Category Archives: Guthrie Theater

RIP Julie Harris

Ethel Waters, Carson McCullers, Julie Harris
Julie Harris, a great actress and one of my true idols, has died.  She was an actor who seemed to have not so much skin as a scrim which barely contained her soul, so available were her emotions.  She’s seen above with the author/playwright Carson McCullers and another great actress, Ethel Waters during the run of McCullers’ own adaptation of her novel “The Member of the Wedding”.  My stepfather Oliver Rea produced the play, which, while not her first appearance on Broadway, was the first big landmark in Harris’ brilliant career.  It was 1950, ten years before I was born, thirteen before the opening of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis which Oliver founded, and seventeen before he ran away with my mother Georgann and we moved to the Dakota.  When I began acting in the early eighties I used one of Harris’ character Frankie’s speeches as an audition piece for way too long–I so loved it and her.

Summers Away from Georgann

Flower Children: Striking a pose next to Daddy’s Mustang convertible.

One summer, before Mother took us away to London, Daddy had some time off from the Guthrie and rented a little place in Wisconsin.  He’d drive along the back roads at what felt like a hundred miles an hour with the top down and Robbie and I jumping up and down in the back seat as the wind blew back our hair and rushed through our fingers.  I still get that feeling of freedom sometimes on a long drive.


Summertime Girls on Chanel Bonfire

Minneapolis Summers…

One of our summer babysitters, Beverly, with Robbie, her summer hair going wild, holding her teddy bear Guthrie (named for Sir Tyrone) and our friend Grettie. I think I took this picture.  Daddy would hire a girl to watch us while he was in rehearsal.  After a production started he’d spend the days with us himself and the babysitter would only come at night to put us to bed.  


The Great Migration – Chanel Bonfire

The Great Migration: from Summer Stock in North Carolina to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and, of course, divorce.

In the Smoky Mountains.
Having a wonderful time Skype-ing with Book Groups!  If you’re group is reading Chanel Bonfire I’d be happy to do a live Q & A with you.  Just email me at 

Fatal Glamour

The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Designed by Ralph Rapson and completed in 1963 with one of the first thrust stages in America, designed by Tanya Moiseiwitsch. 

Peter Zeisler, Sir Tyrone Guthrie and Oliver Rea — founders of the theater.

“Oliver Rea was a successful Broadway producer who, disenchanted with the New York theater scene, had moved his family to Minneapolis to found the Guthrie Theater, where he and Sir Tyrone Guthrie, a scion of the English stage, planned to produce serious classical theater….He wasn’t handsome but had a craggy allure and an air of mystery that mother found fatally glamorous.”  — Chanel Bonfire