball comedy, three young Mississippi sisters gather in their hometown to await news of their hospitalized grandfather. With troubles in life and with the law, the Magrath sisters navigate their pasts to seize the future in an imaginative and touching story.
“The Three Musketeers”
May 9-25, 2014, in Dowling Studio
D’Artagnan yearns to join the King’s Musketeers. But will his sharp sword and quick wit let him survive Paris’ labyrinth of intrigue, slander and duels, and the mysterious “Milady?” A swashbuckling adventure for the stage.
“Our Country’s Good,”
May 21-June 29, 2014, on the McGuire Proscenium Stage
In the penal colony of Sydney in 1789 a ragtag cast of convicts puts on a play under the guidance of an earnest young marine officer. As the barriers between captors and captives break down, they start to discover each other, both onstage and behind the scenes.
“My Fair Lady”
June 28-Aug. 31, 2014, on the Wurtele Thrust Stage
You know the story, the songs and the characters, now see them come to life for the first time in Guthrie history. Professor Henry Higgins loves language. Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle yearns to speak like a lady. Sparks fly when his curiosity and her determination launch a daring social experiment designed to turn a lower-class ugly duckling into a high-society swan – with unexpected results for both of them.
July 10-20, 2014, in Dowling Studio
In Black Label Movement’s riveting “Wreck,” 13 survivors caught in the hold of a sinking ship push their physical and psychological limits to escape seemingly inevitable destruction.
“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”
July 19-Aug. 31, 2014, on the McGuire Proscenium Stage
Vanya and his stepsister Sonia live a quiet life in a farmhouse in Pennsylvania where they grew up, while their sister Masha travels the world as a movie star. Just as their cleaning woman warns them about terrible events in their future, Masha returns for an unannounced visit with her 20-something boy toy, Spike, and so begins an unforgettable weekend of rivalry, regret and hilarious racket. Winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play.
For details such as times and ticket information visit www.guthrietheater.org.