Saturday, September 25, 2021

"The 39 Steps" at Lyric Arts

The last time I saw a play at Lyric Arts was January 2020, 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

"Sherwood" at Yellow Tree Theatre

The last play seen on the Yellow Tree Theatre stage was the powerful drama 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

"Rondo '56: Remembering St Paul's Black Main Street" at Crooners Supper Club

The story of Rondo, St. Paul's thriving Black neighborhood that was destroyed with the construction of I94 in the '50s and '60s, has been told before (e.g., in History Theatre's 2017 play 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

"Animate" by Mixed Blood Theatre at the Como Zoo

photo by Rich Ryan
Earlier this year, Jack Reuler announced his retirement as Artistic Director of Mixed Blood Theatre, a company he founded in 1976. Mixed Blood has truly become a model of inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility in theater, amplifying often unheard voices on stage and off, and making sure everyone is able to be in the audience with its Radical Hospitality program. But before he retires, Jack is directing another incredible site-specific piece. The new play Animate, written by Ken LaZebnik, is an immersive ambulatory play at the Como Zoo that is, of course, about a zoo. Specifically about the ethics of zoos, accepting donations from wealthy people of questionable character, and "does the good of the many supersede the good of the individual," human or animal. It's an impressive logistical feat, features a ton of #TCTheater talent, and asks some big questions without providing easy answers. In fact, the audience is asked to provide their own answers to the big questions of the show. Unfortunately, the entire (free) run is sold out, but stay tuned in case more dates are added (click here for details).

Friday, September 17, 2021

"You Who I Always/Never/Once Loved" by Fortune's Fool Theatre at the Crane Theater

Last fall, Fortune's Fool Theatre presented a beautiful collection of storytelling pieces by local artists around the topic of having or not having children. They did it as safely as possible, but since the pandemic was still raging I watched the video recordings of 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

"Minne-Musicals" by Minneapolis Musical Theatre at The Hennepin and The Chambers

A year and a half after their exquisitely lovely production of the sweet two-person musical 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

"The VAXXED and the Furious" at Bryant-Lake Bowl

It feels so good to return to Bryant-Lake Bowl and Theater, the quirky little theater behind a bowling alley in Uptown, 19 months after seeing my last pre-pandemic show there. It's primarily a home for comedy, although I've also seen plays and musicals by small theater companies there over the years. The restaurant and bowling alley have been open for a while, but they're just now returning to live programming in the theater (with proof of vaccination required). You can 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

"Songs for a New World" at Artistry

There's no question we're entering into a new world, after a tumultuous year and a half that included a global pandemic we're still very much in the middle of, but starting to learn how to safely navigate; a racial reckoning; a contentious election and attempted coup; and fires, floods, and other natural disasters occurring at an alarming rate. So what better way to begin the 2021-2022 #TCTheater season (which can hopefully continue with the help of 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

"Hopscotch: Pop-Up Plays about the Future" by Wonderlust Productions at Frogtown Farm and Park

Wonderlust Productions' newest project is popping up in St. Paul parks this weekend and next. They asked an intrepid group of playwrights to imagine a future world. Which, as co-Artistic Directors Leah Cooper and Alan Berks admitted in their pre- and mid-show talks, is a difficult thing to do right now. But these ten playwrights, some of #TCTheater's best, did just that. The result is Hopscotch, a series of ten ten-ish-minute plays presented in two sets. I caught one set on a perfectly gorgeous late summer afternoon in Frogtown Farm and Park, and it was an entertaining, inspiring, and at times worrisome look at our future, and through the imagined hindsight, our present. 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

"A Pickup Truck Opera; Volume One: The Odyssey" by Mixed Precipitation at Various Outdoor Locations

While Mixed Precipitation's annual tradition of the "picnic operetta" is on hold due to the pandemic, last year they premiered a new fun and accessible opera mash-up experience - the Pickup Truck Opera. Driving a 2011 royal blue Ford pickup to parks around and outside of the Twin Cities, and performing out of the bed of the truck (have opera - will travel), they mash up Monteverdi's 17th Century opera The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland with the songs of Dolly Parton. 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

"The Uncertainty Principle" at Open Eye Theatre

Live performances at Open Eye Theatre's charming and intimate stage in South Minneapolis returned this week. Whether it's one of their work, or one of the guest artists they support, a show at Open Eye is always going to be unique and interesting. Teresa Mock's solo piece The Uncertainty Principle fits the bill. It's a memory play, not just about her memory, but also her father Paul's, a Vietnam vet. In this funny, poignant, moving, and very personal play, she explores the idea of memory, legacy, and multi-generational trauma. And since this is Open Eye (formerly Figure) Theatre, there is also puppetry to help tell the story. Only three performances of this moving piece remain (click here for details).

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Storyhill Fest 2021

On the 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.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Ghostlight Series: "Music to Our Eyes: Designers Sing Out" streaming from Theater Latte Da

The final virtual cabaret in Theater Latte Da's excellent "Ghostlight Series" has now been released, with all five available to view through August 31. Music to Our Eyes: Designers Sing Out is a beautiful conclusion to what has been an in-depth look at artists and what music, theater, and performance means in our lives. Every one of the stories of these four designers brought tears to my eyes as they talked about their art. If you've been to a Theater Latte Da show, particularly in the last five or so years in their new home, the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis, you know how important design is in their storytelling. Whether it's the wacky carnival world of Assassins, or the "seedy elegance" of Chicago, or the multi-level train station of Once, the set, costume, hair, prop, lighting, and sound design in a Latte Da show is extremely detailed, specific, and thoughtful. It's about time these designers, with such familiar names from reading programs but whose faces we rarely see, get their time in the spotlight.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: Wrap-up and Favorites

After a very long extended intermission from theater, which included a 2020 all-virtual Minnesota Fringe Festival, live and in-person performing arts began to return this summer. I saw a dozen shows in July, three of them indoors (a first in nearly 16 months). Then came August, and a hybrid Fringe Festival, with most shows occurring virtually, along with independently produced in person shows. 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "Last Summer's Love"

Day: 7

Show: 16

Performance Type: In Person

Location: 11 Wells Spirits Distillery (indoors)

Length: 60 minutes

Title: Last Summer's Love

By: Graber Productions

Summary: A sort of concert version of a new musical about star-crossed lovers.

