Jean Gabler (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a resident of the Merriam Park neighborhood and works at the University of St. Thomas. In addition to reviewing theater, she writes about baseball and the Minnesota Twins in her blog, The Knothole View
Johnny Baseball, currently playing at Park Square Theatre, tells the story of a fictional baseball player named Johnny O’Brien playing for the very real Boston Red Sox in the year 1919. It tells the story of the “curse” that supposedly prevented the Red Sox from winning a national baseball championship for 86 years.The play opens in 2004 during game four of the World Series between the Red Sox and the Yankees. The Yankees have won the first three games, and a group of Red Sox fans are sitting on the edge of their seats praying for just one more run to keep Boston’s hopes alive. Of course discussion turns to the infamous Curse of the Bambino. This widely touted curse had superstitious fans believing that when the Red Sox decided to trade Babe Ruth to their arch-rival New York Yankees in 1919, they were doomed.A lone fan speaks up to say that it was not the Bambino who put the curse on the Red Sox, but an unknown player named Johnny O’Brien.The story begins in 1919 as we meet the promising young pitcher Johnny. His amazing success on the mound leads to a friendship with teammate Babe Ruth. Continue Reading
The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts this month introduces the Twin Cities to a new Broadway musical dedicated to spreading Christmas cheer. Years ago they introduced Irving Berlin’s White Christmas; showing now is Elf the Broadway Musical. While watching Elf I was comparing the two, and found Elf lacking in extravagance.
An “Eventually” Christmas has the audience at the Mill City Museum riding the elevator in the flour tower, a feature that’s also prominently featured in the regularly scheduled mill tours. This time, we are viewing preparations in the mill for the 1920 company Christmas party.
The Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis kicked off its 2012-13 broadway season by bringing back Beauty and the Beast. Based on the 1991 animated Disney movie of the same name, the musical tells the timeless tale of the charming but rude prince who is turned into a beast after an unfortunate encounter with an enchantress. In order to save himself—and all who live in the castle with him—he must not only fall in love but be loved in return. The servants, who have also been turned into household objects (like Lumiere the candlestick, Cogsworth the clock, and Mrs. Potts the teapot) are determined to help the prince in his quest for love. Belle, the beautiful daughter of the town inventor, agrees to stay with the beast in exchange for the freedom of her father. After much adversity, the two fall in love, releasing the household from the spell. Meanwhile, Belle must also fight off the advances of Gaston, the conceited town hunk, who heads to the castle to kill the beast. In the end all live happily ever, including Disney, who had themselves a new hit.
The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts recently presented Billy Elliot, the musical inspired by the movie of the same name—which was not a musical. Billy Elliot is a young boy growing up in a small Northern England coal-mining town. The year is 1984 and the story centers on the actual strike of the British National Union of Mineworkers in opposition to the threatened closure of mines by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The strike lasted a year but eventually failed. In the next 10 years the entire industry was dismantled, with almost 300,000 losing their jobs.
This is only the second blog post that I have written this season because I have been focused on trying to figure out my life after my divorce in June.
I started out not wanting to be labeled as divorced. I thought I could be who I always was, even though I am divorced. What I have discovered is that being divorced has changed me. I am no longer a part of a couple who gets invited to go out with other couples, I no longer get to play cards as a couple with our neighbors, and I no longer can plan on being invited to all family functions in a family—my former husband’s—that I technically am no longer a part of. I miss all of these things much more than I thought I would. Continue Reading
When asked if I would like to review a show called Confessions of a Prairie Bitch at Camp Bar in St. Paul, I immediately knew I would be seeing the actress who played Nellie Oleson on the TV show Little House on the Prairie.
The Twins are off to a rocky start again this season, continuing the level of performance they exhibited last year. The starting pitching appears to be the problem: they started the season short one starter because Scott Baker’s injury prevented him from ever making it out of the spring season, and all four of the other starting pitchers have already had a stint in the bullpen or on the disabled list. Continue Reading
When asked to review Deal! The Musical, currently playing at the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis, I enthusiastically agreed. Looking at the website I found this decription: “…Added to the mix is a colorful group of friends and family who join them for their weekly poker games. Dreams and ambitions collide with small town realities as everyone deals with love and life in this spirited yet touching look at how one family holds on tight to their love for one another.”
Mamma Mia!, the musical based on the songs of ABBA, is currently playing at the Orpheum Theatre through April 29. This is the fifth time that Mamma Mia! has played in Minnesota, and for many in the audience this was a repeat performance.