THEATER REVIEW | "Witness for the Prosecution" twists and turns at Theatre in the Round

(Photo courtesy Theatre in the Round)

Murder mystery fans are in for a treat at Theatre in the Round’s current production of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution. Set in post-war London of the 1950s, the play is a “who done it” with numerous plot twists and turns that keeps the audience guessing until the very last scene. Lynn Musgrave directs the play in vintage-style, letting the audience follow the unraveling of the mystery. 

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Barbara Jean CD release at Icehouse

Both on and off the stage, we were shoulder to shoulder at the Icehouse last Saturday night for the release of Barbara Jean’s latest CD, Darker Than Blue. I didn’t know the stage could hold eight musicians but the close quarters was worth it once the music started.

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MUSIC REVIEW | GWAR resurrect mythos at Skyway Theater

Photos By: 
Emmerlee Sherman

To say something was missing in regards to this GWAR show may be a little on the nose. After all, this is their first tour minus frontman Dave Brockie, who for years played the role of Orderus Urungus, and who died of a heroin overdose earlier this year, so that “something” that was missing should seem fairly obvious right from the start. But there seemed to be a sense of enthusiasm missing from the act, an act that, while still very entertaining, felt at times that it was going through the motions emulating the sort of vile, grotesque, and offensive stage show that GWAR has come to be known for rather than sincerely committing to it.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Usher's #URXTOUR elicits fun at the Xcel Energy Center

Photos By: 
Patrick Dunn

Photos by Patrick Dunn

When I sit down to try to gather my thoughts to describe last night’s Usher show at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center, only the most idiotic exclamations come to mind.

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Sergei Rachmaninoff's interdenominational concert "All-Night Vigil" rocks the pews

Teri Larson (center podium) and Sara Ann Pogorely lead the combined choral ensemble in Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil. Photo by Emily Pilacinski

More than a hundred choristers gathered on Nov. 16 for two performances of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil in Minneapolis. This renowned but rarely heard choral masterwork packed pews and was brought to life through a joint venture between the city’s (Catholic) Basilica of Saint Mary and St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral.

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THEATER REVIEW | Fire Drill's "Absolute Bliss": Where West Coast and Midwest choreography meet

(Photo courtesy of Aniccha Arts) One of the performers in Fire Drill's showcase of Minneapolis, Portland and Oakland dancers, Absolute Bliss

It’s nice to know I can always count on Fire Drill (Billy Mullaney and Emily Gastineau) to put the sort of performance in front of me that I probably wouldn’t run across myself if left to my own devices. Since they’re artists I trust because I enjoy their work, and they see all manner of other performers when they’re out and about touring around the country, I figure if there’s a group of artists they’ve gathered together for a showcase, it’s going to be worth checking out. The first such showcase of theirs I saw, Bring In The Indigo, confirmed this. So when I got word they were doing it again, this time at Bedlam Theatre with performers from the West Coast (Oakland and Portland), calling it Absolute Bliss, I knew it’d be worth checking out.

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Ars Nova performs at Mill City Nights, Covenant shares his passion for music

(Photo by Gino Terrell) Covenant, member of Ars Nova, performing at Mill City Night on Nov. 8 at the  "Long Live the Empire: Feed the People Show."

Ars Nova performed at Mill City Nights in Minneapolis on Saturday, Nov. 8, and a member of the group, Covenant, shared his passion for making music.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Richard Goode tickles the ivory at Schubert Club's International Artist Series

Photo courtesy Richard Goode

The measure of music and musicians is not just in the notes that are played, but also in the spaces between. A melody rendered with too much space becomes clunky and stilted; an Alberti bass line with too much, smeared and lost in a cloud. When just the right balance is found for a passage, piece, or repertoire, though, the notes begin to sing. How much space is appropriate depends on the instrument, the hall, the dynamics of a passage, and even the articulation of a phrase or a single note—but it is artistry that makes all the difference. This intricate attention to detail suffused Richard Goode’s piano recital at the Ordway on Tuesday, November 11.

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MUSIC REVIEW | St Paul Chamber Orchestra's "For Love of Nature" an awakening of cheerful feelings for kids and parents

Photos by Ann Treacy

I like orchestra music—about once every three years. The music is beautiful. It’s very relaxing. But I always feel like maybe I’m not quite getting it. And to be fair, I rarely like entertainment where you're expected to sit quietly for hours. But I happened to get an email invitation to the St Paul Chamber Orchestra's (SPCO) free family concert, For the Love of Nature. I looked at the calendar and realized, it’s been about three years. It’s a perfect chance to get my healthy dose of grownup music spun for kids.

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