Shout Out: Francis Guinan of Elmhurst, ensemble member of Steppenwolf Theatre

Chicago Tribune 3 weeks ago

Elmhurst resident Francis Guinan has been an ensemble member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company for 40 years, appearing in more than 30 productions. The actor is making his mainstage debut at TimeLine Theatre as Rutherford in “Rutherford and Son” by Githa Sowerby, which runs through Jan. 12.

Q. How would you describe Rutherford?

A. A staunch traditionalist and absolutely dedicated to what he feels is his place in the world. He’s very focused on his business, his family and the perception of his family in the world.

Q. What’s the best thing about being a Steppenwolf Ensemble member?

A. I get to work on wonderful plays and I get to work with some of the best actors in the United States. I’ve also been in some watershed productions — “Balm in Gilead,” “August Osage County,” “Grapes of Wrath.”

Q. What was your favorite Steppenwolf show?

A. “Downstate,” a Bruce Norris play that we ran last season and at the National Theatre in London. The character was a very personable character who has this deep, dark flaw.

Q. What do you like about living in Elmhurst?

A. We moved here for the school system. My son is now out of college and so the primary reason for moving to Elmhurst is gone. They’re doing some nice work out here, trying to raise money for the Elmhurst Centre for Performing Arts.

Q. What’s your favorite local restaurant?

A. Sushi Nest. We spend most of our restaurant dollars there.

Q. What book are you reading?

A. As I go back and forth, I’m listening to a book on tape, “Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond. It’s about geography and how it relates to the creation of cultures.

Q. What movie would you recommend?

A. One of my favorite movies is “Homicide,” a film by David Mamet.

Q. What would be your dream vacation?

A. I would love to take a river cruise through Central and Eastern Europe. My wife and I may end up doing it. We were in Prague about a year-and-a-half ago, and I fell in love with the city. I think cruising through the old cities of Europe would be great fun.

Q. What’s your idea of a perfect day?

A. It would be in London. It would start with a light breakfast at the hotel, a tour through the National Portrait Gallery, a walk along the Thames, a play and a couple of beers in a pub.

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