13 picks for the Guthrie’s next Artistic Director

The Board of Directors of the Guthrie Theater is conducting a search for its next Artistic Director. We asked people who they think should replace Joe Dowling, and here are the results, in alphabetical order.

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1. Bain Boehlke: The founder and artistic director of The Jungle Theater in Minneapolis, Boehlke has been active in the Twin Cities theater scene for more than half a century. On Monday, Boehlke announced he’s retiring from The Jungle in June of 2015, which means the 75-year-old would be available if he were interested.

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2. Timothy Bond: Bond is the Producing Artistic Director of Syracuse Stage and Syracuse University’s Department of Drama. Actor Sid Solomon says of Bond “He has a strong classical background (11 years as Associate Artistic Director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival), is known to Guthrie audiences (as director of CROWNS and the sensational INTIMATE APPAREL), and has experience fostering young talent and running a training program at Syracuse. Plus, it would be terrific to finally see an artist of color at the helm of the Guthrie.”

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3. Shanan Custer: Custer is a longtime Twin Cities actor, writer and director with a specialty in comedy and improv. Actor Paul Reyburn says that she has “a great sense of history. Plus, wouldn’t that just be a ton of fun?!?”

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4. Oskar Eustis:  Eustis is at the helm of The Public Theater in New York City. Mary Finnerty writes “He commissioned ‘Execution of Justice’ to help San Francisco heal after the murders of George Mascone and Harvey Milk. He believes in building community with theatre . He also did beautiful work as the artistic director at Trinity Rep. He has the scope of experience and has run a huge organization.” Beth Cleary writes “He knows the Twin Cities, and he’s ferocious about smart work, new work, work by people of color, and local work. The Twin Cities deserves him, or someone like him.”

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5. Wendy Goldberg: Goldberg is Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut, and has directed on Guthrie stages multiple times in addition to several other high profile stages nationwide.  She’s known for her work developing new plays for the stage.

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6. Tom Isbell: The Duluth theater professor has been a member of the University of Minnesota Duluth faculty since 1994. He has taken two UMD productions to the Kennedy Center as part of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.  A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Isbell has managed to balance teaching with his professional acting career. Anne Klefstad writes “He searches out newly written work and has an exceptionally open mind.”

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7. Wendy Knox: Knox is the Artistic Director of Frank Theater, based here in the Twin Cities. Randy Wylde writes “In addition to being a force in Minnesota theater for years, her commitment to innovative works, compelling theater, and challenging artistry would bring some exciting life to the Guthrie, which has seemed increasingly less-relevant with each passing year.”

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8. Suzy Messerole: The co-creator of Exposed Brick Theater, Messerole has directed at numerous theaters in the Twin Cities, including History Theatre, Theatre in the Round and Theatre Unbound, among others.
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9.  T. Mychael Rambo: The Twin Cities performer is known for his roles in several Penumbra Theatre productions as well as his commitment to arts education.

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10. Noel Raymond and Faye Price: The co-directors of Pillsbury House Theatre have created a model for infusing all aspects of the community center’s work with the arts.

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11. Ralph Remington – The original director of Pillsbury House Theatre, Remington also served on the Minneapolis City Council from 2006-2010. He has since moved on to work both for the National Endowment for the Arts and for Actors’ Equity Association.

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12. Amanda White Thietje Levi Weinhagen writes that the managing director of Mixed Blood Theatre in Mineapolis has “a deep passion for theater, understands the value of classical and historical theater, but isn’t afraid of creative risk. She also knows how to manage lots of different needs and wants.”

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13. Lisa Wolpe: Wolpe is the artistic director of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, a company she founded in 1993. Katrina Hawley writes  “She has the passion and artistic integrity needed, and would bring such an inclusive/diverse breath of fresh air!”

So who would you pick to lead the Guthrie Theater?

  • Pat Loeb

    love seeing some amazing representatives from the NOT white male community!

  • Nanette Stearns

    A agree – anyone who’s not a white male (sorry, white guys). It’s time for some diversity at the helm of our most prominent theatrical resource.

  • Vicki Wright

    Dowling’s departure is long overdue. I walked out of his abysmal take on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” years ago and have not returned for any plays he has directed since. Fairies with erect leather codpieces, lovers lost in the woods in their underwear and bad pseudo-rock music added nothing to Shakespeare’s comedy other than annoying distractions. A woman’s creative perspective would be most welcome.