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‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner’ On Sierra Rep Stage
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Sincée Daniels and Abby Anderson in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Photo By Rich Miller Photography

Some 52 years after the groundbreaking film, Sierra Rep is thrilled to present Todd Kreidler's stage adaptation of the iconic Academy Award-winning film Guess Who's Coming To Dinner.

The production poignantly continues SRT’s 40th Anniversary Season. Based on the original screenplay by William Rose and directed by Becky Saunders, this charming, clever romantic comedy opens April 26th and runs through May 19th in the East Sonora Theatre.

A handsome, prestigious doctor (Sincée J. Daniels) meets a beautiful young woman (Abby Anderson). The two begin a whirlwind romance and their swift courtship leads to a happily accepted proposal. The catch? It's 1967 in America - the handsome doctor, John Prentice, is a black man and his intended, Joanna Drayton, a white woman. When Joanna surprises her proudly liberal parents (Matt K. Miller and Valerie Leonard) with the engagement, their values are put to the test in this moving story that deftly challenges the notion that love can conquer all. However, she shocks even John by inviting his disapproving parents (Dwight D. Mahabir and Michelle W. Allison) to dinner. A clash of generations and races ensues when both sets of parents must confront their own unexpected reactions and concerns for their children as their long-held beliefs are put to the test.

The film version is remembered today for two significant reasons: It was filmed while anti-miscegenation laws were being hotly debated by the Supreme Court and it was the first Hollywood film to portray an interracial romance in a positive light. The film also featured a dream cast, including Spencer Tracy's final screen performance. Directed by Stanley Kramer, the film starred Katharine Houghton and Academy Award-winners Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn. It won two Academy Awards, for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress for Katharine Hepburn. The film boldly premiered in December 1967, just six months after the landmark Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision deemed laws barring interracial marriage to be illegal throughout the U.S.

The production is directed by Becky Saunders, SRT’s Managing Director.

“This play offers a view of the real bigotry, in this case racial, that hides inside us, often without our awareness,” said Saunders. “After all, we are only human and since the 1960’s it is safe to say that we, as a society, have come a long way in our acceptance of the superficial differences between all that is human. What I love about this piece is the warmth and humor the screen writer, William Rose and the adaptation by playwright, Todd Kreidler, have so deftly captured. They allow us to smile and shake our heads about this weakness in ourselves instead of feeling shame. Seeing this play in 2019 is a gentle reminder that we must continue to rise above our innate bigotries to become the best humans we can be. It makes me happy that SRT is producing what is sure to be a moving production.”