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

May 10, 2014
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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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Photo Set: LIVE LETTERS 2nd Anniversary, 5/8/14

May 9, 2014
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The Working Boys Band at The History Theatre

May 5, 2014
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The Working Boys Band at The History Theatre

The History Theatre has premiered a new musical that uses a relatively obscure bit of history to illuminate a corner of the dynamic environment of Minneapolis in 1917, just as America was entering W.W. I. The show’s composer, the late Hiram Titus, had discovered an old photograph of a boys’ band and found it...
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Passing Strange at Mixed Blood Theatre

April 27, 2014
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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

April 25, 2014
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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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Mercy Killers at Pillsbury House Theatre

April 24, 2014
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Mercy Killers at Pillsbury House Theatre

The best theater kicks down walls, pulls off the gloves and starts swinging. Mercy Killers, written and performed by Michael Milligan and produced by Pillsbury House Theatre, is that kind of play – a piece that rages against America’s broken systems – banking and lending, for one, but that’s just part of a larger...
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Three Penny Opera by Frank Theatre, performing at the Southern

April 13, 2014
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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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Detroit at the Jungle Theater

April 13, 2014
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Detroit at the Jungle Theater

A friendly backyard barbeque with the neighbors builds to the frayed edges of an absurd but frighteningly believable premise in the Jungle Theater’s production of “Detroit” by Lisa D’Amour. You just won’t believe what happens and it’s not what you think. Suburbia is crumbling, with each house a little pressure cooker of circumstances that...
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Romeo and Juliet by Collide Theatrical Dance Company at the Lab Theater

April 12, 2014
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Romeo and Juliet by Collide Theatrical Dance Company at the Lab Theater

Collide Theatrical Dance Company came flying out on the stage last night with an exuberant, fresh interpretation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Have you not imagined Juliet tap dancing her despair over her banished Romeo, to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It?” It was stunning! What of the feuding Capulets and Montagues with more attitude than...
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Once by Hennepin Theatre Trust, at the Orpheum Theatre

April 1, 2014
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Once by Hennepin Theatre Trust, at the Orpheum Theatre

Compare the focused intimacy of Once (at the Orpheum, through April 6) with the over-the-top, big-bang-for-your-buck musicals recently produced in the same venue.  Phantom Of The Opera, Evita, The Book Of Mormon, et al. Once contains no gee-whiz, that-musta-costa-fortune scenic effects. No high-falutin orchestrations. No operatic, sung-through music. No cast of dozens. No hidden...
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