Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.
CP: You’re a Minnesota native and a theater lover, so I have to ask: How was that famous “Hamlet” with George Grizzard that opened the Guthrie Theater in its original Vineland Place location?
RN: So not laughing. When I saw that the Guthrie is marking its 50th, I thought, wow, that’s really old. And then I remembered: The theater opened when I was 3. My first Guthrie play was “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” when I was maybe 15. My only memory is the title, and my immediate affection for Ralph Rapson’s auditorium.
CP: So Judy and Don never took you to “A Christmas Carol” as a wee thespian-in-the-making? I would have thought that was a yuletide tradition chez Nelson.
RN: No, we were a “Nutcracker Fantasy” household. I have a terrible confession: I’ve never seen the Guthrie’s “Carol.” Don’t tell anyone.
CP: Like all your shameful revelations, it remains strictly between us. I surely have seen more theater at the Guthrie than any other single playhouse. There have been lots of great nights there, and plenty of overlong snoozefests.
RN: Garland Wright’s phenomenal mid-1980s productions of “Guys and Dolls” and “Anything Goes” remain Guthrie high-water marks for me. Then Peter Sellars’ audience-fleeing “Hang on to Me” in ’86 pretty much killed the musical chez Guthrie, until Wright staged his glorious “Babes in Arms” a decade later. I was hoping for Sondheim’s “Follies” for the big 5-0, but, alas, no.
CP: Nothing has made a bigger impression on me over the years than “The Screens” in the late ’80s, with an original Philip Glass score and a five-hour run time. It was so “downtown” for the Guthrie. A close second was the recent “Caroline, or Change,” the stirring Tony Kushner musical starring Greta Oglesby.
RN: See? More musicals, and more Genet, please. And while they’re at it, more Sally Wingert vehicles.