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'Juno,' 'Crucible' in Dowling's last Guthrie year

'Juno,' 'Crucible' in Dowling's last Guthrie year

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — After running the renowned Guthrie Theater for 20 years, Joe Dowling plans to revive some of his favorite plays, stage new works and produce a classic American musical as part of his final season, the theater announced Thursday.

Dowling, 65, will direct or co-direct three productions in the new season: Sean O'Casey's "Juno and the Paycock," Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Arthur Miller's "The Crucible."

"I'm very happy," Dowling said of his selections. He said the mix of plays lives up to his vision of what the three-stage complex is capable of.

The Guthrie kicks off the new season in September with "The White Snake," an ancient Chinese fable about a serpent girl from the spirit world written and directed by Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman, and its first-ever production of Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer-winning play, "The Heidi Chronicles," about a young woman's coming of age from the 1960s to the '80s.

Dowling will return to "Juno and Paycock," which he staged at the Gate Theatre in his hometown of Dublin in 1986. The play about a destitute Dublin family following the Irish Civil War later opened on Broadway in 1988, bringing Dowling to America and eventually to the Guthrie.

"It's almost part of my DNA at this point," Dowling said of "Juno and the Paycock," which the Guthrie last staged in 1973

It will be the last play Dowling directs at the Guthrie. He will officially step down on June 30, 2015.

For the third time at the Guthrie, Dowling will direct "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which he directed to acclaim in his inaugural Guthrie season and restaged a decade later. He plans a fresh interpretation of Shakespeare's romantic comedy, to be co-directed by David Bolger.

Among works new to the Guthrie are Anne Washburn's dark comedy "Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play," about a post-disaster world where strangers re-create an episode of "The Simpsons," and Meredith Willson's popular musical, "The Music Man." The Guthrie also is bringing back its holiday mainstay, Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," for its 40th annual production.

The late Irish stage director Sir Tyrone Guthrie founded the Tony Award-winning regional theater in Minneapolis in 1963. Dowling, the Guthrie's longest-serving artistic director, took over in 1995 and guided the creation of the Guthrie's $125 million bright blue building designed by French architect Jean Nouvel that opened in 2006.



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