On the heels of successful presentations of Gem of the Ocean, A Raisin in the Sun and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, the Guthrie Theater welcomes back the acclaimed Penumbra Theatre Company for The Amen Corner-an uplifting and masterful drama written by celebrated playwright and novelist James Baldwin and directed by Penumbra Founder and Artistic Director Lou Bellamy.
The production features actress and pitch-perfect powerhouse vocalist Greta Oglesby as Sister Margaret Alexander-the pious and impassioned pastor of a storefront church in Harlem who finds herself forced to admit painful truths when her estranged husband reappears. Oglesby, a Twin Cities mainstay most recently seen on the Guthrie stage as the seer Tiresias in The Burial at Thebes, received rave reviews and an Ivey Award for her star turn as Caroline Thibodeaux in the Guthrie Theater's 2009 production of Tony Kushner's Caroline, or Change. Oglesby was praised by the Minneapolis Star Tribune for her "ravishing and powerful lead performance." The St. Paul Pioneer Press weighed in that Oglesby gave "a performance of a lifetime."
Members of the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church gospel choir will play an integral part in The Amen Corner performing soulful gospel music. Local arranger, producer and Missionary Baptist Church Minister of Music Sanford Moore will serve as musical director of the production.
The Amen Corner also features the talents of Eric Berryman (David Alexander), Shá Cage (Sister Sally; Guthrie: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Lerea Carter (Ida Jackson; Guthrie: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom), James Craven (Brother Washington; Guthrie: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom), CrystAl Fox (Odessa), Hannibal Lokumbe (Luke), Thomasina Petrus (Sister Boxer), Faye M. Price (Sister Douglass; Guthrie: Infidelities, A Christmas Carol), Dennis W. Spears (Brother Boxer) and Austene Van (Sister Moore; Guthrie: Gem of the Ocean, Crowns).
Rounding out the cast are H. Adam Harris, ShaVunda Horsley, Charla Marie Bailey, Joetta Wright, Kemi Ojelade, Koya Frye, Krystle Igbo-Obonna, Brian Curtis James, Earl Milton, Quintin Brown, Antonio Duke, Antonio Richardson, Benjamin Mandelbaum, Jasmine Gilbert, Ashley Selmer and Armyan Craven.
For years Sister Margaret Alexander has helmed her Harlem congregation with a mixture of personal charisma and ferocious devotion. But when Margaret's estranged husband returns, she is in danger of losing both her standing in the church and the son she has tried to keep on the godly path. The Amen Corner illuminates the power of love and the price of true salvation.
The artistic team includes Vicki M. Smith (Scenic Designer), Mathew J. LeFebvre (Costume Designer), Don Darnutzer (Lighting Designer), Scott W. Edwards (Sound Designer), Sanford Moore (Musical Director), Mary K. Winchell (Stage Manager) and Elizabeth R. MacNally (Assistant Stage Manager).
The Amen Corner begins previews May 5, opens May 11 and continues through June 17, on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. Single tickets start at $24 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, 612.225.6244 (Group Sales) and online at www.guthrietheater.org.