Into the Woods: An Elegant, Engaging Musical from Theatre Latte Da

Categories: Theater

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Heidi Bohnenkamp
Fairy tales are hot. It's not just six-year-olds driving the success of Frozen. Once Upon a Time continues to draw audiences on ABC, while Bill Willingham's Fables is ending a 13-year run as one of the most intriguing comic books on the market.

Since its premiere in 1987, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine have tapped into this intrigue with Into the Woods. It's become a musical staple, recently accompanied by a film version. Now Theatre Latte Da presents a bright, engaging production that is marred only by the sometimes distorted sound of the Ritz Theater.


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The Manchurian Candidate: The Novel Becomes an Opera

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Michal Daniel
When the Minnesota Opera commissioned Kevin Puts to compose Silent Night, his debut piece about the 1914 World War I Christmas truce, they didn't expect a Pulitzer Prize. The award-winning piece put him in the spotlight, and has gone on to be staged in Europe, Canada, and in cities across the U.S.

This week, Puts and librettist Mark Campbell are back together at the Ordway with the world premiere of their new opera, The Manchurian Candidate.


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Ten Thousand Things' Michelle Hensley Writes Book About Theater

Categories: Theater

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Book cover
Michelle Hensley admits she's been thinking about writing a book for a long time. It took some help from a playwright for the Ten Thousand Things founder to take the next step.

"It took me eight years to really get started. We have Kira Obolensky here for three years as a playwright in residence. She was the person on the other side of the deadline. I finally felt disciplined when I knew was Kira was waiting for it. I would write a chapter every two weeks," Hensley says.

See also:
The Unsinkable Molly Brown is Still a Thriller for Ten Thousand Things

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Actors Ready to Fly in Chanhassen's Mary Poppins

Categories: Theater

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Heidi Bohnenkamp
Different actors will approach famous roles in different ways. When Ann Michels was cast as the title character in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' Mary Poppins, she began to research not just the original film, but the original novels and the story of P.L. Travers.

Meanwhile Mark King, cast as helpful chimney sweep Bert, has a long love affair with the film. Still, he wanted to keep as far away from it as possible when getting ready for the stage version.

See also:
Hello Dolly! Shows its Age at Chanhassen

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Girl Shorts Returns with More Plays by Women

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Theatre Unbound's Girl Shorts is back, and it's bigger and better than ever. This year's festival of plays by women features efforts from 20% Theatre, Gadfly Theatre Productions, Table Salt Productions, Erin Sheppard Presents, and Raw Sugar. New this year will be seven films screened at Intermedia Arts.

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Mixed Blood's Hir Makes for a Thoroughly Unpleasant Two Hours

Categories: Theater

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Rich Ryan
Isaac, a meth-addled ex-Marine, has returned home from Afghanistan. Instead of the neat and ordered abode of his youth, he lands in what could be described as a hoarder's starter home.

The grass hasn't been cut in months. Clothes litter every inch of the floor. The front door is impassable due to the junk pressed against it.

While he was away, his father suffered a stroke, giving his mother, Paige, an opportunity to exact revenge for years of abuse. Dad, a once-proud plumber, now wanders the house in a nightgown and Depends.

The person Isaac knew as his sister has also changed. Max has come out as transgendered and now insists on being referred to as "hir" to combat hetero-normative constructs.

Unfortunately, playwright Taylor Mac has opened up this sweeping family drama with a sledgehammer instead of a scalpel, making for a thoroughly unpleasant two hours.


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Leah's Train Marks Co-production Between 20% Theatre and Sabes JCC

Categories: Theater
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Paul Costanza
Starting this weekend, 20% Theatre Company is joining up with Sabes JCC for a production of Leah's Train, a play by Karen Hartman. The story follows a young woman, Ruth, who must confront her relationship with her mother in the wake of the death of her grandmother.

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Greta Oglesby Takes on the Witch in Into the Woods

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp
Greta Oglesby.
Greta Oglesby is thrilled to be playing the Witch in Stephen Sondheim's beloved Into the Woods -- even if it means stepping into some big shoes.

"I've seen it several times and I've seen the movie with Meryl Streep. The role is way harder than I ever thought," she says.

See also:
Oliver!: The Clanking Heart of Darkness

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Pillsbury House Explores the End of Life in Death Tax

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Travis Anderson
Tracey Maloney, Regina Marie Williams, and Wendy Lehr
After director Hayley Finn saw Lucas Hnath's Death Tax, she knew she wanted to bring the show to Minneapolis and have it produced at Pillsbury House Theatre.

"I couldn't stop thinking about it afterwards. I wanted to go to every person who had seen it and talk, and tell everyone who hadn't seen it to see it," she says. "It raised so many ethical questions from so many vantage points. It made me question things about money and how money affects relationships. I wanted to engage in these conversations."

See Also:
Characters at Heart of Health-Care Crisis Play
Mercy Killers


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Fifty Shades of Gravy: Trigger Warnings Galore

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Dani Werner
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The Brave New Workshop has always been an equal-opportunity offender. That comes out clearly at the top of Act Two of the longstanding company's latest comedy revue, Fifty Shades of Gravy.

Moments after making fun of Fox News -- an easy target for any climate-change-fearing liberal -- they set their sights on a left-leaning sacred cow, NPR. Both bits offer spot-on satire. For Fox, it's all about speaking in a code so loaded with analogies as to be as incomprehensible as a report on a cricket match. For NPR, it's the tendency to assign highfalutin meaning to the most mundane of events. In this case, an inadvertent fart gets turned into a commentary on improved race relations in America.

See also:
Brave New Workshop Takes on American Politics

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