‘Watch on the Rhine’

Hard to believe that Friday’s opening marks the first production of a work by Lillian Hellman at the Guthrie Theater. And it’s a timely one, too, dealing with one’s moral responsibility during an ugly period of history. Hellman wrote this political thriller in 1939, on the eve of World War II. It is set in Washington, D.C., where refugees from the Nazis have fled and now confront supporters of fascism. The production is headlined by Sarah Agnew, a mainstay of the Twin Cities stage, and Elijah Alexander, making his Guthrie debut. The cast also includes Katie Guentzel, Hugh Kennedy and West Coast-based Macalester alumna Leontyne Mbele-Mbong. Lisa Peterson directs this coproduction with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where she is associate director. (7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 1 p.m. Sun., 7:30 p.m. Tue.-Thu. Ends Nov. 5. Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St., Mpls. $15-$77. 612-377-2224 or guthrietheater.org.)

Rohan Preston