Guthrie Theater’s new season explores issues

Published 10:42 am Friday, March 3, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — The Guthrie Theater’s new season will explore contemporary issues such as race relations and cultural assimilation.

The Tony Award-winning Minneapolis theater announced seven of its upcoming nine productions Thursday. The final two plays won’t be announced until next month because of licensing agreements.

Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” opens the new season in September. Guthrie artistic director Joseph Haj will direct the classic about star-crossed lovers, produced only twice before in the Guthrie’s 54-year history.

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Other plays include an adaptation of the 1967 movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” about a white progressive couple learning their daughter plans to marry an African-American man,

and the world premiere of “An Enemy of the People,” based on the 1882 Henrik Ibsen play about a whistleblower who tries to expose water contamination in a Norwegian spa town.

Haj said he was looking for classic works that have “a contemporary relevance and resonance.”

Also on the schedule is “Familiar,” by “The Walking Dead” star and Macalester College graduate Danai Gurira, set in Minnesota about the culture clash that ensues when the daughter of a Zimbabwean family plans to marry a white man in a traditional African ceremony; Lillian Hellman’s 1941 anti-Nazi drama “Watch on the Rhine”; and Noel Coward’s comedy “Blithe Spirit.”