Highlights: The show is chock full of incredible songs, in a sort of indie-folk-pop style. A very loose and not very original story ties the songs together, in which a man and woman fall in love despite being in relationships. The man moves to California and they try to move on, but they can't forget "last summer's love." I would love to see the story fleshed out a little into a true and full musical, but right now it's all about the music, which is really great. Watching the show feels like being at a concert; the cast (Adri Mehra, Cherelle-Renee Childs, Sylvia Michels, Elliott Graber, Ninchai Nok-Chiclana, and Jack Bonko) performs with mic stands in a traditional band set-up, and are loose and playful as they engage the audience with banter. The cast also doubles as the band, with most of them playing instruments, in that great tradition of Once (of which this show is a little reminiscent) where there is no separation between actors and musicians, between story and music. Both of the leads (Sylvia and Elliott) just shine on stage, very appealing with gorgeous vocals that blend well together. The space in the distillery is very hip, strewn with tapestries and hanging lights, and a cute baby blue vintage bike that is featured in the lyrics and story. The Fringe isn't the Fringe without a new musical, and this one prettily fills the bill, the perfect ending to what has been an entirely satisfactory, if smaller and less exciting than usual, Minnesota Fringe Festival.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "Impulse"

Day: 6

Show: 15

Performance Type: In Person

Location: Southern Theater (indoors, masks required)

Length: 45 minutes

Title: Impulse

By: Manifest Dance

Summary: Three new original dance pieces performed by a talented company of dancers.

Highlights: One of my favorite things about Fringe is that it gives me an opportunity to see dance, which as a busy theater blogger in the before times I rarely had time to do. This is the only in person dance show at this year's Fringe, and if this is an indication of the #TCDance community, they're coming out of this pandemic really strong and ready to create beautiful meaningful work. Creator and choreographer Sam Lewis performs a gorgeous solo piece sandwiched between two group dances, which are also performed and co-choreographed by Isaiah Langowski, Sam Meryhew, Joe Tennis, and Vivian Wolkoff. The choreography is modern, unique, evocative, and beautiful to watch. The dancers are so graceful and specific in their intentional movements, and I love the way they use the space at the Southern Theater, perhaps the best dance venue in town. Unfortunately there's only one performance remaining, and if you don't already have a ticket for tonight's show, you're out of luck. I'll leave you with their description of the show: "After being cooped up for over a year we are ready to come out swinging. This show is our screams, our cries, and our celebration. For ourselves, for lives lost, for lives begun. 2020 was perspective."

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "Breakneck Comedy of Errors"

Day: 6

Show: 14

Performance Type: Virtual

Location: Streaming Anytime

Length: 60 minutes

Title: Breakneck Comedy of Errors

By: Timothy Mooney Repertory Theatre

Summary: A one-man one-hour retelling of Shakespeare's wacky tale of twins - The Comedy of Errors.

Highlights: Timothy Mooney, who also brought us Breakneck Hamlet at the 2015 Fringe, among others, now brings that breakneck speed through a full Shakespeare play to the virtual world. It's no less impressive, perhaps even more so, because now he only has the change of hat or wig, along with voice and facial expressions, to create all these different characters, rather than a full performance space. Scene by scene, he leads us through the ridiculous story of two sets of twins separated at birth who by happenstance are reunited with each other and their parents (soap operas got nothin' on Shakespeare). He also manages to provide historical background to the story, and most amusingly, commentary on the story, characters, and dialogue. In a weird way, it's actually a great and accessible way to be introduced to or gain more understanding of a Shakespeare play. An this one in particular, with all it's mistaken identities and plot twists, is particularly fun. One look at the detailed show image should tell you that.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Zephyr Theatre's ShakesFaire - "Shakespeare LOL" and "As You Like It"

I'm interrupting this Fringe coverage to bring you news of FREE Shakespeare in the Park! Stillwater's Zephyr Theatre is presenting three shows as part of their annual Shakespeare festival, held in lovely Valley View Park just outside of Stillwater. I saw two of the three shows last night, the first of only five performances this weekend only. It's a gorgeous location with a natural and partly shaded slope for audience viewing (bring a chair or blanket), and really fantastic performances of these two great shows. Read on for more about Shakespeare LOL and As You Like It, then make plans to head out to the park this weekend to enjoy some great outdoor theater, which also includes a puppet show by Open Eye Theatre. Click here for details, but reservations are not required (although donations are accepted).

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "Campsite"

Day: 5

Show: 13

Performance Type: In Person

Location: Boom Island Park (outdoors)

Length: 40 minutes

Title: Campsite

By: Lady Z Productions

Summary: Four friends, old and new, go on a camping trip.

