Great news, my musical theater loving friends: Musical Mondays is back at LUSH Lounge and Theater in Northeast Minneapolis! After a nearly three-year pandemic-induced hiatus, this fabulous monthly showcase of #TCTheater talent returned in December of 2022. I finally was able to attend this past Monday, the 83rd Musical Mondays since BFFs Max Wojtanowicz and Sheena Janson started it some ten years ago, and the 18th I've attended. It felt so great to be back in LUSH's spacious event space (remodeled a year or two prior to the pandemic) in a room full of music, love, and friendship. There's a real atmosphere of fun and camaraderie at these events, amongst the cast and the crowd (a great place to spot local "celebrities"). But of course, the focus is the music, and it's spectacular. Every casting director in town should attend these shows to find some new talent, especially the next one, on April 10, that will feature "fresh faces" (new to MM and/or to #TCTheater). And if you're just a music-theater lover like me, it's a great place to go hear some showtunes, both familiar and new, fantastically performed by our local talent.
There's typically a theme at Musical Mondays, but they may be doing away with that a little to give performers a chance to sing something that they really love to sing. This month's cabaret featured a group of really talented performers: Alan Bach, Anna Hashizume, Kristina Mitchell, Adam Qualls, and Maya Richardson, accompanied by a three-piece band (John Lynn on keyboard, Kyle Baker on bass, and Matt Nielsen on drums). Each performer gets a solo or two, plus some duets and group numbers. Thankfully, they always post the set list the next day on the Musical Mondays Facebook page, because there are always a couple of unknown gems:
Corner of the Sky (Pippin) - Alan
photo credit: @cherryandspoon Instagram
- Lost in the Brass (Band Geeks) - Maya
- Maybe I Like It This Way (The Wild Party) - Kristina
- Never Ever Getting Rid of Me (Waitress) - Adam
- Before It’s Over (Dogfight) - Anna
- You’ll Never Know (Hello Frisco Hello) - Max
- Love is an Open Door (Frozen) - Alan and Maya
- Unlikely Lovers (Falsettos) - Anna, Kristina, Adam, Max
- Another Life (The Bridges of Madison County) - Maya
- Shitshow (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) - Adam
- Stars and the Moon (Songs for a New World) - Kristina
- She’s Not Me (In the Light) - Anna
- Waving Through a Window (Dear Evan Hansen) - Alan
- One Fine Day (Beautiful) - all
Another great feature of Musical Mondays is the previews of upcoming shows. This month, Marley Ritchie sang "Your Daddy's Son" from Morris Park Player's upcoming production of Ragtime, in which she'll play Sarah (performing March 31 - April 16 at Edison High School). To close the show, Jennifer Grimm sang "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" from her Judy Garland show, which she'll next be performing at the Chart House in Lakeville (I saw her do it at Crooners a few years ago and it's an incredible show).
Finally, each of the performers has a chance to plug a current or upcoming project:
- Matt Nielsen - playing in the band for DalekoArts' upcoming production of Bright Star, May 5021 (sadly Daleko just announced that this will be their last show)
- Kyle Baker - playing in the band of the super fun Wedding Singer at Lyric Arts, running now through March 26
- John Lynn and Kristina Mitchell - directing The Crucible at Washburn High School
- Alan Bach - performing in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' upcoming regional premiere production of Jersey Boys, opening in June
- Anna Hashizume - currently performing in Theater Latte Da's positively joyous production of Hello Dolly!, continuing through March 26.
- Adam Qualls - performing in History Theatre's upcoming world premiere new musical The Defeat of Jesse James, opening in late April
- Maya Richardson - currently starring in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' beautiful and big-hearted production of The Prom, continuing through June (you can still use the code TCTB1 for $20 off tickets through March 12, or check out their show-only rush tickets throughout March)
- Max Wojtanowicz - performing in the Guthrie Theater's 60th anniversary production of Hamlet, opening in April.