Friday, February 26, 2021

"DIGITAL" streaming live, by Emily Michaels King

image courtesy of Emily Michaels King
In one of the most innovative uses of the new virtual art media that I've seen, #TCTheater artist Emily Michaels King brings us a new creation called DIGITAL, streamed live via Zoom from her home to yours. Much like her solo show at the 2019 Minnesota Fringe Festival, DIGITAL combines various forms of art and media, is difficult to describe, is not always understandable, and yet is profoundly moving. As usual Emily puts her heart and soul into the performance, which is felt even from a distance through a screen. DIGITAL is definitely unique in the #TCTheater virtual space right now, and you have several more chances to catch it through March 6.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

"The Dolls of New Albion" streaming from Feral Theatre Company

Intrepid young #TCTheater company Feral Theatre seems to have figured out this pandemic theater thing. Maybe because they've only been around since 2019, they were able to be more flexible and adaptable to the new world, since they had barely established themselves in the old world. In the last year, they've produced a series of podcast play readings, had several entries in the 2020 Virtual Minnesota Fringe Festival, and presented a live virtual production of The Awakening of Spring from various locations. Now they're bringing us the regional premiere The Dolls of New Albion, which seems to be somewhat of a cult hit musical, especially in the UK. In fact, this is only the third US production. It's a great piece; it reminds me of the kind of obscure musical gems that Theatre Elision and Minneapolis Musical Theatre often do. And it lends itself well to this time, in that although this production features a nine-person cast, most scenes only involve a few of them. They're able to practice social distancing on stage, wearing masks if there are multiple people on stage (even singing through masks), or removing their mask if they're alone on stage. Because that's right, this show is performed live, with all of the performers together, at Elision Playhouse. I can only hope/assume that they are following protocols backstage as well, but from this end, they appear to be doing everything right. That is: live theater almost as we remember it, with safety protocols in place for the performers, and with the audience tuning in from the safety of their own homes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

"Promise of America: A Celebration of Jewish American Song" streaming from Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company's 2020-2021 "Theater Six Feet Apart" season continues with another virtual offering. Promise of America: A Celebration of Jewish American Song premiered last weekend and is available to stream at specific times through February 21. The cabaret show features songs from musical theater and popular culture by Jewish American composers, as well as a bit of history and commentary provided by the cast and creators. Of course, one hour is not nearly enough to showcase the incredible contributions to 20th Century music by Jewish Americans, but it's a great sampler, from the Gershwins to Carole King to Nassim Black.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Valentine's Day Cabarets Streaming from Yellow Tree Theatre, Collide Theatrical Dance Company, and Duluth Playhouse

While it may be true that "Valentine's Day is a sham created by card companies to reinforce and exploit gender stereotypes*," there's plenty to love this Valentine's Day weekend in the world of streaming #TCTheater. And with sub-zero temps here in Minnesota, what better is there to do than cuddle up under a pile of blankets with your loved ones, pets, or friends, with a hot cuppa something in your hands, and watch some shows? First of all, if you haven't caught one of Bucket Brigade's LIVE performances of their original musical 'Til Death, streamed from Art House North direct to your house, you can still do so tonight or tomorrow (click here for more on that). Or choose one of these on-demand options (click on show title for more info and to purchase tickets).

Sunday, February 7, 2021

"Today is My Birthday," a Live Virtual Play from Theater Mu

cover of virtual program
(photo by Rich Ryan)
In their first full production in the virtual space, Theater Mu has brought us something completely unique, that I don't think we've seen before in #TCTheater. I have seen not a little virtual theater in the last year, which ranges from recordings of pre-pandemic shows, to simple Zoom readings, to shows created specifically for streaming. But I have not previously seen a live production on this scale, with actors in six different locations across the country, using multiple areas in their homes, along with green screens, virtual backgrounds, sound cues, split screens, and overlayed images in an incredibly ambitious and successful technical feat. Today is My Birthday is truly innovative storytelling in a way that's never been seen before.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

"‘Til Death: A Marriage Musical: The Livestream!" by Bucket Brigade Theater

Bucket Brigade Theater premiered their new original musical 'Til Death, written by and starring co-founders Jeremiah and Vanessa Gamble, in 2012. They've presented it at Art House North in St. Paul's West 7th neighborhood since 2015 for Valentine's Day. This year, they've turned it into a concert version, streamed live from Art House North into your house! I've seen the musical twice in the past before watching the premiere of the livestream last night, and I'm truly impressed at how the charm, silliness, and heart of the piece has translated into the virtual space. And it's about as close to live theater as we can get these day. Only four more performances remain - one tonight and three next weekend (click here for more details).