Guthrie active with U program

by Sean Madigan

Every year thousands of starry-eyed aspiring actors and actress step off buses in New York or Los Angeles with dreams of fame. Fresh-faced with high school diploma in hand, many budding thespians look past traditional theatrical study in hope of rapid break through to stardom.
“Many of them skip the university system,” said Peter Michael Goetz, a former University McKnight Fellow and Guthrie Theater alumni. “They go on to play spear carriers and disappear after a little while.”
Even after 20 years of experience in Twin Cities theaters, Goetz wished there had been a program available to ease his transition from student to professional actor in New York.
Now such a program exists.
The University’s College of Liberal Arts and the Guthrie Theater announced a partnership Wednesday, creating a new bachelor of fine arts program. The new program will combine professional theater and undergraduate actor training.
In effort to attract students to the University and the Twin Cities from across the nation, the program will bring faculty from the University theater and dance departments together with the Guthrie’s artistic staff.
The four-year program will emphasize classic theater instruction in voice, speech and movement for stage performance and will start in fall 2000.
Eve Gibson, an intern at the Guthrie through a program at her high school, believes the new program will make the University a more attractive option for students like herself.
“The University already has a good theater program,” said Gibson, a junior at Breck School. “The relationship with a professional theater only makes it better.” Although she is looking into programs at New York University, Gibson said the new program will make the University a considerable option. If Gibson chooses the University, she would be part of the inaugural class.
Steven Rosenstone, CLA dean, called the union a “joyous moment” for the University, the Guthrie and the people of Minnesota. Because the program is in CLA, the curriculum will be broad-based and will reach beyond theatrical techniques, he said.
Before the Guthrie opened in 1963, Sir Tyrone Guthrie narrowed his new theater location choices to three: Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Detroit. But civic leader John Cowles, who headed the committee to attract the Guthrie said Minneapolis, won out because of the University.
“There were two (other) cities, but neither of them had a great university at its core,” Cowles said.