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Continued: Living with characters: Sally Wingert, 2013 Artist of Year

  • Article by: GRAYDON ROYCE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 29, 2013 - 7:56 AM

Being selected Artist of the Year, Wingert said, was thrilling because it makes her family happy.

“It means so much that they would be proud of me,” she said. “That means a lot, right? It’s hugely important to me that they like my work. It’s what their mom does.”

When she played Polly Wyeth in “Other Desert Cities,” Wingert dived into the submerged emotions of a woman deeply wounded by her children. Polly was glacially composed, erudite and proud at the play’s outset. She was devastated at the conclusion.

“Having a family gives you a soft spot,” Wingert said of the emotional vulnerability necessary for the role. “My sons were on my shoulders moving through that show. I had a deep fondness for that.”

Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299

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  • Sally Wingert, the Star Tribune 2013 Artist of the Year.

  • “The Primrose Path”: At the Guthrie, Sally Wingert was the daffy and comic Maria in this adaptation of Ivan Turgenev’s novel “Home of the Gentry.”

  • “Other Desert Cities”: Wingert played Polly Wyeth, the ferocious matriarch of a California Republican family, seen here scolding her son Trip (Christian Conn).

  • “Tribes”: As Beth, the mother of three children — the youngest of whom is deaf — Wingert (in kimono) tried to keep peace in her family, and still find room to express her own artistic sensibilities.

  • “The Receptionist”: Wingert, shown with Sara Marsh, is currently playing the title role in this tiny production, running through Jan. 4 at the Traffic Zone Center. She’s “had a gas” portraying Beverly, a woman whose simple life gets caught in ominous circumstances.

  • “Pride and Prejudice”: Wingert wore the imperious glare (and imposing costume) of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, aunt of Mr. Darcy.

  • About the artist

    Background: Born in Duluth. High school in Robbinsdale. Attended University of Minnesota.

    Family: Married to actor-turned-schoolteacher Tim Danz. Sons Truman, 26, and Wyatt, 23.

    Early success: Wingert calls her years with Actors Theatre of St. Paul (1982-85) “my graduate degree in theater.”

    At Guthrie: Became a company member under Garland Wright in 1986. Has since performed in dozens of productions.

    Elsewhere: She has frequented Mixed Blood, Eye of the Storm, Ten Thousand Things, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company. Plus, film and TV work. Acted in “La Bête” with Mark Rylance in London and on Broadway in 2010.

    Quote: “It’s a puzzle how you keep yourself employed. I never take it for granted.”

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