Minnesota Jewish Theatre explores Superman and creators in History of Invulnerability

Categories: Theater
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Photo by Sarah Whiting
Dan Beckmann, Jim Lichtscheidl, and Alex Brightwell.
David Bar Katz shines a light on not only one of the greatest fictional heroes of the 20th century, but also the mild-mannered man who helped to create him in The History of Invulnerability. The play, which opens this weekend at the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, takes a look at the life of Jerry Siegel who, along with Joe Shuster, created Superman in the 1930s.

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For Ububu, Janaki Ranpura presents a marionette play in a garage

Categories: Theater
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Photo courtesy the artist 
Janaki Ranpura opens a new show this week, one that she's been developing for a number of years, in her garage. The play, called Ububu, utilizes puppetry and the performing talents of Maren Ward, Elise Langer, and Skyler Nowinski, drawing from the historical meeting of St. Francis of Assisi and the Ayyubid Sultan Malik al-Kamil.

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Detroit: Motor city is burning

Categories: Theater
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Photo by Michal Daniel
Angela Timberman, John Middleton, Tyson Forbes, and Anna Sundberg.

Making fun of the American dream is like shooting fish in a barrel. The fading hopes, banal reality, and seedy underside of the suburbs have been fodder for writers for generations. That doesn't mean there still aren't emotional goods to uncover, as Lisa D'Amour's Detroit shows in a funny and often emotionally gripping production at the Jungle Theater.


Under the taut direction of Joel Sass, a quartet of actors go far beyond the facile surface of suburban life and move into the desperation, fears, and hopes of people who have found themselves balancing on a very high and very precarious ledge.

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We Theater takes on The Shadow War at the Wellstone Center

Categories: Theater
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Gregory Yang and Song Kim
Photo by Scott Pakudaitis
Tonight, We Theater will premiere The Shadow War, its first full-length production. It's a work that takes place in Laos during the secret CIA operations that ran concurrent with the Vietnam War. Set in 1971, the story follows a diverse set of characters living through a period when the U.S. was training Lao Natives -- mostly Hmong people -- to fight Communist Pathet Lao.

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Frank Theatre revisits The Threepenny Opera

Categories: Theater
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Photo by Tony Nelson
Bradley Greenwald leads the company of The Threepenny Opera.
Four years after his stunning turn as the Emcee in Frank Theatre's Cabaret, Bradley Greenwald brings "Mack the Knife" to glorious life in Frank Theatre's mad and invigorating production of The Threepenny Opera.

It's the kind of role Greenwald was born to play. The versatile actor has the vocal chops to bring off the depth and breadth of Kurt Weill's score, while his strong acting instincts craft a character that is both engaging and repellent, a perfect blend for the Bertolt Brecht script.

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Red Eye produces another Sibyl Kempson work, Potatoes of August

Categories: Theater
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Photo by Liz Josheff
Billy Mullaney 
Red Eye continues its 30th anniversary season with a new play by New York-based playwright Sibyl Kempson, whose work Ich, Kürbisgeist was presented last fall at the theater. This weekend, Potatoes of August, which was originally produced at Dixon Place in New York City, opens in a production directed by Red Eye's artistic director, Steve Busa, with music by Mike Iveson Jr. and a cast that includes Kirby Bennett, Chuck Deeter, Ben Kreilkamp, Miriam Must, Kevin McLaughin, and Billy Mullaney. 
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Nacirema explores race in America; Peer Gynt heads outdoors

Categories: Theater
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Photo by Mat Lindquist
The company of Nacirema.
Plays exploring America's complex relationship with race have increased in number on Twin Cities stages in recent years, and that's a welcome change to the area's lily-white reputation. 

Nimbus Theater has often explored the thornier side of culture and society, and that continues with Nacirema: Stories of Color. In it, a company of seven diverse performers explore their own heritage and how they fit in with the culture at large.

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Jungle visits Detroit state of mind

Categories: Theater
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Photo by Drew Trampe
Ben (John Middleton), Sharon (Anna Sundberg), Kenny (Tyson Forbes), and [seated] Mary (Angie Timberman).
For director Joel Sass and the company of Detroit, Lisa D'Amour's deconstruction of the fading middle class offered plenty of challenges in terms of tone, character, and message.

It has also offered unusual staging challenges. "There's grilling onstage," Sass says.

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Rights snafu leads to show swap between Park Square and Guthrie

Categories: Theater
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Photo courtesy Park Square Theatre
Richard Cook.
When Park Square Theatre announced the first season at its new Boss Thrust Stage, they had hoped to open up with a bang: Anne Washburn's hot new work, Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Show.

The problem? The Guthrie Theater was also deep into planning for their own production of the play. A rights snafu meant both theaters could lay claim to the piece. In the end, a swap was arranged. The Guthrie retained its rights to Mr. Burns, while giving up its option on 4000 Miles, Amy Herzog's Pulitzer-Prize nominated new play.

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Ferrari McSpeedy invites you to the Merry Spider Cafe

Categories: Theater
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Image courtesy Ferarri McSpeedy
Mike Fotis and Joe Bozic.
Mike Fotis and Joe Bozic of Ferrari McSpeedy have worked together for years, sharing the stage at the Brave New Workshop and forging a popular presence at the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

They're deep on the waiting list for 2014's Fringe, but that doesn't mean you can't take in their distinct comic stylings. The pair will present a new sketch comedy show, Merry Spider Cafe, starting this weekend. Along with their show will be sketch work created by the BNW Student Union, where Fotis and Bozic are the co-directors.

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