Highlights: Boom Island Park is a gorgeous location that's perfectly fitting for this story that takes place in a campsite in a park. They perform in a shelter with a fireplace in the middle (unlit, because summer heat), and it's easy to imagine that this is the place where lifelong BFFs Terry (Colin Healey) and Jimmy (Maureen L. Bourgeois, who also created and directed the piece) are camping with their friend Allison (Leah Indrelie) and new friend/set-up Debby (Sarah Catcher). Not a whole lot happens in the show, there's a lot of talk about setting up campsites, tomorrow's plans, and what a great guy Terry is. Turns out Jimmy and Allison are conspiring to set their almost-40 friend up with Debby, which makes for a lot of awkwardly sweet moments. The storytelling feels very casual and naturalistic, almost improvised at times, with multiple conversations occasionally going on at once. It's a sweet little inconsequential story about friends, and the free snacks are great!

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "The Scribbler"

Day: 4

Show: 12

Performance Type: In Person

Location: Bakken Museum (outdoors)

Length: 70 minutes

Title: The Scribbler

By: Kyle Munshower

Summary: A comical fantasy about a world in which the King declares it illegal to read and write, with that task falling to one man only (or the woman behind him).

Highlights: This is a really fun, broad comedy, which is obvious by the name of the buffoonish King - Scoopty Woop (played by writer and co-director Kyle Munshower). The titular Scribbler (or Scribner as he tries to insist) Bartleby (played by the other co-director Kevin Duong) has a secret, which is that it's actually his sister Athena (Sela Weber) who is the one doing all the reading and writing, women not being allowed to read and write, natch. When the King, prone to malapropisms and irrational outbursts, sends his loyal steward Stuart (Brennan LaFeber) to translate a letter from the Queen of neighboring country Luxembrovia (Teri Schafer), the siblings find out that war is brewing, and try to stop it. This leads to a confrontation with the King, who cannot be calmed down even by his beleaguered therapist (Laura Ricci), and the Queen, who isn't as benevolent as she seems. It's a ridiculous fantastical farce of a tale, well executed by the cast, with a nice use of live music in the storytelling (Griffin McEnery on fiddle and various other noisemakers), lots of clever and silly wordplay, and more than a little of Sheep Theater's trademark "deranged sincerity" (with whom Kyle has previously worked).

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "Turnabout Musical"

Day: 4

Show: 11

Performance Type: In Person

Location: Phoenix Theater (inddoors, masks required)

Length: 2 hours 15 minutes

Title: Turnabout Musical

By: Albino Squirrel Productions

Summary: A "fan-written parody" musical based on the Ace Attorney video game series.

Highlights: I'm old and uncool, so I don't even know what a video game series is, much less where to find it or how to play (watch?) it. But it seems to have a built in fan base; the young women behind me were talking about the different characters, scenes, and songs as if they knew all about it. Even though that wasn't the case for me, I found it to be a fun and entertaining show. In a world where trials last at most three days and are decided by a judge because of an increase in crime (scary thought), underdog defense attorney Phoenix Wright (Christian LaBissoniere) works to free the innocent. The musical is a series of trials, each one lasting a few scenes/songs, often featuring defendants we met in an earlier episode. Since I did not see the runtime hidden on the "more information" tab on the show page and assumed it was 60-ish minutes like Fringe shows typically are, I had to leave halfway through the second act to get to my next scheduled show. But I got the gist of the accusation-trial-Phoenix wins formula. The huge and talented cast delightfully ham it up playing these broad crime characters, and do a good job with the score, singing unmiked to a recorded track. I would have preferred a trimmed down 60-minute version that adheres to the spirit of the Fringe Festival, but it's a great effort on a novel idea.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "Compromised"

Day: 4

Show: 10

Performance Type: In Person

Location: Phoenix Theater (indoors, masks required)

Length: 50 minutes

Title: Compromised

By: Reservoir Frogs 

Summary: A long-form improv show based on audience prompts.

Highlights: The show description is "An improvised tale of greed, lust, hubris, and failure. A dark comedy of people letting their ambitions get them in over their heads." Using the suggestions "ice cream," "post office," and "lawyer/client," this team of improvisors (Adam Boutz, Jenny Benusa, Rob Ward, Amy Zajack, Andy Christian, Heather Jo Raiter, Mickaylee Shaughnessy, and Mike Deneen) created just that, in a world centered around a small town post office that was being shut down, sending all of its employees scurrying. There were bees and bee-keepers, junk mail scams, real estate, a hit man, and arson. But who knows what you'll see when you go see the show, that's the fun of improv.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "Open Your Eyes, Be Bully-wise!: An Anti-Bullying Spectacular"

Day: 4

Show: 9

Performance Type: In Person

Location: Phoenix Theater (indoors, masks required)

Length: 60 minutes

Title: Open Your Eyes, Be Bully-wise!

By: An Alleged Theatre Company 

Summary: An edutainment show about bullying, how to recognize it, and why you shouldn't be a bully.

Highlights: This is a ridiculous show, in the best way. Creators Jake Mierva, J. McIntyre Godwin, and Danylo Loutchke play characters with their same name, but hopefully are nothing like them. The show opens with a hilarious parody of YMCA, like an anti-bullying PSA. They then proceed to educate the audience about bullying, all while Jake and Mc are subtly, and then not so subtly, bullying Danylo. There is audience participation in the form of questions for the audience, confessions to Santa, and a beach ball Q&A about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There are skits and ads for their sponsor HERTZ, which they transform into a handy acronym about bullying, and more songs. It's a lot of silly fun, with the performers fully committing to the concept and these over-the-top characters (smoothly responding to audience prompts), culminating in an important lesson learned by all.     

