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Melissa Birch's "Flying Nuns" move as live art

Last May when I covered Bedlam’s Tenfest, I was most mesmerized by the piece by Melissa Birch that involved linen and white-cotton-clad movers–dancers/characters who connected and climbed over each other and implied inequality, power games, gender games. They functioned like moving pieces of a puzzle that would come together to make a statement–only to disperse again and start the next collection of pieces that would re-converge and show you a new puzzle and statement. 

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Three reasons you should see zAmya Theater's Home Street Home Minneapolis

It’s a show of the people for the people. And it’s free. So there’s no excuse not to go and every reason to make the effort to see it; I know because I was able to catch part of a rehearsal last week.

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THEATER REVIEW | "Naked Darrow" at the Illusion Theater: Who is Clarence Darrow?

Photo credit Petronella J. Ytsma

"Who is Clarence Darrow?" This is a question I often hear from the students in my college law class. Because he is largely unknown today, I wondered when I approached this production of Naked Darrow at Illusion Theatre on Thursday, April 3 if it could answer this question in a way that would be meaningful for those who do not know about Darrow's accomplishments. The answer is a resounding yes–the production provides great insight to this amazing and flawed man.

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MayDay 2014 the Public Workshops are Open

The magic of making MayDay has begun to infuse all of the theatre space at HOBT.ORG (in the Heart Of the Beast puppet and mask Theatre).

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THEATER REVIEW | "Dead Man's Cell Phone" at Theatre in the Round: Dated in the era of smartphones

Charles Numrich (left), Colleen Somerville Leeman (right), Andrew Troth (back). Photo credit Theatre in the Round.

The play-licensing company Samuel French describes Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone as a dramatic and romantic comedy, with a contemporary setting and a strong role for a leading woman. These are all technically true, and also likely aspects that the audience will overlook when seeing Theatre in the Round's production of the play. Dead Man's Cell Phone is a quirky play populated by quirky characters, and the increasingly odd but consistent things that they do are the main attraction.

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THEATER REVIEW | "Once" hits highs and lows at the Orpheum Theatre

Photo credit Joan Marcus

My grandpa always says, "If you're ten minutes early, you're late." I'm more of the school of thought that if you're exactly on time, you're using your time efficiently. In the case of Once, do as my grandpa does and be earlier than early—so early that you have to wait for the house doors to open. Because when the doors do open, you'll find that you're invited to mosey around onstage for a beer at the cash bar and a pre-show concert from the cast members. One of my favorite nights in Ireland when I went last October was the live music at The Celt pub in Dublin. The jam session that transitioned seamlessly into Once on Tuesday, April 1 at the Orpheum Theatre made me feel like I was back in the Emerald Isle.

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Claire Wellin brings her violin to Minneapolis in "Once"

The musical Once opens at the Orpheum Theatre on Tuesday, April 1. The Tony Award-studded show was the darling of Broadway in its inaugural season and its current tour has drawn large audiences across the country. I talked to Claire Wellin on the phone, an actress and violinist who donned both hats for the Broadway premiere of Once and reprises this dual role in the Once tour. Wellin holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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THEATER REVIEW | Classical Actors Ensemble's "Romeo & Juliet" and "A Chaste Maid In Cheapside": The suicidal love story reinvented

Nate Cheeseman, Hannah Steblay, Zachary Morgan, and Nissa Nordland in Classical Actors Ensemble’s double feature of Romeo and Juliet, and A Chaste Maid In Cheapside; Photographer: Zach Curtis

If you’re looking for an antidote to the suicidal love story of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, has Classical Actors Ensemble got a play for you. The bawdy, cross-dressing, gross, and hilariously politically incorrect A Chaste Maid In Cheapside from Thomas Middleton is so outrageously nasty that you’re liable to forget you’re watching a piece of classical theater. It seems even more obscene and disrespectful if, like Classical Actors Ensemble, you play it in rep with the previously mentioned Romeo and Juliet. It’s a savvy move, using the same cast for both plays and running them alongside one another, because then you get the full effect of how you can play the same kind of tragic story for laughs. Fair warning though, if there’s something revolting a person can do with, say, food, they do it in Cheapside. There was more than one time that I had to look away so I didn’t throw up myself. But hey, that’s half the fun, right? It was certainly more than half the fun for the cast. They’re having a ball doing Cheapside and it shows. 

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PLAYS AND PLAYMAKERS | Playwright John Cariani talks "Almost, Maine" and "Love/Sick"

Photo courtesy John Cariani

One of the mandates embraced by the Old Log Theater's new ownership is a refresh of its stage offerings. Its last several years of programming were, according to one long-time audience member, "Very British" to a fault. By the time the Frankenfields purchased the theater, this vein of plays was both well-tapped and mined out. It was time for a return to the more diverse types of programming that had made the Old Log famous to begin with.

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REVIEW | Morgan Thorson's "YOU" officially opens the Bedlam Lowertown space

Photos By: 
Rene Meyer-Grimberg

Photo credit Rene Meyer-Grimberg

As Sheila Regan reported at the beginning of this month, Bedlam has had access to the space in Lowertown Saint Paul directly across from the Union Depot for almost two years. The slow renovation process she describes is ostensibly almost finished (to wit, the paint and floor were off-gassing this evening, as part of the festive atmosphere). With Morgan Thorsonn’s dance production YOU, the space is officially open for business and there will be more soft openings as they add a bar and full kitchen to complement the performance space.

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