THEATER | And now for something completely different: Urban Samurai’s “[title of show]”

Hi, my name is Becca, and I’m an admitted theater geek. I’m not a good actor or dancer, and I can’t carry a note to save my life, but put me in a dark theater with a playbill in hand and I’m as happy as can be. My friends and family know this about me—heck, even my coworkers come to me for theater tips. I’m as intrigued by Broadway stars as others are about Hollywood celebrities. If there were an US Weekly for theater, I would sign up for the two-year subscription.Do I have a point? Continue Reading

THEATER | At the Jungle Theater, “Next Fall” is, like life, imperfect

It’s a situation most of us have found ourselves in at one time or another. Why disrupt a seemingly on-track relationship by addressing something that could be put off until “next fall”? But what if we find that life is short and “next fall” might not be an option? This is the scenario faced by the characters in the Tony-nominated play Next Fall, currently being produced at the Jungle Theater.

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THEATER | Minneapolis Musical Theater brings “Bare” to Illusion Theater

As my friend Shelby and I made our way to the Illusion Theater last Friday night to see Bare, she pointed out that the musical had many similarities to the Broadway hit Spring Awakening. I was familiar with both, having seen the latter multiple times (I reviewed the touring production for the Daily Planet) and because I’d received a CD sampler of songs from the former. Still, I had never connected the two, which in fact do share a few key themes, until right before the performance. Spring Awakening is the stronger of the two, but both have important stories to tell.

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THEATER | “Spring Awakening” at the Orpheum: If you slept through it, don’t worry

“Wasn’t it just here?” a friend asked when I told her I was going to see Spring Awakening on Saturday. When I checked and saw it was here less than two years ago, I wasn’t surprised. [Read Jay Gabler’s January 2009 review in the Daily Planet.] The musical has a compelling score and its mature subject matter combined with its attractive young talent has earned it a strong following among the younger crowd. Still, I couldn’t also help but wonder if it was returning so soon because it may not be so compelling a show five years from now.

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THEATER | MMT’s “Evil Dead” musical: Less blood, but still filling

I challenge you not to be intrigued by the thought of Evil Dead: The Musical. Sure, there are plenty of Halloween-related events that pop up each year around this time, but there’s something about singing demons, campy puns, fake blood—did I mention singing demons?—that my cheesy self just can’t resist. And for the most part, the Minneapolis Musical Theatre’s area premiere of the musical, now playing at Illusion Theater, delivers on all expectations except, surprisingly, the gore. Which begs the question, should this musical be renamed Evil Dead: Lite?

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THEATER | You’ll be impressed with Theater Latté Da’s “Evita”—but per instruction, you won’t cry

I must admit, I have some bias when it comes to the musical Evita. As my college roommates can attest, it played non-stop during the 2005-06 school year. In the summer of 2006, while studying abroad in London, I made it a point to go see the just-opened West End production. But my history with the show doesn’t make it any easier to review Theater Latté Da’s current production of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical playing at the Ordway’s McKnight Theatre. Of course, I walked in knowing I would enjoy the familiar music, but it also meant I had expectations that were potentially impossible to meet. For the most part, this production of Evita presents some strong creative talent, but doesn’t quite deliver on a deeper level.

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THEATER | “A Few Good Men,” one good story

“You can’t handle the truth!” Those words will forever be connected to the gripping final scene of Aaron Sorkin’s 1992 film A Few Good Men. What many may not know is that the movie starring Tom, Jack, and Demi was based on the play of the same name also written by Sorkin. In Urban Samurai’s production of A Few Good Men, currently playing at the Sabes Jewish Community Center in St. Louis Park, those familiar words—while delivered differently than in the film—are just as powerful. Continue Reading

THEATER | Joking Envelope’s “Deadwood: The Last Bleeping Episode” is strictly for those who’ve been to Deadwood before

Local actor Sid Solomon recently asked his Twitter followers if they thought Twin Cities critics grade on a curve. Should they? Walking out of the Bryant-Lake Bowl on Saturday night after seeing Deadwood: The Last Bleeping Episode, I couldn’t help but ask the same question of myself. I didn’t love the show, but a Deadwood diehard might feel differently. Unless you’re a big fan of the HBO series being spoofed by Joking Envelope, this show is probably not for you.

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THEATER | “The Sweet Stuff” is a small wonder at Yellow Tree Theatre

Live theater is one of the most intimate forms of art. Actors must rely and trust each other to act and react appropriately to each other’s performances, and to audience reactions. There are no re-shoots, no second chances. For me, this is what makes theater so compelling. Even if you see the same production five times, you’re seeing a different performance each time. Continue Reading

THEATER | Park Square’s “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily” is elementary indeed

The game is once again afoot in St. Paul: Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily has taken up residence at Park Square Theatre. As storm-drenched patrons made their way into the theater Friday night, one gentleman could be heard muttering aloud, “This better be worth it.” And it was—with the right expectations. If theatergoers expect the production to be as witty and action-packed as last fall’s major motion picture featuring the famous detective, they may be disappointed, but the play does offer an evening of humor, mystery, disguises and, at times, even a touch of romance. Continue Reading