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "On Air: The Wuppet Time Murders"

Day: 4

Show: 8

Performance Type: Virtual

Location: Streaming Anytime

Length: 60 Minutes  

Title: On Air: The Wuppet Time Murders

By: Melancholics Anonymous

Summary: A delightful spoof of true crime documentaries that features gruesome murder of puppets on the set of a local cable children's weather educational show.

Highlights: I loved this group's show at the virtual Fringe last year, the sweet and poignant children's grief counseling session, so I was eager to see more of their work. This doesn't bear much resemblance to last year's show, except for the clever concept and spot-on execution. With deadpan seriousness, a true crime documentarian (voiced by Claire Chenoweth) investigates multiple murders that happened in 1999 on the set of a children's puppet show called Wuppet Time (a questionable show that cheerily warned children about snow-related disasters and head trauma from falling staircases). Like any good docuseries, it has interviews with survivors, found footage of events, and people obsessed with the crime who have tried to piece together what happened on that tragic day. The truly funny and absurd thing is that the weather puppets in the show (played by Claire Chenoweth, Gillian Gauntt, and Matthew Humason) are treated as people - the victims and possible perpetrators of the crime. Watching a jaded puppet of a raindrop smoking a cigarette as they reminisce about a tragic event in their youth is just ridiculously amusing. As are the two humans in the cast (played by co-creators Rachel Ropella and Timothy Kelly), one of whom is a controlling jerk with anger issues, the other of whom tries to share the nuance of the situation. Like Avenue Q, casting these sorts of familiar human dramas in puppets just makes everything funnier.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "For a Limited Time Only"

Day: 3

Show: 7

Performance Type: Virtual

Location: Streaming Anytime

Length: 35 minutes

Title: For a Limited Time Only

By: The Feral Theatre Company

Summary: A $5.99 unlimited breadstick deal at the Italian Garden Factory turns into a nightmare for a couple when they're told they cannot leave until they finish the bread.

Highlights: Because nothing lasts forever, except for bread of course. Written by Daniel Prillaman and directed by Isabella Dunsieth, this absurdist dark comedy imagines a world in which the promise of unlimited breadsticks is a threat. Arlo (Christopher Jenkins) and Val (Sky Turiello) are stuffed after their dinner and cannot possibly eat another bite, and therein lies the danger. Their server (Daniel Collette) tells them he can't bring the bill until they finish the bread, and then he brings them more bread. They decide to just leave, only to discover there are no doors. All of their plans for an escape fail, including calling 911 (no signal) and violence (can't do much damage with a butter knife). Eventually they resign themselves to the fact that they're never getting out, and begin living their life together in the restaurant. A sweet, believable couple and an amusing rumination on making the most of the life you're given.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "AWAY, NOW - The World's Most Desired Destination"

Day: 3

Show: 6

Performance Type: Virtual

Location: Streaming Anytime

Length: 60 minutes

Title: AWAY, NOW - The World's Most Desired Destination

By: Theatre Mobile

Summary: This video travel guide of a mythical place called Away, Now, where everyone wants to go, is a collection of songs, stories, and many puns.

Highlights: I loved Paul and Erika's House Show at last year's all-virtual Fringe, so I was eager to check out more work by this Cincinnati-based duo, created in their apartment. They've actually done AWAY, NOW as a live show in a couple of places this summer, but they also created a virtual version using all of the charming tricks and techniques they discovered making last year's show. This one is pure silliness, including some great silly songs, like the man who fell in love with 3:12am. It's all framed as a travel guide to the city of Away, in the county of How 'Bout, in the state of Now. Where smellsniffing is recommended when you get tired of sightseeing, the dead end road is an endangered species, people are not ashamed when their feet fall asleep and snore, and the letters c-o-n are pronounced but (that's but-cerning). They again close the show with a moment of poignancy, that if you have half of a heart, you can fill the other half with patience, kindness, and listening, as we contemplate What Next. But mostly, it's just a lot of fun.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "The Darger Project aka The Darger Project"

Day: 3

Show: 5

Performance Type: Virtual

Location: Streaming Anytime

Length: 45 minutes

Title: The Darger Project aka The Darger Project

By: The Winding Sheet Outfit

Summary: Using the reclusive artist Henry Darger as a jumping off point, Fringe darlings The Winding Sheet Outfit give us a glimpse behind their process and what it's like to be an artist in isolation.

Highlights: The website warns us that this show is not about Henry Darger, and director Amber Bjork warns us in the piece that it's not even a show. What it is is a fascinating look inside the company that brought us The Memory Box of the Sisters Fox, You Are Cordially Invited to the Life and Death of Edward Lear, et al., and how they create their collaborative works, often based on historical figures or artists, and often breaking the fourth wall. It starts with an introduction of the ensemble (Amber along with André Johnson, Jr., Boo Segersin, Derek Lee Miller, Kayla Dvorak Feld, Kristina Fjellman, and Megan Campbell Lagas), recorded in each of their homes (whilst holding a creepy doll). We also see some of their the zoom rehearsal/collaborations, as well as footage of the cast in character (dressed in baby doll dresses and bloomers) in what would have been the Henry Darger show, illustrating some of the conversations. Each cast member talks about Darger, how they can relate him (including a list of what things they collect), and what this pandemic has been like as artist who is unable to make art in the way they normally do. The piece is both very well constructed in an organized fashion to tell a story, and raw, unrehearsed, and vulnerable. It's insightful and silly, a lovely look at one of my favorite Fringe companies.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "Channel"

Day: 2

Show: 4

Performance Type: In Person

Location: Crane Theater (indoors, masks required)

Length: 45 minutes

Title: Channel

By: Dogwatch

Summary: A lighting designer is alone in a theater late at night, working her first show in a year and a half, dealing with family and work issues, and ghosts.

