Member Profiles

Francis Guinan

Biography

FRANCIS GUINAN is a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble. He has appeared in more than 30 Steppenwolf productions including TribesThe Birthday PartyThe Book ThiefTime Stands StillEndgame, American BuffaloFakeThe Seafarer and August: Osage County. He has also appeared in productions for Northlight Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, TimeLine Theatre Company and American Blues Theater. Recent Television appearances include BossMike and Molly and Chicago Fire. Film work includes roles in The Last AirbenderHannibalHigh TideTyping and The Double. For Kate.

Watch & Listen

  1. A Lesson From Aloes

    A Lesson From Aloes

  2. The Grapes Of Wrath

    The Grapes Of Wrath

  3. The Libertine

    The Libertine

  4. Skylight

    Skylight

  5. Cherry Orchard

    Cherry Orchard

  6. The Diary of Anne Frank in Rehearsal

    The Diary of Anne Frank in Rehearsal

  7. The Diary of Anne Frank in Production

    The Diary of Anne Frank in Production

  8. August: Osage County in Rehearsal

    August: Osage County in Rehearsal

  9. August: Osage County in Production

    August: Osage County in Production

  10. The Crucible in Production

    The Crucible in Production

  11. Francis Guinan on Johnnie Walker and Colonel Sanders

    Francis Guinan on Johnnie Walker and Colonel Sanders

  12. Kafka on the Shore in Rehearsal

    Kafka on the Shore in Rehearsal

  13. Kafka on the Shore in Production

    Kafka on the Shore in Production

  14. 33rd Season Kick-Off Celebration

    33rd Season Kick-Off Celebration

  15. The Seafarer in Rehearsal

    The Seafarer in Rehearsal

  16. The Seafarer in Production

    The Seafarer in Production

  17. Art in Rehearsal

    Art in Rehearsal

  18. Art in Production

    Art in Production

  19. The Cast of Art on Yvan

    The Cast of Art on Yvan

  20. The Cast of Art on Marc

    The Cast of Art on Marc

  21. Fake in Rehearsal

    Fake in Rehearsal

  22. Fake in Production

    Fake in Production

  23. A Select Scene from Fake: Scene 1

    A Select Scene from Fake: Scene 1

  24. Fake: A play in two different time periods

    Fake: A play in two different time periods

  25. American Buffalo in Rehearsal

    American Buffalo in Rehearsal

  26. American Buffalo on the Character of "Donny"

    American Buffalo on the Character of "Donny"

  27. American Buffalo on the Character of "Bobby"

    American Buffalo on the Character of "Bobby"

  28. A Select Scene from American Buffalo: Scene 1

    A Select Scene from American Buffalo: Scene 1

  29. A Select Scene from American Buffalo: Scene 2

    A Select Scene from American Buffalo: Scene 2

  30. American Buffalo on the Character of "Teach"

    American Buffalo on the Character of "Teach"

