Talk about going epic — the Guthrie Theater will produce Shakespeare's monumental History Cycle for its 2023-24 season in rotating rep.
Artistic Director Joseph Haj, who was a member of the acting company the last time the Guthrie produced the cycle more than three decades ago, will stage "Richard II," "Henry IV" (parts 1 and 2 are combined as one play) and "Henry V" with a company of 25 actors drawn from across the Twin Cities and the globe.
They will spend 11 weeks in rehearsals before a two-month run that includes marathon days when patrons can see all the shows in the Henriad in one fell swoop. The cycle runs March 23 to May 25, 2024.
"It was such a signal event in my artistic journey and the history of the Guthrie, with such ambition and scale, that I couldn't be more excited about it," said Haj. "I read these plays as an allegory for our own time when we have an incredibly divided country with factions of all sorts and people jockeying for power."
The theater's 2023-24 roster includes the world premiere of "For the People," a play by Ty Defoe and Larissa FastHorse about contemporary Native American life in the Twin Cities. The Guthrie commissioned Defoe and FastHorse, who is having her Broadway debut this spring with "The Thanksgiving Play." Michael John Garcés, head of Los Angeles' Cornerstone Theater Company, directs "People" (Oct. 7-Nov. 12).
In addition, the 10-production lineup is studded with comedies and dramas new and old, plus a mystery and a musical.
David Ivers, who directed "Blithe Spirit" and "The Cocoanuts" at the Guthrie, returns to kick off the new season with Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" (Sept. 9-Oct. 15).
Next up is Lavina Jadhwani's adaptation of "A Christmas Carol," the Guthrie holiday staple, which will be staged this year by Addie Gorlin-Han based on Haj's original direction (Nov. 11-Dec. 28). "Carol" will have a companion piece at the holidays with "Art," Yasmina Reza's contemporary classic that will be helmed by Chicago-based director Lisa Portes (Dec. 16-Jan. 28, 2024).
The mystery on tap is one with a strong Twin Cities connection. Excelsior-based playwright Jeffrey Hatcher's adaptation of Frederick Knott's "Dial M for Murder" will be staged by Tracy Brigden, who was appointed in September as senior artistic producer at the Guthrie (Jan. 20-Feb. 25, 2024).
The Guthrie also will present Bill Irwin's "On Beckett," the one-man show that the Tony-winning actor adapted, directed and first starred in in 2018 at the Irish Repertory Theatre (Feb. 17-March 24, 2024).
Playwright Dominique Morisseau's contemporary drama "Skeleton Crew" will be directed by Austene Van, who staged a version of the play at the Yellow Tree Theatre, where she is artistic director (May 4-June 9, 2024).
No directors have been named for the shows that close out the Guthrie season: Sanaz Toossi's "English," about four Iranian students and their language teacher (July 13-Aug. 18, 2024), and "Little Shop of Horrors," the Howard Ashman-Alan Menken work that will be the Guthrie's big summer musical (June 22-Aug. 18, 2024).
New season ticket packages, which range from $68-$666, go on sale May 9; 612-225-6238 or guthrietheater.org.