Sally Wingert Prepares for Challenges of Master Class

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Michal Daniel
Andrew Bourgoin, Kira Lace Hawkins and Sally Wingert.
Tackling Terrance McNally's Master Class -- his examination of the life, career, and soul of real-life opera diva Maria Callas -- is not something to be done lightly. Theatre Latte Da's Peter Rothstein knows this, as he directed the show for Park Square more than a decade ago.

Prime among the concerns? Having a strong actor in mind for the main role.

See also:
Theatre Latte Da Recreates the Kit Kat Klub for "Cabaret"

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Sonja Parks Makes a Neighborhood Come Alive in Seedfolks

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Dan Norman
Sonja Parks
When coming face to face with Seedfolks at the Children's Theatre Company, a cynic might say that the core message -- a community garden can help to solve a neighborhood's ills -- is far too simplistic. (In fact, the Brave New Workshop had a bit on that very theme earlier this year.)

Yet it is hard to deny the power of the message here, fueled by Sonja Parks's tour de force performance of more than a dozen characters in a lost Cleveland neighborhood that finds its community within a vacant lot.

See also:
Sonja Parks Brings "Seedfolks" Neighborhood to Life at CTC

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Colossal Takes on Football's Culture of Violence and Silence

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Rich Ryan
Members of the cast of Colossal.
As a youngster growing up in Madison, Andrew Hinderaker fell in love with football. "I went to my first game when I was four years old. I say it was the first theatrical experience I ever had."

That love has twisted and turned in recent years, as the sport's underbelly -- including billion-dollar stadiums, the concussion crisis, and the behavior of a number of high-profile stars -- has tarnished it. Still, people flock to games and watch in the millions. "It's the best game there is," Hinderaker says.

See also:
Art, Race, Past and Present Intersect in "Passing Strange"


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The Man in Her Dreams Plays Like a Taut Thriller

Categories: Theater

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Megan Shepard is raped in a neighborhood park. Police focus their attention on Jabari Woods, a black man with a criminal history who happens to live nearby. Though he claims to have been home with his family at the time, she IDs his photo and her testimony helps send Woods to prison. Shepard can start to put her life back together.

Except Woods didn't do it.

See also:

The Man in Her Dreams Looks at Wrongful Convictions, Faults of Memory


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Jeffrey Hatcher's Hamlet: The Play Is the Thing

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Aaron Fenster
Jeffrey Hatcher.
I managed to embarrass myself in the early minutes of Jeffrey Hatcher's Hamlet Friday evening at Illusion Theater.

In the opening minutes of his one-man play, Hatcher asked if anyone in the audience remembered the first play they were in. As a dutiful, career front-row student, I raised my hand. That was an easy question. It was...

See also:
Playwright Presents the Personal: "Jeffrey Hatcher's Hamlet"

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Romeo and Juliet: Passion and Pain

Categories: Theater

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Photo courtesy Ten Thousand Things
Anna Sundberg and Namir Smallwood.
How do you make the familiar beats of Romeo and Juliet fresh? For director Peter Rothstein and the eight-actor cast with Ten Thousand Things, it's all about ramping up the tension and emotions to the point that they are palpable.

The early blushes of love between our "star-crossed" lovers? It's like a dream as the pair share their first dance. You can feel the longing the two have for each other in your bones, as they spend so much of the play apart.

See also:
"Dirt Sticks" makes magic out of tragedy, second chances


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Miss Julie Rides Drama to Almost Unbearable Heights

Categories: Theater

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Image courtesy Theatre Coup d'Etat
Kelly Nelson, James Napoleon Stone, and Brie Roland.
August Strindberg's Miss Julie is a model of efficiency: three characters, 90 minutes. In that time, Strindberg explores gender and class roles, the upright morals of the middle class, and the growing decay of that class during the 19th century.

Theatre Coup d'Etat wisely doesn't get in the way of the text in its spare and effective production, which opened Wednesday evening at the Turnblad Mansion at the American Swedish Institute

See also:
Theatre Coup d'Etat goes to Hell on Earth in
One Flea Spare


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The Man in Her Dreams Looks at Wrongful Convictions, Faults of Memory

Categories: Theater

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Photo courtesy Freshwater Theatre Company
Members of the cast of The Man in Her Dreams.
After her one-woman play Dead Wrong had a successful run at the 2012 Minnesota Fringe Festival, Katherine Glover knew the story wasn't done. The piece, which explores the experience of a woman who comes to believe she has helped to send an innocent man to prison for a brutal attack, was centered on the perspective of Megan, the victim.

See also:
Freshwater uncovers 19th-century identity in "Mrs. Charles"

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Gabriel Plays It Cool in the Face of Melodrama

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Dan Norman
Lily Wangerin, Ross Destiche, Miriam Schwartz, and Katherine Kupiecki.
An off-kilter atmosphere permeates Gabriel, the latest show from Walking Shadow Theatre Company, now playing at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage.

Even history buffs might not know that a part of Britain was occupied during World War II, but the island of Guernsey was captured by the Germans without firing a shot in 1940. It would remain in Nazi hands until the final months of the war.

See also:
Walking Shadow's
Gabriel Aims for Mix of Tension, Drama

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Playwright Presents the Personal Jeffrey Hatcher's Hamlet

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Lauren B. Photography
Jeffrey Hatcher and the tools of the Hamlet trade.
Up front, Jeffrey Hatcher wants you to know that Jeffrey Hatcher's Hamlet -- which opens this weekend at Illusion Theater -- is not his own adaptation of the Bard's great tragedy.

"I think the title is inherently funny," Hatcher says, noting how pompous it sounds to recast Shakespeare's work in his own voice.

See also:
Jeffrey Hatcher Explores His Childhood
Hamlet

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