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Guthrie to move, turn building into condos

The Guthrie Theater’s iconic building on the banks of the Mississippi River. Much of the building will be converted into condos under a plan announced Wednesday morning.

In a stunning press conference this morning, the Guthrie Theater announced that it is returning to Minneapolis’s Lowry Hill neighborhood and converting part of its iconic building on the banks of the Mississippi River into condos. These twin measures, some of the most far-reaching in the company’s 52-year history, sent shockwaves through the Twin Cities theatre and Downtown East communities.

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Zombies and Disney spectacular "Frozen" coming to Ordway, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Photo caption: Chanhassen Dinner Theatres is adapting the megahit movie Frozen for its 2015-2016 season.

The greater Twin Cities theater scene is getting a whole lot more zombies and ice castles in the 2015-2016 season. The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres both announced major screen-to-stage adaptations in the coming year: a musical version of the hit cable television series The Walking Dead at the Ordway and a much-anticipated adaptation of the Disney megahit movie Frozen at CDT. Both new musicals will have their world premieres in Minnesota as part of pre-Broadway trials.

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THEATER REVIEW | "Annie" timeless at the Orpheum Theatre

 Photo credit Joan Marcus

Stop what you’re doing right now and get all expectations of cliches out of your system. Sure, go ahead, say something along the lines of “I’ll see the production ‘Tomorrow.’” Make a few cracks regarding what a “Hard Knock Life” you’d experience if you missed this show. Go ahead and make reference to the barely related Jay-Z track. Just work it out of your system quick. We can wait.

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THEATER REVIEW | Theatre Coup d’Etat's 'Art': Basic in the best way

Marc (Lucas James Vonesek), Yvan (Kevin Fanshaw) and Serge (Elohim Pena) in Art; photo courtesy of Theatre Coup d'Etat

Friendship is often as strange and random as family. Though you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends, the circumstances that bring us in contact with those that become our friends are frequently just as out of our control. The same school, the same place of work, the same passion for a particular subject—these serve as the catalyst for unlikely pairings that might not otherwise ever cross paths. But just like romantic relationships, friendships need attention, care and feeding, or they’re likely to wither. Even if you don’t see your family members for years at a time, you’re still family. But if you aren’t deliberate about staying in contact with a friend, after a while can you still call them your friend? As we grow and change, do our friends and those friendships grow and change with us? And what happens if they don’t?

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Theater Review: There are other worlds

Photo by Sarah White

This past weekend, Free Black Dirt presented There Are Other Worlds a play written and directed by Junauda Petrus and produced by Erin Sharkey (these two form the core artisti

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THEATER REVIEW | Blue Water Theatre Company's "This Is Our Youth" very youthful

This Is Our Youth - the troubled trio of Warren (Kevin Dye), Jessica (Kasey Carpenter), and Dennis (Adam Hebeisen); photo courtesy of Blue Water Theatre Company

I’m not sure I should be reviewing Blue Water Theatre Company’s production of Kenneth Lonergan’s play This Is Our Youth. On the one hand, it is part of Southern Theater’s ARTshare offerings, and Blue Water is one of the resident companies this year. On the other hand, this could only charitably be called a full production, and I don’t think it helps anybody if I start grading on a curve. If reviewing Defying Gravity felt like kicking a puppy, I’m not sure where to take that metaphor if I start evaluating This Is Our Youth.

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THEATER REVIEW | Gadfly Theatre Productions' "Vile Affections": God only knows

Sister Bart (Emily Weiss), Sister Caterina (Sarah Parker) and Sister Fiora (Dana Lee Thompson) - the three holy sisters who are Sister Benedetta's undoing in Gadfly Theatre Productions' Vile Affections; photo courtesy of Gadfly Theatre Productions

I’m fully behind Gadfly Theatre Productions’ mission of creating queer and feminist theater and art. (Heck, I even took part in their original shorts festival last summer.) But Vanda’s Vile Affections isn’t doing them any favors. The script has so many unreliable narrators for this supposedly true but sparsely documented story of nuns under investigation in 17th century Italy that I not only lost the thread of the story, at a certain point I wasn’t even sure what the story was anymore. The case of Sister Benedetta Carlini (Amanda Kay Thomm Bahr) is notable for being one of the earliest documented cases of a lesbian affair. But Benedetta’s sexual relations with Sister Bartolomea Crivelli (Bart, for short) (Emily Weiss) don’t take place until well into the second act. And it’s not as if there’s a slow burn leading up to the event throughout the first act. In that sense, Vile Affections would appear to be about something else. What that is (you’ll pardon the expression) God only knows. 

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THEATER REVIEW | Savage Umbrella's "These are The Men" all about the woman

Jocasta (Laura Leffler-McCabe) and her brother Creon (Michael Ooms) are being stalked by Jocasta's past, present and future all at once in the trippy Oedipus riff These Are The Men from Savage Umbrella; photo by Carl Atiya Swanson

It’s tough being Jocasta (Laura Leffler-McCabe).  Sure, you’re the queen of Thebes, but when your husband Laius (Daniel Ian Joeck) goes to the Oracle at Delphi (Hannah K. Holman) and gets a prophecy, it can seriously muck up your family planning.  The Oracle tells Laius that his as yet unborn son will grow up to kill his father (Laius) and marry his mother (Jocasta). What is Laius supposed to do?  When a boy is born, you take him from his mother’s arms, hand him off to a shepherd (Foster Johns) and order the man to leave the baby on some far off hillside to die.

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