Saturday, March 27, 2021

"Kodachrome" streaming from Locally Grown Theatre

One good thing to come out of this extended intermission from live theater is discovering new theater companies. I had not previously heard of Locally Grown Theatre, a community theater in "Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Newport, Grey Cloud Island, and the surrounding area," but this week I watched a virtual play in the zoom style of theater and quite enjoyed it. Kodachrome is a sweet little Our Town-ish play about life in a small town, with all the mundanity and profundity that entails. Even though they're each performing in their own little box, the seven-person cast (although disappointingly lacking in diversity) all give wonderful performances that create a feeling of community in this story of love and loss.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

"The Lady with All the Answers" streaming from Lakeshore Players Theatre

Recently recorded on stage at the beautiful new Hanifl Performing Arts Center in White Bear Lake, the one-woman show about advice columnist Ann Landers, The Lady with All the Answers, is now streaming from Lakeshore Players Theatre. #TCTheater favorite Shanan Custer inhabits the woman behind the famous words, whose real name was Eppie Lederer, as she navigates a challenging time in her life and the wish to share honestly with her readers. With full set, costumes, lighting, and even a bit of crowd laughter from the crew, filmed from several different camera angles, it really feels like an engaging and entertaining theater performance that we just happen to be watching from home.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

"Merge: Give Ear" streaming from the Cowles Center

Berit Ahlgren and Nathan Keepers
(photo by Shelly Mosman)
Give Ear is one of the many shows that were scheduled to open in March 2020; I call them "ghost shows." Some of them had a few performances before being cancelled, some of them just dress rehearsals or previews, some of them never even reached that point. Some of these shows will return in some form when theaters open again, but some will never come to be, and just remain an idea in the artists' minds. The Cowles Center gave creators Berit Ahlgren, Nathan Keepers, and company the opportunity to revisit Give Ear one year later and make it into something new. The result is a film/dance/theater piece that combines footage from the filmed final dress rehearsal last year and the new performance this year (both filmed on the Goodale Stage with no audience) with footage from the rehearsal/creative process (in one of the gorgeous studios in the Cowles Center) that sort of bridges the two performances. As Nathan says at one point, it "turned out to be super meta and weird." It's a look inside the artistic process as these artists try to make sense of the original piece they were trying to make one year ago and everything that's happened since. Nothing will be the same when this pandemic is over. Give Ear is an exploration of what that looks like for this one specific "ghost show."

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Ghostlight Series: "Re-Cast" streaming from Theater Latte Da

The second of Theater Latte Da's five-part virtual cabaret series called "The Ghostlight Series" is now available! Following January's powerful and moving Twelve Blocks From Where I Live, Regina Marie Williams's response to the murder of George Floyd in photos and song, Re-Cast gives some of our favorites the chance to sing a song from a role they would never be cast in. Or at least haven't been yet. Both 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.

"Live From New York, He's A Prom Date!" streaming from Theatre Unmasqued

For your safe-at-home theater viewing, #TCTheater artist Jen Maren (perhaps most well know for playing the infamous Minnesota murderer and arsonist Marjorie Congden in History Theatre's smash hit original musical Glensheen) has adapted her solo show Live From New York, He's A Prom Date! to the streaming environment. Written and directed by her husband Pete Simmons, the show tells the story of when Jen's mom called the Sally Jessy Raphael Show and got them on the show for an episode about moms upset that their daughters weren't asked to prom. Yes, that actually happened, and yes, it's just as awful and cringe-worthy as you think. Jen plays all of the characters as she tells this story, which is as hilarious as it is poignant in her description of her relationship with her mom.