Guthrie will premier Erdrich's "Master Butcher's Singing Club"

Author Louise Erdrich
Twin Cities-based author Louise Erdrich.
MPR file photo

The Guthrie Theater announced Wednesday it will open its next season with a world premier adaptation of Louise Erdrich's bestselling novel "The Master Butcher's Singing Club."

Critically acclaimed when it came out in 2003, Erdrich's novel is the saga of people living in a small North Dakota town between the two World Wars.

The Guthrie production will bring together an all-star creative team. The script is by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman. The play will be directed by the internationally acclaimed Francesca Zambello, who directed the Guthrie's musical adaptation of "Little House on the Prairie."

Guthrie Artistic Director Joe Dowling says he's excited about putting the Erdrich work on the statge.

"Anyone who is familiar with the book will know how strong dramatically it is." Dowling said. "The stories, the different stands of the book will be in evidence on the stage. So we are anticipating a fairly kind of lavish, strong, dramatic production."

Dowling says casting and design work is already underway, with rehearsals set for August. He expects it will be a strong and lavish production.

"Marsha Norman has done a beautiful job in not just creating the characters from the book and creating themes on the stage, but also giving the narrative a very strong through-line," Dowling said. "There will be music in it of course, because it is 'The Master Butcher's Singing Club.' There will be songs, various different songs, both German and some American songs."

Dowling says Erdrich, who lives in Minneapolis, has been very involved in the project. The play will open the Guthrie's 2010-2011 season in September.

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