Paul Metsa Crafts Theatrical Blue Guitar Highway

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Jim Vasquez
Paul Metsa.
Three years ago, Paul Metsa took a lifetime of playing music, and the experience of growing up on the Iron Range, and turned it into a book, Blue Guitar Highway.

Metsa's Americana music finds a new venue this weekend, when he premieres a theatrical version of the book at the Phoenix Theatre in Minneapolis.

See also:
An Oral History of the CC Club Jukebox

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Motown: The Musical: Berry, Just Shut Up and Let Them Sing

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Joan Marcus
The faux-Temptations in action in Motown: The Musical.
Motown: The Musical reeks of a vanity project. It's subject? Motown founder Berry Gordy. It's author? Berry Gordy.

The difference here? Gordy has access to some of the finest R&B, soul, funk, and pop music of the last half century.

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The Book of Mormon Returns with Another Round of Profane Joy


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7th House Goes into the Belly of Jonah and the Whale

Categories: Theater

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Image courtesy of 7th House Theater
Usually, a new musical arrives following years of development and work, often with a few workshops, or with a tryout out of town.

Not so for 7th House Theater. The company's new work, a bluegrass-infused retelling of Jonah and the Whale, has been devised and developed during 2014, and will premiere this weekend at the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie Theater.

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Little Shop of Horrors Goes Minimalist to Great Delight

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The Hothouse Is a Sharp and Funny Shock to the System

Categories: Theater
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Heidi Bohnenkamp
Sara Marsh, Mark Benninghofen
Harold Pinter's The Hothouse is a dark, brutal, and often very funny exercise in faceless oppression. Think Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy crossed with The Office.

The action takes place on Christmas Day in a nameless British institution, circa the 1960s, where the objective is vague. Is it a mental institution, or a place where the government can extract secrets?

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The Longest Night Embraces the Darkness, Finds the Light

Categories: Theater

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Photo courtesy of Open Eye Figure Theatre
Bradley Greenwald and Sonja Thompson.
Considering the weather has been more like London (minus the rampaging mobs of Keep Left signs) than the Twin Cities over the last few days, a pick-me-up was in order.

Bradley Greenwald's celebration of the solstice was just the ticket.

See also:
Bradley Greenwald Prepares to Explore
The Longest Night


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Dark & Stormy Gets Into the Holiday Spirit (?) with Harold Pinter's The Hothouse

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp
The cast of The Hothouse. Front: Robert Dorfman and Sara Marsh. Back: John Catron, Bill McCallum, and Mark Benninghofen.
Apart from the fact that it takes place on that holy day, it's hard to call The Hothouse a Christmas play.

After all, Harold Pinter's early black comedy is set in a nameless facility where bad things happen to people with little clear reason.

See also:
Dark & Stormy Visits
The Drunken City

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The Booby Trap Offers Unhappy Dinner with Happy Results

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Richard Molby
The cast of The Booby Trap.
Theater has lots of scenes of drinks, dinners, and desserts full of people who make terrible guests.

You can add the quintet in Marc Anthony's The Booby Trap to that list. This is a broken family that has gathered on Christmas Eve not to celebrate the season, but to finally hammer out the status of wandering father Franklin's pension.

See also:
The Booby Trap: "It's Like Throwing a Hand Grenade into a Mine Field"


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When Holiday Movies Hit the Stage: A Twin Cities Christmas Theater Primer

Categories: Holidays, Theater
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When you can stream a classic like  How the Grinch Stole Christmas from home for less than the price of a ticket, why go out to the theater this December? Well, there are many reasons. A trip to the theater can be a holiday tradition. Live actors and musicians add exhilaration that pixels on a TV can't provide. And when the house lights dim and the orchestra swells, you can be transported to new and magical worlds. Your couch at home with cookie crumbs and cat hair? Not so transportive.

While many holiday theatrical productions in the Twin Cities have movie equivalents, how do you decide which ones you should you watch next to a fireplace, and which ones you should open your wallet for? We're here to tell you.

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A Klingon Christmas Carol Is Absorbing, But Less Funny than You'd Expect

Categories: Theater

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Laura Bidgood
Laura Thurston, Gregory Park

You'd expect something called A Klingon Christmas Carol to be a laugh riot. You'd expect wrong.

Originally created by Commedia Beauregard, this twist on Charles Dickens's enduring tale returns after several years to the appropriately named Phoenix Theater. It's a surprisingly straightforward telling of a classic story as seen through the lens of Star Trek's enduring warrior race.

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A Christmas Story: The Musical Is Better Than a BB in the Eye

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Christian Brown
Dieter Bierbrauer dances with some leg-lamp-loving friends.
It's pretty easy to be grumpy about a musical adaptation of a beloved film, especially one as iconic as A Christmas Story. It's a bit like It's a Wonderful Life: The Musical.

Still, the Ordway production features plenty of fresh-faced enthusiasm and a sense of overwhelming cheer that overtakes the dull, standard-issue score.

See also:
Blue Man Group Comes Back with Usual Thrills

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