From wardrobe malfunctions to nude scenes to celebrity sightings, actors reflect on 50 years behind the curtain at the Guthrie
(page 2 of 2)
Guthrie debut: 1970 • “I played Dolly in The Matchmaker, Big Mama in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Paulina in The Winter’s Tale, and Mrs. Stockmann in An Enemy of the People—all in one week during the 1976–77 season. It was frantic but exciting.
I was playing Abby Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace (1975) and had on long dangling earrings. Somehow, one got caught on a brooch I was wearing and my head kept bobbing sideways because of it. Well, that was too much for Peter [Michael Goetz]. He started laughing and left me on stage! Just ran off and left me.”
Guthrie debut: 1983 • “The old stage was like a great vintage cello, seasoned by years of work. The new stage is just starting to get its own seasoning with people tramping on it, saying words, filling in the blank spaces. Theater has to keep on its toes and be exciting and generative and pay attention to social issues going on, to reflect what’s happening in the country and be socially proactive.”
Guthrie debut: 2008 • “There was a scene in Charley’s Aunt where my character was supposed to dive into a dress. There were lots of layers and buttons—it was a difficult dress. One night I ended up twisting it inside out and the three of us could not for the life of us figure it out. We kept improvising as we tried to fix it, and eventually I ended up just yelling, ‘Ahhh!’ When I told a few people who’d seen it that night, they said, ‘That was hilarious! It should always be like that!’ I was like, ‘No. It will never be like that again.’”
Guthrie debut: 2003 • “When you say something during rehearsals—‘Gosh, wouldn’t it be great if we had a little motor scooter in this scene?’—a half-hour later you get a beautifully crafted mock-up of whatever you asked for. The attention to detail is incredible; everyone is so focused on providing what’s needed for the work to happen.”
Director of Artistic Relations; involved with the Guthrie since 1961 • “I fell in love with theater after seeing Richard III (directed by Tyrone Guthrie) at the Stratford Festival in 1953. When I heard in 1959 Tyrone was looking to plant a theater outside New York, I was on the steering committee to make sure he chose the Twin Cities. Everyone was so excited that first year; they had to stop selling season tickets at 23,000. Tyrone’s dream was to make theater accessible—to do the classics as well as identify future classics. The theater today is what Tyrone hoped it would be. His dream has been realized.”
Read extended interviews and see historic photos at MNMO.com/Guthrie50.