1. The Guthrie on the Mississippi
Dowling reinvented the Guthrie’s physical plant and changed the architectural profile of Minneapolis. The $125 million deep-blue 2006 building has three stages and ample public spaces, including the “endless bridge” jutting toward the river. Dowling worked assiduously to raise funds, talking to every Rotary Club or Chamber of Commerce breakfast that would have him. He also fought with Gov. Jesse Ventura, who twice vetoed state funding, but his lobbying was rewarded when Gov. Tim Pawlenty approved the Guthrie’s bonding request.
2. The BFA program
Working with the late director and educator Ken Washington, the Guthrie and the University of Minnesota created a conservatory training program in 2000 whose alumni include Namir Smallwood, Ali Rose Dachis and Broadway and “Frozen” star Santino Fontana. The Guthrie also created a summer program to bring top-notch graduates from the nation’s acting schools to the Twin Cities.
3. Tony Kushner Festival
The Guthrie celebrated Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”) with a three-play festival in 2009. Director Marcela Lorca staged a landmark production of “Caroline, or Change,” which starred Greta Oglesby. Kushner also wrote — and kept revising — “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures.” The third piece was “Tiny Kushner,” a collection of short one-acts.