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.