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Placing bets on which 'ambitious' and 'acclaimed' American musical is coming to the Guthrie

It's unlikely that 'Hamilton' will be coming to the Guthrie stage, especially since Hennepin Theatre Trust has it on their 2018-19 schedule.

It's unlikely that 'Hamilton' will be coming to the Guthrie stage, especially since Hennepin Theatre Trust has it on their 2018-19 schedule. L: Guthrie shot by Sally Wagner; R: The original 'Hamilton' cast

Last month, the Guthrie Theater announced its 2017-18 season -- well, most of it. Two 2018 shows were left to be announced on April 17: “a new play by a celebrated contemporary female playwright” and another show, “one of the most ambitious musicals in Guthrie history.”

What could they be?

We’ll be interested to learn details about both, but we couldn’t resist placing some odds on just what the 2018 summer musical, also described as “a widely acclaimed American musical,” might be.

Hamilton
Odds: 1,000,000 to 1

Who knows when outside companies will be allowed to produce this instant classic, but certainly not before the national tour even comes to town. If you’re really curious to see what happens when a local company tries its hand at Lin-Manuel Miranda’s style of hip-hop musical, you can find out this fall when the Ordway does In the Heights.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Odds: 500,000 to 1

Wouldn’t you just love to see the Guthrie try to create minimalist graphics for this one?

Beauty and the Beast
Odds: 10,000 to 1

If Hermione’s booked, maybe they could get Ginny.

A Chorus Line
Odds: 500 to 1

Okay, you probably wouldn’t use the word “ambitious” to describe a show that’s essentially just a bunch of people standing on an empty stage.

Hair
Odds: 100 to 1

Let the sunshine in! This flower-child landmark is probably a little too groovy for the Wurtele Thrust, but naked hippies cavorting down the aisles would certainly be a new direction for the Guthrie’s summer musical.

Rent
Odds: 50 to 1

Well, you never know.

Bye Bye Birdie
Odds: 30 to 1

If this was still the Joe Dowling era, the odds for this chestnut would be much better.

Show Boat
Odds: 15 to 1

The University of Minnesota’s old Centennial Showboat isn’t currently being used for anything... what if they just towed it up the river, disassembled it, and put it back together on the Wurtele Thrust? Now that’s ambitious.

42nd Street
Odds: 10 to 1

You’d probably want a proscenium stage for this tap-heavy nostalgia trip.

Hello, Dolly!
Odds: 5 to 1

They wouldn’t do this to us, would they? Before you answer, bear in mind that the Guthrie could price this show at $1,000 plus the tip of a pinky finger and they’d still sell out.

Fiddler on the Roof
Odds: 4 to 1

This would be a really boring choice, which may be exactly why it’s a pretty good guess.

Guys and Dolls
Odds: 3 to 1

Minnesotans love seedy characters that remind us of when we were a Prohibition hotspot, and seedy characters who sing well are even better.

West Side Story
Odds:
2 to 1

There’s an original Ordway production of this one on stage right now, so it would be a little rude (and maybe financially risky) to bring the Sharks and the Jets back to the Twin Cities next year… but you know what date the Ordway’s production closes? April 16. Then the Guthrie makes its announcement the very next day. Hmmmmmmm.

Porgy and Bess
Odds: even

Ambitious? Check. Acclaimed? Check. Plus, there are both the original opera version and a musical-theater adaptation to choose from. It’s controversial, yes, but with the Guthrie’s recent South Pacific, Joseph Haj, who directed the production and is slated to direct this one, showed that he doesn’t shy away from controversy. This could be just the sort of challenge that appeals to him.