Highlights: This is why I love the Fringe. Experimental work created by local artists combining their varied talents, that you probably wouldn't see elsewhere. The show is part very real and grounded character study, and part ghost story achieved by lighting and sound effects. The program notes that the show was "conceptualized by [director] Larissa Netterlund and created collaboratively with the cast and crew." It's almost a solo show, with Elizabeth Efteland playing the lighting designer, and creating such a real and fully formed character as she goes about her work, often in silence. But not entirely solo, because stage manager Kate Bender makes a brief appearance and is very busy behind the scenes, and the sound and lighting effects play a huge role in the show (technical direction and design by Shannon Elliot). This is essentially a site-specific piece; it takes place in a theater very like the Crane (to which, BTW, it's so wonderful to return after nearly two years). So the lighting designer is really in the space, running up and down stairs, going through doors and coming back in others; it almost feels like we're just eavesdropping on what's really happening. Through a series of voice mails and video chats, we learn that the character lives with her mother, who seems to be suffering from some kind of dementia-related illness, which limits her time at work. Particularly telling are when she records a message that gets a little too vulnerable, deletes it, and records a milder version. Things get weird when the voice mails begin to play over the sound system in a creepy loopy/echo-y kind of way, asking: Why are you here? What do you need? Are you alone? You can watch the show virtually via a live-stream, but if you're comfortable seeing it in person, put on a mask and head to the Crane Theater for the full 360-degree chilling experience.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "Meemaw McPhearson's Magic Mushrooms"

Day: 2

Show: 3

Performance Type: In Person

Location: Gluek Park (outdoors)

Length: 55 minutes

Title: Meemaw McPhearson's Magic Mushrooms

By: Brick by Brick Players

Summary: A family returns to their favorite cabin in the woods after the death of their father/husband/son, and it's complicated.

Highlights: This is a great family dramedy created by young artists (playwright Grace Ward, director Hadley Evans Nash) that features a multi-generational cast. We have the titular Meemaw (Kathleen Winters), mother of the deceased; the newly widowed Peggy (Gina Sauer); her teenage daughters Burgundy (Simone Reno) and Lily-Pearl (Sarah Anne Munson); prodigal son Roper (Timothy Kelly), who shows up with new girlfriend Lena (Gillian Gaunt) in tow; and camp employee Toby (Dan Patton), whose known the family for decades. To say they have issues is putting it mildly. Peggy mourns her husband, but cheated on him; Meemaw resents Peggy for changing her son; the girls are thrilled to see their brother, yet resentful that he's been away so long; and Lena is just trying to fit into this family unit. They argue, they run away, they see Big Foot and a puppet show in the woods, but in the end this family loves each other and is there for each other, even when it's hard and messy. The engaged and present cast really feels like a family, and although it's not a musical, music is incorporated nicely into the storytelling. Bonus: the setting is gorgeous in a pretty little park on the Mississippi.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "The Convent of Pleasure"

Day: 1

Show: 2

Title: The Convent of Pleasure

By: Theatre Pro Rata

Performance Type: Live In Person

Location: Wood Lake Nature Center Amphitheater (outdoors)

Length: 90 minutes

Summary: A hilarious modern adaptation of the 17th Century play of the same name about a woman who forsakes the company of men, founding a commune of women who dedicate their life to pleasure.

Highlights: Theatre Pro Rata got their start at the Minnesota Fringe Festival 20 years; one of the many benefits of this festival is that it supports artists in such a way that allows companies like this to form and expand beyond the festival that birthed them. Local playwright/actor/comedian/baker Heather Meyer's play is one of those "ghost plays" that was supposed to premiere in the summer of 2020, and happily it is finally seeing the light of day. This fantabulous all-female cast really brings out all of the humor in the script (of which there is much), as well as the emotion in the sweet love story between Lady Happy (the delightful Boo Segersin), who uses the money her father left her when he died to create the Convent and live only for the immediate pleasures of all of the senses, and Princess Principle (a serene Megan Kim), who loves Lady Happy but longs for commitment. Kelsey Laurel Cramer, Nissa Nordland Morgan, and Taj Ruler play Lords Somewhat, Sortof, and Soso, who try to woo the ladies, devilishly twirling their greasepaint mustaches. Ankita Ashrit, Lynda Dahl, and Kayla Dvorak Feld flit across the stage and grounds as Lady Happy's companions, while Meri Golden frets as her mistress of accounts. And can we talk about the costumes? So fun, colorful, and playful, with flowers and hats and frills to spare (designed by Mandi Johnson). There's a reason I chose this show to see on the first night of the Fringe - a company that's been doing good work for 20 years, a strong cast, the feminist theme, and the promise of laughs make this a must-see.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "Fruit Flies & Friends"

Day: 1

Show: 1

Title: Fruit Flies & Friends

By: The Fourth Wall Ensemble

Performance Type: Virtual

Location: Streaming Anytime

Length: 60 minutes

Summary: The team behind the national Fringe hit Fruit Flies Like a Banana collaborates with their equally talented friends to create a collection of short pieces combining classical music, movement, and theater.

Highlights: I never miss a chance to see the Massachusetts-based company The Fourth Wall Ensemble, even if it's a virtual show a year and a half into the virtual theater world that's growing a bit tedious. This ensemble of flute (Hilary Abigana), trombone (C. Neil Parsons), and percussion (Greg Jukes) mixes classical music, acrobatics, theater, poetry, boomwhackers, and other unexpected things in such an innovative way that it's irresistible. While they have recently returned to live performance, this format allows them to safely create and collaborate with each other and with friends and colleagues from the Fringe scene, many of whom will be familiar to Minnesota Fringe audiences. This show is a collection of short pieces, mostly in the now familiar zoom box style, featuring all instrumentals or with vocals, sometimes accompanied by dance or movement, or spoken word, or imagery. It's a wonderfully eclectic mix with that familiar Fruit Flies magic but incorporating some new energy too. 

