Kushner fest opens at the Guthrie

The first play in the month-long celebration of playwright Tony Kushner’s work at the Guthrie Theater opens on Saturday, and the marketing folks there have been making sure we remember with daily trivia blasts. You’d be excited, too, if you were hosting, and toasting, the man many regard as the present and future of contemporary theater.

It’s all somewhat of a prelude to the big event–the world premiere of Kushner’s commissioned play, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures (shortened to The Intelligent Homosexual on the Guthrie website), which opens May 9. But those expecting to find that production a little mystifying may find this first show, Caroline, or Change, a little more straightforward, if no less provocative: set in Louisiana in 1963, it’s a musical about an African-American maid and her complex relationship with the son of the Jewish family for whom she labors.

The local cast couldn’t be more compelling, featuring Greta Oglesby (The Piano Lesson, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone) in the lead, along with many other faces familiar to Penumbra Theater fans (T. Mychael Rambo, Aimee K. Bryant) and such vocal favorites as Bradley Greenwald and Regina Marie Williams. With the music ranging from blues to gospel to klezmer, the big blue house is gonna rock, folks, to ’63 and beyond.

Now, as for that trivia–where did the protracted title for Kushner’s new play come from? Apparently, it was inspired by a book he found among his grandmother’s things entitled The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism, by George Bernard Shaw. Learn more from Tony himself, in videos, etc., on the big blue website.