FREE SPEECH ZONE | Most Memorable Theater Productions and Venues for 2011


The Twin Cities has some of the best theater, in both large and small venues! My top events, in no particular order, include the following:

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  • Red Resurrected by Isabel Nelson at the Fringe. Phenomenal telling of an Appalachian story with bare bones technical support and all sound affects created by the cast!
  • Anna Bella Emma by Lisa D’Amour by Theatre Unbound. Also a small venue, great theater company dedicated to works by, for, and about women. The cast also provide an eerie array of sound and music cues. Lisa D’Amour was a local and awarding winning playwright, whose plays have been produced in various venues.
  • Silent Night was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera and had a world premiere at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. The production was extremely moving. The choice to not include the famous carol accentuated the point that it was about a night cross-fire between nations was silenced. 
  • I Wish You Love done at Penumbra, was a wonderful tribute to Nat King Cole. It is no surprise that this show was remounted, after touring other cities. Dennis Spears was brilliant.
  • Doubt, the play, as produced by Ten Thousand Things was more chilling and left me with more questions and doubt or uncertainty about what did or did not happen and the choices people made, than the movie. And the whole story was presented by four great local actors!
  • Burial at Thebes is probably the best show, that I have seen produced by the Guthrie in years. I attribute this to the multicultural cast, direction, and outstanding technical contributions. The music and dance brought new life and interpretation to an ancient tale.
  • Heaven by Flying Foot is one show I wish I could have seen twice. The story, music, and dance was as rich as it was horrifying. This is one of the best collaborations I have ever personally witnessed grown from and early draft to a full production.
  • Our Class at Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company was a heart-wrenching story about a town torn by bigotry and fear and the horrifying massacre that resulted. This piece of history would have been lost if a hand full of survivors had not recently come forth and set the record straight.
  • Joan of Arc was produced by Nautilus Music Theatre. I am honored to be among approximately 300 people who saw this show, which is also being remounted. See it, if you can! My only concern with this play was my personal difficulty in watching the interrogation scenes because of harsh lighting. Others, who do not have a seizure disorder, also noted this was too difficult for them.
  • Murderess was written by local playwright, Anne Bertram, and also produced by Theatre Unbound. This play weaved the tales of seven women accused of murder throughout the USA and during various historical periods. I left this play questioning which women would have been proven guilty or released as innocent if judged today by a court of their peers.


Keep in mind, some of the most brilliant productions are made possible through your contributions and on shoe-string budgets. It’s not how much you have to spend on a productions that matters most, but what you do with what you have that can make a world of difference! Support your local theaters, both large and small, in 2012!