  31. American Buffalo on Working with Amy Morton

    American Buffalo on Working with Amy Morton

  32. Endgame in Rehearsal

    Endgame in Rehearsal

  33. Endgame in Production

    Endgame in Production

  34. A Select Scene from Endgame: Scene 3

    A Select Scene from Endgame: Scene 3

  35. Finding the Humor in Endgame

    Finding the Humor in Endgame

  36. Austin Pendleton directs Time Stands Still

    Austin Pendleton directs Time Stands Still

  37. Time Stands Still in Rehearsal

    Time Stands Still in Rehearsal

  38. Time Stands Still in Production

    Time Stands Still in Production

  39. Time Stands Still Teaser

    Time Stands Still Teaser

  40. Time stands Still Set Tour

    Time stands Still Set Tour

  41. The Book Thief in Rehearsal

    The Book Thief in Rehearsal

  42. The Book Thief in Production

    The Book Thief in Production

  43. <i>THE BIRTHDAY PARTY</i> in Rehearsal

    THE BIRTHDAY PARTY in Rehearsal

  44. <i>THE BIRTHDAY PARTY</i> in Production

    THE BIRTHDAY PARTY in Production

  45. <i>THE BIRTHDAY PARTY</i> Audience Reaction Video

    THE BIRTHDAY PARTY Audience Reaction Video

  46. <i>THE BIRTHDAY PARTY</i> Trailer

    THE BIRTHDAY PARTY Trailer

  47. 2013/14 Season: <i>TRIBES</i>

    2013/14 Season: TRIBES

  48. <i>TRIBES</i> in Rehearsal

    TRIBES in Rehearsal

  49. <i>TRIBES</i> in Production

    TRIBES in Production

  50. <i>TRIBES</i> - Trailer

    TRIBES - Trailer

  51. <i>TRIBES</i> - Audience Response

    TRIBES - Audience Response

  52. NINA RAINE ON <i>TRIBES</i>

    NINA RAINE ON TRIBES

  53. 2014/15 Season - <i>THE NIGHT ALIVE</i>

    2014/15 Season - THE NIGHT ALIVE

  54. <i>THE NIGHT ALIVE</i> in Rehearsal

    THE NIGHT ALIVE in Rehearsal

  55. <i>THE NIGHT ALIVE</i> - Trailer

    THE NIGHT ALIVE - Trailer

Q & A With Francis Guinan

Q. Who is your favorite playwright?
A. Tracy Letts. God, his scripts are so much fun! And oddly enough, you don't get the sense (as you do with playwrights like Tennessee Williams) that there are major characters and minor characters. For example, in Superior Donuts everything had a direct effect on the semi-homeless character, Lady. In a very odd sort of way, the play ends up being about her, as well. And I think that's true of all of Tracy's characters. In August, the play actually is about anybody you care to pick. Everyone has a beginning, middle and an end to their story. That's one of the things I most admire about his writing, besides being heartbreakingly funny.

Q. Which ensemble member do you most enjoying watching as an audience member?
A. Oh, God. Boy, that'd be hard to say. Wow. It's difficult to pick anybody out specifically. If you were to hold me hostage and make me pick somebody it would have to be Laurie Metcalf.

We would sit in rehearsals for The Seafarer and exchange stories about Laurie for half an hour. I saw her in a production years ago of And A Nightingale Sang where she played en-semble member Joan Allen's mother. Joanie gives her the news that she's been shacking up with this British solider (played ensemble member by Tom Irwin), and, the night that I saw the show, Laurie tenuously felt her way downstage right until she could grab hold of a chair to sit down. (Tom Irwin said that they used to dare her to do things in that moment. One night they dared her to pretend like her left foot was nailed to the floor, and she spun in a circle).

She is absolutely convincing. The truth of her performance is absolutely undeniable. Darlene in Balm in Gilead. That 25-minute monologue! The intricacies of her mental process would jump from subject to subject. She has that instinctive sense of what's right in a char-acter or what works in a scene, which is coupled with an innate theatricality that goes for the maximum effect. Emotions appear to creep up on her and take her by surprise. And so they take us by surprise as well.

I'd have to say Laurie. But, you know, I could tell stories about every member of the company. I could watch Al Wilder, John Mahoney and Tom Irwin in The Seafarer. They tease things out of the script that are revelatory of the character's interior life and not always things the character would consciously share. It's as if it escapes. That, I would say, is a consistent trait that I find fascinating about every actor in the company: emotions seem to escape. You get a glimpse. There's this glimmer that you might see from a piece of glass shining from the sunlight and it just happens to take place in front of you.

That is consistent with all the actors in the company. They're really quite wonderful.

Credits & Awards


Film

Hannibal; Guinevere; Apartment Complex; Speed II; Shining Through.

Theatre

Northlight Theatre: Inherit the Wind Geffen Playhouse: God's Man in Texas; The Weir Off-Broadway: As Is Mark Taper Forum: Space; Stuff Happens Royal George Theatre: The Nerd; National Tour of Mass Appeal Ivoryton Playhouse: Sleuth Tamarind Theatre: Black and Blue LA Theatre Works: Oedipus the King

Television

Grey's Anatomy(ABC); CSI: NY(CBS); 3rd Rock From the Sun (NBC); Frasier (NBC); 7 Days (UPN); The Path to War (HBO); Star Trek:Voyager (UPN); The Practice (ABC); Profiler (NBC); Nash Bridges (CBS); That 70's Show (FOX); It's Like… You Know (ABC); Law and Order (NBC); Eerie, Indiana (Scifi Channel); The Mighty Jungle (ABC Family); Murder One (Court TV); George Wallace (TNT); Lansky (HBO); Any Day Now (Lifetime).

Awards

2008 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow

Frequent Collaborators

Hover on an ensemble member to view their collaborations with Francis Guinan.

  1. Alan Wildertest
  2. Laurie Metcalftest
  3. Rondi Reedtest
  4. John Mahoneytest
  5. John Malkovichtest
  6. Jeff Perrytest
  7. Tom Irwintest
  8. Joan Allentest