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

"Xanadu" by Duluth Playhouse at the NorShor Theatre

I've been to the North Shore four times in the last 14 months. During a time when my two favorite things posed a serious health risk - theater and travel - I travelled locally, Minnesota State Parks permit in hand, or rather, on my car. Now that things are starting to look brighter (but only if we continue to vaccinate and follow masking guidelines), I was able to combine my two favorite things. Duluth Playhouse is back and I just happened to be in town for closing weekend of their production of Xanadu. It's such a fun show that's so silly and ridiculous, but its themes about "the human experience rendered comprehensible through art" and a magical place defined by love and creation are really quite poignant right now. This talented young cast fully embraces the joy and camp of Xanadu, making this a celebratory return to theater. This production has closed, but they've got a full schedule of shows planned both at the beautifully restored NorShor Theatre and at the smaller edgier Underground Theatre. If you're planning a trip to the North Shore, visit their website to see what's playing.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

"The Music Man" at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres opened their production of The Music Man in early March of 2020, when I was out of town on vacation in paradise, aka New Zealand. I was scheduled to see it mid-March when I returned, but we know how that story goes. Fast-forward through 16 long months to their re-opening a few weeks ago, and I was finally able to see the show. It was only my second time inside a theater since I left town in late February of 2020, and my first large-scale musical with a full house. I attended with my mom, aunties, and cousins, and in the middle of the first act one of them leaned over to me and said "it's so good I can hardly stand it!" I couldn't agree more. It was a very emotional experience for me, watching a huge group of talented performers (many of whom I've watched on stage for years) doing what they do best, with a few hundred people in the same space experiencing it live. Something that I used to take for granted, but no longer will. And I can't think of a better show with which to return than The Music Man, a celebration of the importance of music, community, connection, and working together towards a common goal, all things that have been sorely missing of late. It's a fantastic production from start to finish, and such a joy to be back. Tickets are on sale through the end of the year, so make your plans to visit River City!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

"Mamma Mia!" by Zephyr Theatre at Lowell Park

2021 is THE summer for fantastic outdoor* theater, and Zephyr Theatre's Mamma Mia! is high on that list. The Stillwater theater has been around for a few years, drawing top talent from #TCTheater, but this was my first experience with them. It will definitely not be my last. What's better than walking around charming riverside Stillwater, shopping, eating, and drinking, followed by outdoor theater performed on a stage with the St. Croix River and the historic lift bridge in the background?! In normal times they perform inside the Minnesota Zephyr Train Depot, but this summer they're opening their "Broadway by the Bridge" series with a show that's full of joy (as Artistic Director Calyssa Hall said before the show), Mamma Mia! Perhaps a bit of a guilty pleasure, this long-running hugely successful jukebox musical that spawned two movies (and counting) is so infectious with it's fun, familiar story-songs and heart-warming stories of female friendship and celebrating different kinds of families that you just can't help but love it. And this lovely and talented cast brings out all of the joy, fun, warmth, and humor of the piece, made extra specially poignant by the fact that it's likely the cast and audience's first return to theater after a very long extended intermission. That's a celebration in itself. The only downside of Mamma Mia! is that it runs this weekend only, and I do recommend buying tickets in advance (read: now) because it's close to selling out. Watch for the next "Broadway by the Bridge" in early August; I hear they're doing Shakespeare's As You Like It (dates and details TBA).

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Ghostlight Series: "The Rap Pack" streaming from Theater Latte Da

With so much summer outdoor live performance going on right now (click here for a full list), I almost forgot about Theater Latte Da's Ghostlight Series of virtual cabarets. Beginning in January, when things were still pretty dire in the pandemic world, they began releasing 30-minute virtual cabarets, with a new one coming out about every other month. They released the fourth show a few weeks ago and I watched it over the weekend. It's so different from the other shows, which have all been unique, and it's so much fun. The Rap Pack features a group of the same name, consisting of rappers GQ (Gregory Qaiyum), JQ (Jeffrey Qaiyum), Jax (Jackson Doran), and Pos (Postell Pringle). Their show is an engaging mix of comedy and hip hop done in that famous "Rat Pack" style.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

"Company" by Lakeshore Players Theatre in the parking lot of Hanifl Performing Arts Center

"Company! Lots of Company! Life is Company! Love is Company!"

It's been a very long time since most of us have experienced this sort of company. Even an introvert who enjoys her own company is craving the company of other humans about now. And golly does it feel good to be in the company of a full audience enjoying a wonderful performance of Sondheim's Company, which is all about company, community, friendship, relationships, and togetherness. During the pandemic, White Bear Lake-based Lakeshore Players Theatre produced a number of new productions filmed for virtual viewing. But Company is their first live in-person show, performed on a very professional looking temporary stage in the large parking lot* behind the Hanifl Performing Arts Center (one of the benefits of theater in the suburbs - a free and spacious parking lot!). A gorgeous Minnesota summer evening, a talented cast, a Sondheim favorite, lots of company... what more could one ask for (other than a live band)?! The short run ends on July 25, don't miss it!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

2021 Summer Outdoor #TCTheater and More!

photo taken by me in the BWCA (no filter, it's just that gorgeous)
Updated July 17
I've long believed that one of the best things about a Minnesota summer (besides lakes, like the one at left in the BWCA) is the opportunity for watching outdoor performances. Every summer there are many great options, from music to plays and more. But this year, when outdoors feels like the safest place to be, and we're starved for live in-person entertainment after a year (and counting) of theater closures due to the pandemic, outdoor performances are absolutely necessary to get us through to that joyous day when we can return to the theater indoors. Below is a list of outdoor shows in #TCTheater (and beyond) planned for this spring/summer/fall. I'll continue to update this list as I hear of more, and please let me know via email (cherryandspoon@gmail.com), the comment section below, or social media if there are any I've missed.

