THEATER REVIEW | Minnesota Centennial Showboat’s “The Vampire!”: Dracula in a kilt

The Minnesota Centennial Showboat has opened another season and, for at least the fourth time since it started presenting plays in 1958, they are doing a vampire-themed show. The first was staged in 1978: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which was the first Showboat production that I ever attended. They have done Dracula at least two more times since then, but this year the Showboat is going with a Scottish kilt-wearing vampire named Lord Ruthven in a play by J.R. Plance titled The Vampire! Peter Moore directs this melodrama written in 1820 involving a Scottish vampire who must drink the blood of a virgin bride every month or perish.

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THEATER | “I Wish You Love” returns to Penumbra Theatre for another run

This weekend, Penumbra Theatre brought back its extremely successful production of I Wish You Love about Nat King Cole and the early days of broadcast television. Written and developed by Dominic Taylor, the show celebrated its world premiere in its spring run at Penumbra and played to sold-out performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. before occupying the Hartford Stage in Connecticut. Having heard rave reviews about the original production, I was disappointed last spring when I learned it was sold out. My opportunity to see it finally this last weekend proved to be well worth the wait.

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THEATER | Yellow Tree Theatre’s “Love Letters”: Simple and moving

Love Letters, by A.R. Gurney, is now on stage at Yellow Tree Theatre featuring the husband/wife team of Tom and Pat Isbell. The Isbells’ presentation of two souls who find comfort with each other through their written correspondence, despite their oftentimes lonely existence, makes for a charming and bittersweet show.The play spans 50 years in the lives of two characters within 90 minutes, using only two desks and a stack of paper. It tells the story of Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner, who begin writing letters to each other in elementary school during the 1930s. Both are from well-to-do families. Their letters to each other alternate between flirtation and friendship.Andrew has a stable family life while Melissa deals with her parents’ divorce, her mother’s alcoholism and as well as sexual abuse by her mother’s new husband. Continue Reading

Capitol Steps make merry at the Orpheum Theatre

The Capitol Steps are a side-splitting political satire group. They breezed through Minneapolis last week with an under-promoted one-night performance at the Orpheum Theatre. Most political satire getting attention today is on Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, or The Colbert Report. However, the Capitol Steps have been doing send-ups of politicians almost as long as SNL and hit the mark more consistently than the other shows.

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THEATER | An effectively campy, creepy “Cabaret” from Frank Theatre

A seductive evening at the Kit Kat Club is provided by Frank Theatre’s production of Cabaret. I have seen Cabaret performed on stage twice before but, despite a slow start, this production is the most compelling of the three. Under Wendy Knox’s direction, the performance concentrates on two couples whose romance is intruded upon by the growing Nazi menace. The social pathology of Weimar Germany initially takes on a playful eroticism that turns ominous; portraying the enticing nature of evil.Written by Joe Masteroff with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, Cabaret originally opened on Broadway in 1966. Since then it has been brought back twice in two Broadway revivals and made into a movie by Bob Fosse staring Liza Minnelli. Continue Reading

THEATER | Teatro del Pueblo’s 10th Annual Political Theatre Festival examines questions of Latino identity

“Latinos in Transition” is the theme for the 10th Annual Political Theatre Festival, presented by Teatro del Pueblo and Pangea World Theater. In its 10th year, the festival is becoming a staple in the community and Al Justiniano, artistic director of Teatro del Pueblo, hopes that the festival will continue for many more years.

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