Tuesday, July 16, 2019

2019 Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona

Last weekend I attended the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona for the second year in a row. I had such a great time with my fellow bloggers from Minnesota Theater Love and Twin Cities Stages last year that we decided to go again this year. If you're looking for a fun Minnesota theater vacation, GRSF is it. Winona is a charming river town that's just a two-hour drive from the Twin Cities, with lots of hotels, restaurants, shops, outdoor activities, and an impressive art museum. And for those of us who love theater, there's truly nothing better that getting away from daily obligations to immerse yourself in theater for a few days. Especially when the theater is so well done, so thoughtful, so inclusive, and so engaging, like it is at GRSF. I don't recall another theater experience where the Managing (Aaron Young) and Artistic (Doug Scholz-Carlson) Directors of the theater can be seen mingling with the audience before, during, and after every performance, and where there are so many opportunities to interact with the artists through various programs and events. It really feels like a fun, festive, community event celebrating theater (mostly but not exclusively written by the Bard). Ticket prices are quite reasonable, with four-show passes ranging from $85 to $140 ($21 to $35 per show). The festival runs through August 4, so you still have time to visit this year. See the GRSF website for all the details, and check out VisitWinona.com for all of the other activities available (if you can tear yourself away from the theater).

Saturday, July 13, 2019

"Legally Blonde" at Lyric Arts

Oh my God! Oh my God, you guys*!! Lyric Arts' production of Legally Blonde is so much fun! I recently wrote that Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant is the perfect fun summer musical (playing at Park Square Theatre through July 28), but now we have a second perfect fun summer musical. Unlike some other summer musicals, Legally Blonde is fresh, modern, fun, and feminist. I had never seen it before (or the movie from which it was adapted) because I'm a bit of a snob about movie-musical adaptations - I prefer original musicals. But I've been missing out! Elle Woods is a 21st Century heroine and role model who turns the stereotype of the dumb blonde on its head (see also Smart Blonde). Lyric Arts' production of Legally Blonde is sharp, funny, well-cast, and just an all around great time.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

"What Would Crazy Horse Do?" by Turtle Theater Collective at Mixed Blood Theatre

"The Turtle Theater Collective is committed to producing high-quality, contemporary work that explores Native experiences and subverts expectations about how and when Native artists can create theater. In addition to producing Indigenous plays, we center Native bodies and voices by situating them within the broader theatrical canon, providing opportunities for Native artists to grow and play."

Monday, July 1, 2019

"George" by Sheep Theater at Phoenix Theater

Celebrate Independence Day with Sheep Theater, who is bringing back their delightfully wacky original comedy George for the July 4th weekend. This show was my first introduction to Sheep four years ago, with their motto of "Original plays. Deranged sincerity," and I've enjoyed many moments of deranged sincerity since. At the time I called George "funny, clever, and irreverent, with jokes about the many things America is best at (giving speeches, celebrating) and how it's OK to lie if it's for the good of the country." Revisiting it, it gave me all of the patriotic feels, watching a bunch of goofballs make fun of our founding fathers (and mothers!) in the most lovingly irreverent way, celebrating all of the freedoms we hold dear, and remembering the ideals this country was founded on (which is easy to forget these days). As my great-grandmother, daughter of Polish immigrants, used to say - hooray for the 4th of July!