You can read all about that fun event here, but even more fun - I finally saw the show! I had seen it two years ago, the first year it was performed by James Sewell Ballet, but Myron changes it up every year to keep it fresh, so while I knew what to expect, it was in some ways a whole new show. In all incarnations of the show, Mama Flo is the only one who speaks, and everyone else expresses themselves beautifully through movement. But this year, since Mama is played by Bradley Greenwald, she also sings. This Nutcracker diverges quite a bit from the original, but it's festive and fun and a great way to ring out 2017 with the final four performances this week Wednesday through Saturday.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
"Myron Johnson's Nutcracker (not so) Suite" by James Sewell Ballet at the Cowles Center
Saturday, December 23, 2017
"Christmas Storiessz V: Silent Night" by Sheep Theater at the Southern Theater
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
"Big Old Rock" at Open Eye Figure Theatre
Minnesota State Arts Board, which makes wonderfully unique and creative art such as this possible for many artists. Big Old Rock is ostensibly about geology, and one geologist in particular, but it's really about so much more than that. It's about transitions, and change, and being OK with where we are right now. It's also funny, playful, thoughtful, and surprisingly poignant. Just a few more performances remain this week; check it out to learn about rocks, and maybe some other stuff too.
Monday, December 18, 2017
"Family Dinner" and "The Mess" at HUGE Improv Theater
HUGE Theater in Uptown. But thanks to the appeal of the annual hit Family Dinner, I made a visit last weekend. And since I was there, I also stayed for the 9:30 show (I'm afraid a 10:30 show is more than this morning person can do, sorry improv-ers). Family Dinner has Friday and Saturday performances for the next two weekends but is virtually sold out. But the other show I caught, The Mess, performs Saturday nights and is also a great option. In fact, just about every night there is something funny going on at HUGE, so check it out sometime to experience something outside of the usual #TCTheater world.
Sunday, December 17, 2017
"Dot" at Park Square Theatre
new play Dot is less of the sugar plums and figgy pudding variety and more of the juicy family dramedy variety. A family gathers at Christmas, adult children and friends come home, finding they have a lot of stuff to deal with. Chief among said stuff is that family matriarch Dotty has Alzheimer's, but everyone in the family has their own stuff going on too, just like life. This is a very real, grounded story of a family with issues (what family is without issues?), a family that loves each other and tries to do what's best, even if they don't know what that is. A fantastic cast under the direction of E.G. Bailey bring this smart, funny, poignant, relatable play to life.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
"Hatchet Lady" by Walking Shadow Theatre Company at Red Eye Theater
Hatchet Lady about temperance activist Carrie Nation is in some ways neither a biography nor a musical. There is music and it is somewhat about Carrie Nation, but it doesn't follow the structure of any musical I've seen. And that's a good thing. I'm at a bit of a loss how to talk about this one, but if you're looking for music-theater storytelling that is outside of the norm, you might want to try to snag a ticket to one of the few remaining performances. Going into its 3rd and final weekend, it seems to have built up quite a following based on word-of-mouth that has transcended the usual theater crowd. It's a wild 70-minute ride.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
A Preview of "Nutcracker (not so) Suite" by James Sewell Ballet at the Cowles Center
described it as "delightfully bizarro." I'm looking forward to revisiting it again, and even better - the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers were invited on a backstage tour of the Cowles Center and a happy hour chat with Bradley. Read on for more on this fun TCTB event, with pictures! And be sure to visit the Cowles Center website for more information (discount tickets available on Goldstar).
