The Suburbs and the Suicide Commandos at First Avenue

November 19, 2010
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Cowboy Versus Samurai by Mu Performing Arts at the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio

November 18, 2010
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Cowboy Versus Samurai by Mu Performing Arts at the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio

Michael Golamco‘s amiable Cowboy Versus Samurai (Mu Performing Arts performing in the Guthrie‘s Dowling Studio, through Nov 28) is loosely based on Edmond Rostand‘s 1897 classic, Cyrano de Bergerac. Ah, but with one crucial distinction: Golamco’s letter composer, Travis, lacks Cyrano’s famously distended and ugly nose.  Travis is a sweet-tempered, reasonably content Korean American,...
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Table 12 and An Adult Evening Of Shel Silverstein by Freshwater Theatre at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage

November 12, 2010
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Table 12 and An Adult Evening Of Shel Silverstein by Freshwater Theatre at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage

For its premiere production, Freshwater Theatre remounts two (successful) comedies from the Fringe Festival: Table 12, A Play At A Wedding and An Adult Evening Of Shel Silverstein (Freshwater Theatre performing at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage, Franklin and Lyndale, through Nov 21). In Table 12 a half dozen strangers find themselves occupying a table...
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Dawes at First Avenue

November 11, 2010
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Dawes at First Avenue

There is something about the sincerity of a Dawes performance that hits you like a punch to the gut and leaves you a little shell-shocked. Frontman Taylor Goldsmith spits out lyrics like he’s been bottling them up for years—and maybe he has, and maybe that’s why they’re so good. And if it’s not the...
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“Fully Committed” at The Jungle Theater

November 9, 2010
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“Fully Committed” at The Jungle Theater

If you’ve ever “worked the phones,” been in the service industry, or brushed up against the sometimes silly arrogance of the rich and/or famous, you will so understand this play. However, Fully Committed, by Becky Mode, directed by Casey Stangl and produced by The Jungle Theater, takes no special experience at all to wonder...
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Spring Awakening at The Orpheum Theatre

November 6, 2010
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Spring Awakening at The Orpheum Theatre

In Spring Awakening (Hennepin Theatre Trust performing at the Orpheum, tonight — Nov 7 – only) the musical creators have made a magical discovery: that the flowery 19th century text can be combined with 21st century rock music and the effect isn’t at all anachronistic or jarring.  In fact, the two reinforce each other. ...
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The Crowd You’re In With

November 5, 2010
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The Crowd You’re In With

Walking Shadow Theatre Company’s fifth season begins with the local premier of a play by Rebecca Gilman, The Crowd You’re In With. Set in present day Chicago, and played entirely on the patio behind a small apartment building, the private environment suits the intimate nature of the conversations between couples and among friends. In...
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The 39 Steps at The Guthrie Theater

November 5, 2010
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The 39 Steps at The Guthrie Theater

In The 39 Steps (on the Guthrie‘s McGuire Stage, through December 19) everything is played for yuks.  Character transitions are made onstage, often with actors simply donning a new hat or coat (four performers divvy up every character in the story).  Set pieces spin in and out, trunks become trains, sheep on wheels enter...
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“The House of the Spirits” at Mixed Blood Theatre

October 22, 2010
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“The House of the Spirits” at Mixed Blood Theatre

Mixed Blood Theatre once again takes us someplace we haven’t been before with The House of Spirits, a bilingual adaptation by Caridad Svich of Isabel Allende’s acclaimed novel. Using the tragedy of Chile’s 20th century politics as a backdrop for the more personal story of three generations of the Trueba family, we are carefully...
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Black Prairie and Canasta at the 400 Bar

October 20, 2010
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Black Prairie and Canasta at the 400 Bar

Wednesday’s bill at the 400 Bar featuring Portland, Oregon’s Black Prairie (members of the Decemberists and friends) and Chicago’s Canasta was more than enough to bring me out of music writer retirement. And I wasn’t disappointed. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable weeknights of music I’ve seen anywhere in some...
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