Friday, July 16, 2021

"Islander" by Theatre Elision at Elision Playhouse

Theatre Elision could not have chosen a better piece for their post-covid return to the stage than the two-person a capella musical Islander, a recent hit from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. And I could not have chosen a better show for my first time seeing a live performance inside a theater in 508 days (but who's counting?). Theatre Elision has been around for a little over four years and fills the niche of small-cast, one-act, rarely done or original musicals with a mostly female cast and/or creative team. They opened their new space just off Highway 100 in Crystal less than a year before the pandemic, and it's a lovely small venue that feels safe to return to with a masked and not too crowded audience. The feeling of being back inside the theater was indescribably wonderful and surreal. Islander is a brilliant piece of music-theater and just the kind of thing that Elision excels at. It's a sweet little story, fantastical yet grounded in characters that feel real, and musically gorgeous. The show runs for three weeks, longer than their usual short runs due to a reduced audience size, and I highly recommend you check them out and celebrate the beginning of the return of #TCTheater (click here for info and tickets).

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

2021 Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona

A true sign that our performing arts are back and stronger than ever, Great River Shakespeare Festival returns for its 17th season this summer, after taking a hiatus in 2020. It's a bit of an abbreviated festival this year, with only three shows instead of the usual four, all performed outdoors*, and no in-person additional events, conversations, or presentations. But it's still such a hopeful indicator that normal life is returning. I saw all three shows on a rare Minnesota July weekend that saw high temps only in the '70s, and it could not have been better. In a way, doing Shakespeare outdoors on the banks of the Great River is what this festival always should have been (although I don't think anyone will complain about a return to climate-controlled bug-free theater next year). And as we've seen so many theater companies do in the last 16 months or so, GRSF has taken the limitations presented to them in this situation and creatively used them to better the work. Perhaps even more so this year than ever before, a weekend vacation to beautiful riverside Winona (just a two-hour drive from the Twin Cities) to see some great theater is a wonderful idea for a getaway**.

Friday, July 9, 2021

"An Evening of Show Tunes with Tyler Michaels King and Friends" at The Belvedere at Crooners Supper Club

Back at Crooners Supper Club's new outdoor venue The Belvedere for the 5th time this year, I saw a remarkable collection of showtunes performed by a remarkable group of #TCTheater artists, and it healed my soul a little after this long theater-less time. What really stood out to me, beyond the fact that each one of these performers is a superstar, is that musical theater can truly convey the full range of human emotion. And we went through all of it last night, from laughter to tears and everything in between. It's been quite a year for all of us, and An Evening of Show Tunes with Tyler Michaels King and Friends provided a cathartic release as well as a hope that we will come out of this stronger and better, and soon. Click here for a full list of shows at Crooners (including two indoor spaces as well), and if you missed Tyler and friends this week, you have another chance to see them again on August 26.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

"What to Send Up When It Goes Down" at Pillsbury House Theatre (outdoors)

Pillsbury House Theater returns to live theater with the play What to Send Up When It Goes Down by playwright Aleshea Harris (who also wrote the powerful revenge fantasy Is God Is produced by Mixed Blood Theatre a few years ago). Though written in 2019, this play could not be more relevant to this time and place. The time: coming out of a tumultuous year-plus that saw a devastating global pandemic, the continued murder of Black people by police that led to a racial reckoning, and an attempted violent overthrow of our government by white supremacists. The place: the parking lot outside Pillsbury House Theatre in south Minneapolis, just a few blocks from where George Floyd was murdered just over a year ago. This play was created by Black people for Black people as a safe space to gather, release, mourn, and celebrate the experience of being Black in America. Described as "part ritual and part theatrical experience," it's one of those rare plays that transcends theater to become an experience of real connection and communion with each other and what's going on in the world around us. This is the kind of profound, relevant, truly meaningful theater that I expected to come out of this last year, and I hope it continues.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Classical Actors Ensemble at Newell Park

"The course of true love never did run smooth." "Lord, what fools these mortals be." How often have these words been spoken over the last 400 years, in how many places around the world? Through war, famine, genocide, and plagues, humans have continued to gather together and say these familiar words, and others like them. To share stories, songs, laughter, and tears. There were times in the last 16 months when it felt like we'd never get back to telling stories again. But theater, and the human spirit, is stronger than that. Classical Actors Ensemble has performed Shakespeare in local parks every summer (except 2020) since 2014, but this year feels special, as they welcome us to "a return of live theater." And what better way to return than with A Midsummer Night's Dream (which they also performed five years ago), a celebration of love and the magic of theater. Experience it yourself at a Twin Cities park* near you through July 18 (click here for schedule and free registration).