Monday, December 11, 2017
"It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" at the St. Paul Hotel
Performances continue through December 24 and are sold out except for a few dates. Or you can listen to a live broadcast of the show on WCCO on December 17 at 7 pm, with a re-broadcast on December 24 at 5 pm.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
"North Pole 1973" at Strike Theater
Strike Theater, "dedicated to building a community for sketch comedy, storytelling, and spoken word." It's been open for Fringe shows for the last two years, but just opened as a home for comedy performances and classes this fall. Founded by Allison Broeren, Mike Fotis, and Joe Bozic (whom you might know from the Minnesota Fringe Festival), it's sure to become the place to go when you're in need of a good laugh (or to learn how to elicit said laugh). And it certainly was that last night, when I attended their first ever holiday* show, North Pole 1973.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
"Annie" at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is any judge of it, this statement is true, and gives one hope for the future. The story of one 11-year-old girl who changes hearts and minds with optimism and determination is an inspiring one, as is the boundless energy and talent of the young females on stage who bring this story to life. Watching Annie last night, I couldn't help but feel nostalgic for the Great Depression, when at least the president cared about the people and developed (with Annie's help of course) a New Deal that would help lift the country out of poverty. A stark contrast to today's reality, when the current resident of the White House seems to care only for the rich, and those in need get served newly crappy deals nearly every day. Maybe we need to send Annie to the Washington to get Democrats and Republicans singing together about the hopeful future of America! In the meantime, head to the Ordway to see this swell production of an American musical theater classic and get your dose of optimism about our female future.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
"Blithe Spirit" at the Guthrie Theater
Guthrie's sublimely entertaining production of Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit. Featuring Guthrie favorites and newcomers in this perfect concoction of a cast, breath-takingly gorgeous design, and the witty words of one of 20th Century England's favorite writers of comedy, Blithe Spirit will keep you warm with laughter on a cold winter's night, and make you forget about the seemingly endless despair happening outside of the theater walls (this is why I prefer to say in the theater as much as possible). Blithe Spirit continues through January 18 and is a hilarious duet partner to that other ghost story across the hall.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
"Chess" by Chameleon Theatre Circle at Gremlin Theatre
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
"Miracle on Christmas Lake" by Actors' Theater of Minnesota at Camp Bar
big fan of Yellow Tree Theatre in general and their four original and very Minnesotan Christmas* plays in particular (see also: A Gone Fishin' Christmas, no seriously go see it, playing now through the end of the year). So I jumped at the chance to see another theater company, Actors Theater of Minnesota, perform the play that started it all - A Miracle on Christmas Lake. Written by Yellow Tree co-founder Jessica Lind Peterson, it's inspired by the real life predicament they faced when they lost the rights to the show they were planning to do and had to come up with something in a short amount of time. This wacky, sweet, ridiculous little play chock full of Minnesota references and stereotypes was the result, and it's great fun to see another company's take on it in the intimate space of Camp Bar.
Monday, December 4, 2017
"Coco's Diary" at the History Theatre
five years ago, Coco's Diary, now with Christmas music and decorations! But it isn't really about Christmas of course, it's about a year in the life of a real live 13-year-old girl in 1927, living in what is now the Governor's Mansion on Summit Avenue in St. Paul. Adapted by Artistic Director Ron Peluso and Bob Beverage (the latter also choosing a selection of period tunes), Coco's Diary is, like Coco herself, quite charming. This play with music gives the audience a glimpse into the life of the wealthy on Summit Avenue in 1927, and reminds us that being 13 is the same no matter when or where you live.
Sunday, December 3, 2017
"The Terror Fantastic" by 20% Theatre Company at the Crane Theater
The Terror Fantastic, about a young gay woman grappling with anxiety and depression, is indeed both terrifying and fantastical. In 20% Theatre Company's production, now playing at the Crane Theater, mental illness is represented by an ever-present monster, the only escape from which is into a fantasy world.
Saturday, December 2, 2017
"A Doll's House" by Orchard Theater Collective at the James J. Hill House
Orchard Theater Collective is making their debut with this piece, and they wisely partnered with #TCTheater favorite Craig Johnson, who adapted the play into a crisp 95 minutes and directs this talented young cast. Taking place in Norway during Christmas of 1879, what's remarkable is how ahead of his time Ibsen was in revealing the difficulties that women faced (and still face) living under the strict and unfair rules of society, and how much this play still resonates today.
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