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.