Saturday, September 25, 2021
the bittersweet Irish love story Bloomsday. Returning to their Main Street Stage in Anoka 21 long months later felt like coming home, even without the familiar smell of popcorn, and with the new normal of showing proof of vaccination and wearing a mask. They haven't been silent during this extended intermission, producing several virtual cabarets and even a fully staged production of Lauren Gunderson's The Revolutionists for virtual viewing. But it's great to be back in that space again. This little theater in the 'burbs has an exciting and ambitious season planned, culminating in yet another regional premiere next summer, the hilarious 2015 Tony-nominated musical about musicals Something Rotten. But first, they're opening the season with the very fun and clever British mystery/comedy The 39 Steps. Welcome back, indeed.
Friday, September 24, 2021
Skeleton Key in February of 2020, a co-production with New Dawn Theatre Company. Their next scheduled show, the new Robin Hood comedy Sherwood, was cancelled due to the pandemic, and now, almost a year and a half later, it's finally onstage at Yellow Tree. But things have changed since then, in the world and in theater. Audiences have to show proof of vaccination (or negative COVID-19 test) and wear masks, and New Dawn Artistic Director Austene Van, who directed Skeleton Key, is the new Artistic Director of Yellow Tree (following the departure of co-founders Jessica and Jason Peterson to the North). But what hasn't changed is that this cozy little theater in a strip mall in Osseo is a warm and welcoming place with wonderful theater that entertains and challenges audiences. The super fun and playful Sherwood is an excellent start to this new chapter of life, theater, and Yellow Tree.
Sunday, September 19, 2021
The Highwaymen), and now it's being told through music. Created by Dan Chouinard in collaboration with T Mychael Rambo, Thomasina Petrus, and Charmin Michelle, featuring music of the era, and utilizing historical photos, Rondo '56: Remembering St Paul's Black Main Street is a celebration of what we had and a memorialization of what was lost. One wonders what our community would look like today if Rondo had been allowed to continue to flourish as an integral part of the greater Twin Cities community, instead of literally splitting it in two and displacing hundreds of Black families. The celebration of Rondo continues today with two performances (click here for details and tickets).
Saturday, September 18, 2021
|photo by Rich Ryan|
Friday, September 17, 2021
To Breed, Or Not to Breed at home. Their follow-up this fall is stories about love in all forms, and since I'm comfortable going to see theater in a vaxxed and masked audience (as most are these days), I was happy to see the first weekend of You Who I Always/Never/Once Loved at the Crane Theater, which is another collection of beautifully honest stories. Performances continue through this Saturday, with another set of storyteller and stories next weekend (click here for details). After the run, they will also make the video recordings available to view online.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Daddy Long Legs at the James J. Hill House (which I saw one and a half times, thanks to the joys of parking in St. Paul in the winter), Minneapolis Musical Theatre is back! Unfortunately, the fun and Fringey Minne-Musicals only ran for one weekend, so if you missed it, you're out of luck. But keep an eye on MMT as they continue to bring us "rare musicals, well done."
Sunday, September 12, 2021
see their full schedule here, which includes one more weekend of performances of The VAXXED and the Furious, featuring some of my (and your) favorite funny people in town.
Saturday, September 11, 2021
vaccine and mask requirements for many venues) than with Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World. His first produced musical from 1995 feels every bit like it was written for this specific moment. But that's great art - it takes on new meanings as our world changes. Especially when interpreted by great artists to speak to the now of it, like this incredible team at Artistry. They've expanded the cast from four to nine, expanded the typically small band to seven, and even hired three directors. Adding these additional voices to the piece only makes it richer, fuller, and more meaningful. If you feel comfortable going into a vaxxed and masked theater (and I understand if you don't; I moved at intermission to a less crowded location in the theater), go check out this beautiful and incredibly moving production, continuing through September 26. Bring your vaccine card, mask, and tissues.
Sunday, September 5, 2021
Click here for more information and to make a pay-what-you-will reservation for today's two sets at Frogtown, or next weekend at Newell Park.
Sunday, August 29, 2021
Last year they teased us with Episode 3, but this year they're presenting the full three-episode saga, and as always with this troupe, it's sheer delight. I caught them near the end of their two-month run in a nearby park, but you can still see them today at Cedar Lake, next weekend in Hastings, or their closing weekend September 11-12 in St. Paul and Minneapolis (see details and schedule here).
Saturday, August 28, 2021
click here for details).
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Monday of Labor Day Weekend of 2014, I drove away from Storyhill Fest at Clearwater Forest Camp, as I had the previous four years, but this time not knowing when I would return. What used to be an annual festival was no longer going to be a regular event. It took seven years (including one pandemic postponement), but this year we finally returned to the idyllic folk music festival in the Brainerd Lakes area of Minnesota. And in the weird way that time and memory work, it felt like I had never left. Settling into my dorm-like room in the lodge, walking the beautiful hiking trails on the grounds, going for a swim, sitting around the campfire (faux this year, because drought), and most of all sitting in a camp chair on a warm (or cool, because Minnesota) late summer day listening to an array of incredibly talented singer/songwriter/storytellers, it all felt so familiar, so real, so right. It felt like coming home, like coming out of a long drought, not of rain but of performing arts. As one of the performers said, we're not out of the woods of this pandemic yet, but for a few days, in this one place, we all came together (with appropriate safety protocols) to share and celebrate music and humanity.