The Mountaintop by Penumbra Theatre performing at the Guthrie

March 30, 2014
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The Mountaintop by Penumbra Theatre performing at the Guthrie

We see it when we walk into the McGuire: the Lorraine Motel sign, visible through the window of Room 306, stark against the black Memphis sky, crashes of lightning bringing it into high relief.  The Lorraine.  Where Martin Luther King met his unwished-for martyrdom.  The site of unspeakable national tragedy, a place associated in...
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Porgy and Bess at the Ordway

March 27, 2014
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Porgy and Bess at the Ordway

Soaring melodies! Big orchestrations and choruses of voices big enough to take it on! Diva voices larger than life! Oh, this is gorgeous! Thank you, Ordway, for bringing us our beloved “Porgy and Bess” in a form that befits this classic by George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess”...
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Cyrano at Park Square Theatre

March 23, 2014
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Cyrano at Park Square Theatre

Park Square Theatre is now presenting the regional premiere of Cyrano, the Michael Hollinger translation of Edmond Rostand’s classic play. Hollinger also adapted with Aaron Posner, who directed its first production. I’ll talk about the adaptation, but first, this production: Joe Chvala directs a tight cast of local stars, in an exhilarating show, masterfully...
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The Odyssey by Walking Shadow Theatre Company, performing at Open Eye Figure Theatre

March 21, 2014
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The Odyssey by Walking Shadow Theatre Company, performing at Open Eye Figure Theatre

The rosy red fingers of dawn steal over the wine dark Aegean Sea.  The rising (and eternal) Grecian sun shines down on wandering Odysseus, as he leads his battered fleet home from Troy. Odysseus!  He of the unflagging spirit, unending courage and near-terminal homesickness.  Odysseus the intrepid adventurer.  In performer/adapter Charlie Bethel‘s wonderful The...
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The Scarecrow And His Servant at Children’s Theatre Company

March 16, 2014
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The Scarecrow And His Servant at Children’s Theatre Company

“Bigger!” the wonderful Doc Whiting used to shout at us in the olden days.  “Make it bigger!”  One step backward wasn’t enough; Doc wanted two step reactions.  Leaps of wild horror.  Pop-eyed grimaces.  Takes to the audience.  Always run.  Most important: have fun.  If you do, so will the audience. I suspect that Peter...
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Othello at the Guthrie Theater

March 14, 2014
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Othello at the Guthrie Theater

In the dark and affecting Othello (at the Guthrie, through April 20) director Marion McClinton and costumer Esosa dress the Moor (played thrillingly by Peter Macon) in thick leather and stiff boots.  This imparts to him a lumbering, dominating authority.  Add to this the fact that Macon is a large man.  In comparison, the...
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Peter and the Starcatcher at the Orpheum Theatre

March 12, 2014
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Peter and the Starcatcher at the Orpheum Theatre

Throw out your idea of what a Broadway show is supposed to be. Peter and the Starcatcher, now playing at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, has a new take: silly (but it’s clever-silly) goofy fun, fun, fun. If you like physical comedy lighted salted with clowning and classic cartoons sensibilities, this is your show....
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Freud’s Last Session produced by the Guthrie Theater at the Dowling Studio

March 1, 2014
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Freud’s Last Session produced by the Guthrie Theater at the Dowling Studio

The Guthrie has borrowed from the current Off-Broadway theater for its new play, Freud’s Last Session by Mark St. Germain. It’s cropping up from one coast to the other. Apparently there’s a hunger for a straightforward, intellectual, “talky” play – a meaty actor’s piece with no flash, no fantasy or women. Well, well! This...
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Walking Shadow Theatre Company presents Schiller’s Mary Stuart at Red Eye Theater

February 8, 2014
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Walking Shadow Theatre Company presents Schiller’s Mary Stuart at Red Eye Theater

Walking Shadow Theatre Company takes on a centuries-old mystery in a modernized version of Schiller’s Mary Stuart. On an art deco-suggestive unit set, courtiers in dark suits stride in and out with their urgent pleadings before the Queen. Elizabeth, played by Sherry Jo Ward, stands tall among them, resplendent in a long day dress...
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Ash Land by Transatlantic Love Affair, performing at Illusion Theater

January 31, 2014
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Ash Land by Transatlantic Love Affair, performing at Illusion Theater

Here’s the ensemble-created plot of the affecting Ash Land (Transatlantic Love Affair, performing at Illusion Theater as part of their Lights Up! series, through Feb 22): John and Mary Stone’s farm is suffering the triple whammy of Drought, Dust and Depression.  But before the farm dies, Mary does, leaving her dreamy and hapless husband John...
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