Live on stage at the Guthrie: The Employee Free Choice Act?

MINNEAPOLIS - (Workday Minnesota) Imagine my surprise when I heard a character in a world premiere play now at the Guthrie Theater sing the praises of the Employee Free Choice Act!

The proposed federal legislation is labor’s top priority in Congress right now. And here was Pulitzer-winning playwright Tony Kushner’s character, Maria Teresa Marcantonio — a labor lawyer — discussing her work to help pass the bill to restore workers’ rights to organize unions.

The labor lawyer is the daughter of Gus Marcantonio, the central character in Kushner’s play, “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism & Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.”

Gus Marcantonio, a retired union longshoreman, is at the same time proud of and haunted by his own legacy as a radical union leader who struggled for all workers’ rights — and then faced a life-changing choice. “The best thing I ever did was the worst thing I ever did,” he laments.

The play is a powerful, challenging journey through 20th century union history and radical social politics.

Members of Stagehands Local 13 did a masterful job building an original set, which captures the New York City brownstone where most of the play takes place.

The play runs through June 28. Rush seats are available at a discount most nights. For tickets, call the Guthrie box office at 612-377-2224 or visit www.guthrietheater.org. For more information, the website offers a study guide to the play, including a section on the Employee Free Choice Act.

Steve Share edits the Labor Review, the official publication of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation. Learn more at www.minneapolisunions.org