From the doorman welcoming patrons to “Griffen Stadium,” to the hotdogs and beer for sale, Ordway Center blends baseball and Broadway in its revival of the 1955 smash musical show Damn Yankees. Though a bit dated, the Richard Adler and Jerry Ross musical, under the direction and choreography of James A. Rocco and Sharon Halley, shows one does not need to be a baseball fan to have an enjoyable summer evening at the ballpark. The musical is a re-telling of the Faustian story with Joe Boyd, a middle-age real estate agent, who is a die-hard fan of the Washington Senators (the team that later became the Minnesota Twins) in the 1950’s. The Senators can’t seem to beat the New York Yankees. Upset with the Senators’ latest loss, Joe cries out that if the team had a “long ball hitter” they could beat the “damn Yankees.” He then seals his fate uttering: “I’d sell my soul for a long ball hitter.” On the spot pops in “Mr. Applegate” who takes Joe up on his offer. Continue Reading
On a cold first day of school after the holiday break, a bunch of teens huddle at the entrance to the Red Eye Theater in downtown Minneapolis. Their teacher for the next two weeks is Jon Ferg Continue Reading
Even if you feel like you just saw Spring Awakening seven months ago when Theater Latté Da blew the roof off the place with their Ivey Award-winning production, you still owe it to yourself to see the powerful new production being put on by blank slate theatre. It’s the same musical, but radically different. If you’ve never seen Spring Awakening, then blank slate’s production is a perfect introduction.
Mixed Blood Theatre Company recently opened its season with an ambitious production of the musical Next to Normal. Normal won the 2009 Tony Awards for Best Original Score, Best Orchestration, and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Alice Ripley). The Broadway touring company staring Alice Ripley played last year at the Ordway and comparisons with this production are inevitable. But having seen both, I prefer the current production at Mixed Blood.
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.