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THEATER REVIEW | "Mercy Unrelenting" by Open Window Theatre: Preaching to the choir?

Alessandro (Jeremy Stanbary) confronts Maria (Katie Law-Goitch) in Mercy Unrelenting. Photo courtesy Open Window Theatre.

A 12-year-old girl rebuffs the repeated sexual advances of a 19-year-old farmhand. In response, the boy stabs the girl to death. On her deathbed, the girl forgives the boy and says that she hopes to see him in heaven with her one day. The boy is sentenced to prison. Miracles begin happening at the girl's gravesite. The boy is visited in prison by a vision of the girl he murdered. The boy experiences a religious conversion. Years later, when the boy, now a man, is released from prison, he goes to the girl's mother to apologize. The girl's mother gives him the same forgiveness her daughter did. The murderer and the mother of the girl he murdered both attend the canonization ceremony for the girl when she is declared a saint of the Catholic church. The man lives out the rest of his life in a monastery, tending the garden. We can't know, but perhaps he and the girl met again in the afterlife.

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"Wicked": Still as wonderful ten years later

Unless you are just now emerging from the rock under which you've been living, you've at least heard of the musical Wicked. And if you've been a tween girl any time since 2003, you've belted “Popular” in front of your mirror more times than you can count. For those reading this under their rocks, Wicked is the story of the witches of Oz before Dorothy dropped in, based on the book of the same name by Gregory Maguire. The unbelievably successful musical returns to Minneapolis’s Orpheum Theatre for the fourth time September 19 through October 27. It is a great time for all ages. It makes a good date—as there is a love story; an educational family affair—as there are many important lessons to be learned; or a fun girls’ night out—as there is an inspiring friendship and a man with a great butt.

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The Mill District should be Loopier: On the creation of new old neighborhoods

I have recently spent some time milling about in the Minneapolis Mill District and part of the North Loop neighborhoods. These are hugely changed (and improved) over the past 15 years.

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THEATER REVIEW | A bright brilliant bouquet: "Uncle Vanya" connects with the Guthrie Theater’s past

Jim Lichtscheidl and Andrew Weems in Uncle Vanya. Photo by Joan Marcus, courtesy Guthrie Theater.

Why a version of Chekhov’s 1897 Uncle Vanya by the Irish playwright Brian Friel? First, the play’s director, Joe Dowling, acknowledges Friel (1929-) as his greatest mentor. Dowling is one of the few masterly directors of Friel’s canon. He first directed the world premiere of Living Quarters at the Abbey Theatre (Ireland’s National Theatre) in Dublin in 1977, but has always stated that the production of Philadelphia, Here I Come! presented at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1964 made him commit to theater as a career. Friel, in turn, was first fully immersed in the comic pathos of Chekhov when he observed Tyrone Guthrie’s (1900-1971) rehearsal of The Three Sisters in the inaugural season of the Guthrie Theater in 1963.

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"Wicked": What is this feeling?

Any person who grew up watching The Wizard of Oz (myself very much included) will absolutely adore Wicked, now at the Orpheum from September 16th to October 27th. The audience is Immediately drawn in to the complicated love-hate relationship of Oz's two favorite witches, Galinda Upland (Jenn Gambatese) and Elphaba Thropp (Alison Luff). As schoolmates, they initially share an "unadulterated loathing" for one another, but they overcome their differences to form the friendship of a lifetime. It's got everything, from talented stars to enthralling subplots, whirling costumes to dazzling lighting. It's absolutely captivating, and (aside from a few minor slip-ups) it was perfectly executed.

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"Wicked": The absolutely true diary of an Elphaba standby (the worst job on Broadway)

Hey all, welcome to my blog, where I talk about all things Wicked. Well, it's been a loooooong tour, and I still haven't gone onstage once.

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THEATER REVIEW | "How to be a Korean Woman," at the Guthrie Theater, is a humorous and heartfelt take on adoption and identity

Sun Mee Chomet. Photo by Aaron Fenster, courtesy Guthrie Theater.

Strive for one as we may, there’s really never a finish line in sight when it comes to the search for one’s true self. The same existential questions keep nagging at us for the entire short time we’re here, each adding layer upon layer of doubt that make it hard for any of us to know our innermost core. Who am I? What’s my purpose? Who would I be if things were just a little bit different?

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MUSIC REVIEW | Iron & Wine fall into a routine at First Avenue

“It’s New Year’s Eve/…Back home the hammer always has to fall/cross is barely hanging on the wall/some day I know you’ll never leave me/but we’re far from the hard light tonight.”

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With Eddie Griffin, Diana Ross, and Mary Mary, August was a sterling month for black entertainment on Hennepin Avenue

August was a pretty good month for black entertainment in downtown Minneapolis—and not even February. You had hot national acts Mary Mary, Diana Ross, and Eddie Griffin, all of it hosted by Hennepin Theatre Trust.

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