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May 31, 2022
Press release #1834

For more information, contact:
J'Kalein Madison


In a playful twist on the Jane Austen classic, Hamill offers a fast-paced screwball comedy with rom-com sensibilities.

Previews begin Saturday, June 18; Opening on Friday, June 24; Playing through Sunday, August 21 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage.

(Minneapolis/St. Paul) — The Guthrie Theater (Joseph Haj, Artistic Director) today announced the cast and creative team for Kate Hamill’s world-premiere adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel Emma, directed by Meredith McDonough. Emma will play June 18 – August 21, 2022, on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. Single tickets start at $15 for preview performances (June 18–23). All other performances range from $26 to $80. Tickets are on sale now through the Box Office at 612.377.2224, 1.877.447.8243 (toll-free) or online at guthrietheater.org. Accessibility services (ASL-interpreted, audio-described, open-captioned and relaxed performances) are available on select dates. For up-to-date information about the theater’s health and safety policies, visit www.guthrietheater.org/health.

“After considering numerous Emma adaptations for our season, none fit the bill, so it seemed fitting to commission a new work for this moment,” said Artistic Director Joseph Haj. “There was no one as well suited for the task than prolific playwright Kate Hamill, who has begun adapting Austen’s beloved novels in order, including Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. In this world premiere, Kate has crafted a fresh and energetic take on Emma, and under Meredith McDonough’s keen direction, this production promises loads of laughter and pure joy — a perfect summer outing at the Guthrie.”

Emma tells the story of Emma Woodhouse, a woman who prides herself on being a matchmaker with an impeccable track record, much to the chagrin of her dear friend Mr. Knightley. However, her best-laid plans are turned upside down by unpredictable displays of affection, unexpected rivals, and Emma’s sudden realization that true love may have been under her nose all along. With screwball comedy and surprises aplenty, this fresh, fast-paced world premiere interprets the Jane Austen classic with delightfully unconventional flair.

The cast of Emma includes Sun Mee Chomet (Guthrie: Twelfth Night, As You Like It, King Lear) as Miss Bates, Ryan Colbert (Guthrie: A Christmas Carol, As You Like It, Frankenstein – Playing With Fire) as Frank Churchill/Robert Martin, David Kelly (Guthrie: Harvey) as Mr. Woodhouse/Mr. Weston, Carman Lacivita (Guthrie: debut) as Mr. Knightley, Anna Leverett (Guthrie: debut) as Mrs. Elton, Amelia Pedlow (Guthrie: Frankenstein – Playing With Fire) as Emma Woodhouse, Louis Sallan (Guthrie: debut) as Mr. Elton, Samantha Steinmetz (Guthrie: debut) as Harriet Smith, Christine Weber (Guthrie: A Christmas Carol, Cyrano de Bergerac, Pride and Prejudice, The Winter’s Tale) as Jane Fairfax and Brenda Withers (Guthrie: debut) as Mrs. Weston.

The creative team for Emma includes Kate Hamill (Playwright), Meredith McDonough (Director), Lex Liang (Scenic and Costume Designer), Paul Toben (Lighting Designer), Palmer Hefferan (Sound Designer), Carla Steen (Resident Dramaturg), Jill Walmsley Zager (Voice and Dialect Coach), Emily Michaels King (Movement Director), Aaron Preusse (Fight Director), Intimacy by Tonia Sina, Jennifer Liestman (Resident Casting Director), Tree O’Halloran (Stage Manager), Nate Stanger (Assistant Stage Manager) and Jillian Robertson (Assistant Director).

Kate Hamill is an actor and playwright who was named Playwright of the Year by The Wall Street Journal in 2017. Her work includes Pride and Prejudice at Primary Stages and Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, in which she originated the role of Lizzy (Off-Broadway Alliance Award nomination); Sense and Sensibility at Bedlam, in which she originated the role of Marianne (Off-Broadway Alliance Award winner, Drama League Award nomination); Vanity Fair at Pearl Theatre Company, in which she originated the role of Becky Sharp (Off-Broadway Alliance Award nomination); Mansfield Park at Northlight Theatre, in which she originated the role of Mary Crawford; Little Women at Primary Stages and Jungle Theater; and Dracula at Classic Stage Company, in which she originated the role of Renfield. Her plays have been produced off-Broadway and at American Repertory Theater, Guthrie Theater, Seattle Rep, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Folger Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Trinity Rep, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Dorset Theatre Festival, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Dallas Theater Center, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre and American Conservatory Theater, among others. Hamill has upcoming productions at Portland Center Stage, Cygnet Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville and more. Plays currently in development include The Odyssey, The Scarlet Letter, Scrooge for Senate, The Piper (PlayPenn selection, 2019 Eugene O’Neill Award finalist) and In the Mines, a folk musical with music by The Bengsons. Hamill was one of the most-produced playwrights nationwide for three seasons running from 2017 to 2020. Learn more at www.kate-hamill.com.

Meredith McDonough is a freelance director and the former Associate Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she directed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Angels in America, Circle Mirror Transformation, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Last Five Years and the premieres of Airness, Dot and brownsville song (b-side for tray). McDonough also served as the Director of New Works at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, California, where she directed the premieres of Triangle, Auctioning the Ainsleys and Silent Sky, among others. Regionally, she has directed The Lifespan of a Fact at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; The Legend of Georgia McBride at Milwaukee Rep and Arizona Theatre Company; Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (premiere) at Marin Theatre Company; The Lily’s Revenge (with Taylor Mac) at Magic Theatre; NSFW at Round House Theatre; Fair Use at Steppenwolf; Eurydice at Williamstown Theatre Festival; and The Book Club Play at Dallas Theater Center. McDonough is the former New Works Director for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre and a current board member for the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. She received her B.S. from Northwestern University and her M.F.A. from the University of California, San Diego.

This production is generously sponsored by RBC Wealth Management. Special thanks to Lathrop GPM for their significant contribution toward the lighting for this production.

Related Events

Relaxed Performance – Sunday, July 24 at 1 p.m.

A relaxed performance is intended to be sensitive to and accepting of any audience member who may benefit from a more relaxed environment. They are intentionally modified to accommodate patrons with sensory and vestibular sensitivities, anxiety, dementia, autism spectrum disorders, learning differences or challenges attending the theater. Single tickets to the relaxed performance of Emma are $29 for adults and $15 for children. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 612.377.2224. For more information, visit www.guthrietheater.org/relaxed.

Health and Safety Update

All audience members, regardless of age, must wear a mask that securely covers the nose and mouth (no bandanas, neck gaiters or face shields) when entering and inside the Wurtele Thrust Stage. A complete list of Guthrie requirements is available at www.guthrietheater.org/health.

Land Acknowledgment 

The Guthrie Theater acknowledges that it resides on the traditional land of the Dakota People and honors with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations, including the Ojibwe and other Indigenous nations.

The GUTHRIE THEATER (Joseph Haj, Artistic Director) is an American center for theater performance in Minneapolis, Minnesota, dedicated to producing a mix of classic and contemporary plays and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. Under Haj’s leadership, the Guthrie is guided by four core values: Artistic Excellence; Community; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; and Fiscal Responsibility. Since its founding in 1963, the theater has continued to set a national standard for excellence in the field and serve the people of Minnesota as a vital cultural resource. The Guthrie houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms, restaurants and dramatic public spaces. guthrietheater.org