Author Archive

Minnesota Fringe 2014

Minnesota Fringe 2014

It’s that magic time of year again, when local theater folk drain their cowboy coffees and step forward (and when national artists working the extensive Fringe circuit bring themselves and their talent to our fair city) and, green-lighting themselves, throw the biggest theater party around: the Minnesota Fringe Festival. 168 shows and many hundreds...
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A Little Night Music by Mu Performing Arts, performing at Park Square Theatre

A Little Night Music by Mu Performing Arts, performing at Park Square Theatre

In Stephen Sondheim‘s marvelous A Little Night Music (Mu Performing Arts performing at Park Square Theatre, through Aug 10) little surprise or tension lies in the playing-out of the characters’ predictable arcs. Frederik is married, sexlessly, to Anne. Famous matinee idol Desiree Armfeldt reappears. She and Frederik make love, to the consternation of her...
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The Heiress at the Jungle Theater

The Heiress at the Jungle Theater

Money. It corrupts, perverts and, ultimately, kills. Can love survive money? The Heiress (at the Jungle Theater, through August 10) rather disturbingly concludes that it cannot. Thank God I don’t have any. But The Heiress (written 1947 by Ruth and Augustus Goetz, based on a Henry James novella) isn’t simply a shrill (and dismisable)...
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Berlin To Broadway With Kurt Weill by Skylark Opera

Berlin To Broadway With Kurt Weill by Skylark Opera

Among the pleasures – there are many – of Skylark Opera‘s lovely Berlin To Broadway With Kurt Weill (at Concordia’s E.M. Pearson Theatre through June 21) is the nifty comparison it provides between Weill’s gritty and soaring European music with his elegant American output. A genuine musical chameleon was Weill; it astonishes that so...
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Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson by Minneapolis Musical Theatre, performing at the New Century Theatre

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson by Minneapolis Musical Theatre, performing at the New Century Theatre

Andrew Jackson, our seventh President, was a nasty piece of work. A westerner (from the frontier state of Tennessee), Jackson owned slaves, gleefully massacred native Americans, slew men in duels, bigamously married his wife, battled his way to the Presidency, destroyed hundreds of banks and, most infamously, engineered the “Indian Removal Act” of 1830,...
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Rocket To The Moon by the Gremlin Theatre, performing at the New Century Theatre

Rocket To The Moon by the Gremlin Theatre, performing at the New Century Theatre

Once a much bally-hoo’d darling of the New York theater – the Group Theatre made its reputation (or at least its money) producing his work in the 1930s – playwright Clifford Odets‘s work seldom finds its way onto contemporary stages. Perhaps this is because his plays are cast heavy and dated (being too much...
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The Three Musketeers by Walking Shadow Theatre Co., performing in the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio

The Three Musketeers by Walking Shadow Theatre Co., performing in the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio

Want to enjoy Walking Shadow Theatre Co.‘s giddy, swashbuckling, sword-happy The Three Musketeers (at the Guthrie‘s Dowling Studio, through May 25)? Here’s my firm advice: go with the sprawl. Lay aside whatever need you might have for coherent narrative, for sensible multiple casting, for developed non-cinematic structure and let playwright John Heimbuch‘s clutch-popper wash...
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Passing Strange at Mixed Blood Theatre

Passing Strange at Mixed Blood Theatre

Passing Strange (at Mixed Blood Theatre, through May 11) is an example of that ancient, hoary, and utterly old-fashioned theatrical entity: the rock musical. Everyone is in the band. The cast plays various instruments – not brilliantly, but you can’t have everything.  After all, where would you put it?  Or they simply function as...
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Shrek, The Musical at Children’s Theatre Company

Shrek, The Musical at Children’s Theatre Company

Unless you’ve spent the last dozen years sequestered in a Kazukistan monastery, you know the story of Shrek, The Musical (at Children’s Theatre Company, through June 15): Shrek, an ogre, rescues Princess Fiona from the nasty dragon, falls for her, rescues her from the vertically challenged Lord Farquard, and finally helps her to find...
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Three Penny Opera by Frank Theatre, performing at the Southern

Three Penny Opera by Frank Theatre, performing at the Southern

Three Penny Opera (Frank Theatre, performing at the Southern, through May 4) was written in 1928 by playwright Bertolt Brecht with music by composer Kurt Weill. I point this out because the program for the Frank production makes no mention of these two great artists; they are unnamed, un-bioed, unacknowledged in any way. Nor...
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