Friday, July 2, 2021

"Norma Jeane Baker of Troy" by Rough Magic Performance Company at the Mill City Farmers Market

Rough Magic Performance Company has made a name for themselves at Minnesota Fringe Festival with their short, modern, and feminist adaptations of Shakespeare. But now they're moving beyond that by performing a new play outside of the Fringe. And literally outside* (thanks, covid), in the gorgeous space used by the Mill City Farmers Market, between the Guthrie Theater and the Mill City Museum. Norma Jeane Baker of Troy is a retelling of the legend of Helen of Troy, aka the face that launched a thousand ships, superimposed with the story of Norma Jeane Baker, aka Marilyn Monroe. The play examines parallels between the two women and attempts to look beyond their status as icons of female beauty to the truth behind the image. It's a fascinating play, beautifully produced, with a lot packed into the one-hour runtime. Even though I've been to a handful of outdoor plays and musicals this year and last, for some reason this really felt like my first return to theater as we once knew it. Maybe because I held an actual physical program in my hands, maybe because the stage and audience setup felt familiar, maybe because of the complex nature of the play. But for perhaps the first time in 16 months, I left feeling that familiar sort of theater daze, having just traveled to another world for a time, and not quite ready to settle back into this one.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Black and Funny / Twin Cities Improv Festival at the Bakken Museum


Last weekend, I attended the final performance of the joint festival by the Black and Funny and Twin Cities Improv Festivals. And it only made me wish I had seen more of the performances. In the before times, I didn't see improv often enough, but I had to go to Huge Theater (which was a sponsor of the event) at least once a year to see my favorite improv show, Family Dinner. It had been a year and a half since I had seen live in-person improv, and it was so amazingly wonderful to laugh with other humans at silly, smart, fun performances made up entirely new right in front of us! That's the magic of improv, doable over Zoom but so much better in real life, even outdoors* under a tent on a rainy day. The festival may be over, but live performance returns to Huge on July 9 with shows every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer, and their full schedule returning this fall (click here for details).

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Ordway Cabaret: Live at the Loading Dock!

The Ordway's cabaret at the loading dock is back! Last year they discovered that behind the large elegant Center for the Performing Arts that houses two grand theaters in downtown St. Paul, there's a pretty great outdoor* performance space. There's a natural stage where the big shows load in their sets, with an overhead balcony stage as well, generous room for seating in the parking lot, a sort of amphitheater effect with the surrounding buildings, the blue sky for a ceiling, and soaring pigeons for ambience. On a lovely summer evening it's pretty perfect. This installment of Ordway Cabaret is a wonderful sampler of their recently announced season of touring shows (click here for details about Fiddler on the Roof, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, An Officer and a Gentleman, and Waitress**), as well as as some hints of shows that are in the works for future seasons. And unlike last summer, there's a very good chance that we will be back inside the Ordway this season to watch full productions of these amazing shows. #getthevaccine

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

"New Voices Cabaret" at Lyric Arts

Calling all #TCTheater casting directors looking for fresh young talent: watch Lyric Arts' New Voices Cabaret. I'm not sure how or where they found them, but they've assembled a group of nine diverse and talented young performers who are ready for the stage. Hosted and directed by Reese Britts, who isn't that many years removed from being a "new voice" himself (Cherry and Spoon named him "one to watch" just two years ago), the 70-minute show is also a treat for fans of music-theater. Click here for details of how to watch it, available through June 20 only.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

"A Night with Leslie Vincent" at The Belvedere at Crooners Supper Club

I'm becoming a regular at Crooners Supper Club. I returned for my fourth concert this year in their new outdoor venue The Belvedere, this time to see the multi-talented #TCTheater artist Leslie Vincent and her amazing friends. It was such a glorious night, so full of the joy of music and community. It really feels like our vitally important performing arts community is starting to come back to life again*, and Crooners has been leading the way since last summer.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

"Jennifer Grimm Sings Judy Garland" at The Belvedere at Crooners Supper Club

My third show at Crooners Supper Club's new tented outdoor venue The Belvedere (after attending opening weekend with Jamecia Bennett in April, and seeing my favorite local band Storyhill a few weeks ago) was "Jennifer Grimm Sings Judy Garland." I've seen Jennifer in a number of theater productions around town, but I hadn't yet had the pleasure of watching an entire show of her. She's a natural entertainer with a uniquely gorgeous voice, and put on a really fun night of music. This was the premiere of her Judy Garland show, and she's doing it again at Crooners on July 23, and a Christmas version at Plymouth Playhouse this holiday season, so be on the lookout for more #JennySingsJudy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

"A Pickle" by Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company at Harriet Island

Nine months ago, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company began their "Theater Six Feet Apart" season with an outdoor production of 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother, which was the only live in-person play I saw between February 2020 and May 2021. After several great virtual shows, they're back outside* to close out this unique season with A Pickle. This solo show premiered at the Minnesota Fringe Festival a few years ago and tells the true story of Doris Rubenstein, who petitioned the Minnesota State Fair to add a category for Kosher salt brine pickles. It's a funny and engaging play and a perfect choice for safe outdoor theater. In fact it's so popular that their entire run is already sold out! But you can express your interest at their website, so maybe we'll see it again sometime.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Ghostlight Series: "Heroic Acts of Music" streaming from Theater Latte Da

The third installment of Theater Latte Da's fantastic virtual cabaret series called "The Ghostlight Series" is now available! The five-part series began with the powerful and moving Twelve Blocks From Where I Live, Regina Marie Williams's response to the murder of George Floyd in photos and song. Next was Re-Cast, which gave some of our favorites the chance to sing a song from a role they would never be cast in. And now we have Heroic Acts of Music, honoring 20th Century musicians (and others) who used music for protest or support in difficult and dangerous times. All three shows are available to watch now and as many times as you want through August with the purchase of a season pass. These gorgeously filmed and edited 30-minute shows with fantastic performances from some of #TCTheater's best are worth every penny, helping to bridge the gap until we can gather in person again to share stories and music (hopefully very soon!).