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BWW Review: THE LION IN WINTER at Guthrie Theater BWW Review: THE LION IN WINTER at Guthrie Theater
by Karen Bovard - December 05, 2016

Holiday gatherings of dysfunctional families are nothing new. James Goldman's crackling script for THE LION IN WINTER is set at Christmas 1183, and since the family is a royal one with questions of succession looming, the scheming and double-crossing are fevered.... (more...)
BWW Review: THE OLDEST BOY at The Jungle Theater BWW Review: THE OLDEST BOY at The Jungle Theater
by Karen Bovard - November 14, 2016

Sarah Ruhl's recent play puts a contemporary mother's dilemma at the center of the story. This is not the only radical thing about the show. It also includes depiction of a live birth on stage, carefully staged so as not to offend audience sensibilities. And it steps directly into the treacherous ... (more...)
BWW Review: CINDERELLA at Children's Theatre Company BWW Review: CINDERELLA at Children's Theatre Company
by Karen Bovard - November 14, 2016

There's something for everybody in this raucous and hilarious CINDERELLA: plenty of glitter and stage magic and romance (lite) for the kids, but also cat videos, a Tshirt slingshot, a killer drag rendition of Joe Cocker's “You are So Beautiful” and even a poop emoji blanket. It's a really smart sh... (more...)
BWW Review: THE PARCHMAN HOUR at The Guthrie Theater BWW Review: THE PARCHMAN HOUR at The Guthrie Theater
by Karen Bovard - October 21, 2016

In 1961, Parchman Penitentiary served as a detention site for the Freedom Riders, mixed race and mixed gender groups of activists who put their lives on the line to protest segregation. To keep their spirits up in jail, they sang. This documentary theater piece is rich in music, and tells their sto... (more...)
BWW Review: THE LAST FIREFLY at Children'sTheatre Company BWW Review: THE LAST FIREFLY at Children'sTheatre Company
by Karen Bovard - October 20, 2016

This pre-eminent children's theatre company is one of the wellsprings of new plays for young audiences, and has twice commissioned playwright Naomi Iizuka in that effort. This time, Iizuka has woven together aspects of seven different Japanese folktales to create THE LAST FIREFLY, the tale of a bo... (more...)
BWW Review: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY  at Guthrie Theater BWW Review: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY at Guthrie Theater
by Karen Bovard - September 26, 2016

The Guthrie's well cast, wittily directed, beautifully costumed production of a new adaptation of one of Jane Austen's beloved novels is a delightful concoction, firmly set in period but updated to our time in terms of thematic emphasis. This upbeat show is well worth a visit, even if you are someo... (more...)
BWW Review: THE TAMING at Theatre Unbound BWW Review: THE TAMING at Theatre Unbound
by Karen Bovard - September 19, 2016

Lauren Gunderson is the 8th most produced playwright in the US in the 2015 - 16 theater season, according to AMERICAN THEATRE. Make that 9th, if you count Shakespeare. And part of the reason is her 2013 farce, THE TAMING, which riffs loosely off Shakespeare's famously problematic sex comedy, THE T... (more...)
BWW Review: Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre and St. Paul's Ordway Center Bring Us a Reinvigorated PAINT YOUR WAGON About the Diverse Cultures that Built the American West BWW Review: Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre and St. Paul's Ordway Center Bring Us a Reinvigorated PAINT YOUR WAGON About the Diverse Cultures that Built the American West
by Jill Schafer - August 19, 2016

I had never even heard of the 1951 Lerner and Loewe musical PAINT YOUR WAGON when the Ordway announced it as part of their season. I guess that's not too surprising; it ran for less than a year on Broadway and has never been revived. The story was significantly rewritten for the 1969 movie adaptatio... (more...)
BWW Review: A Few Suggestions at the Halfway Point of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, or, Time to Get Your Fringe On! BWW Review: A Few Suggestions at the Halfway Point of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, or, Time to Get Your Fringe On!
by Jill Schafer - August 10, 2016

It's the halfway point of the 11-day, 168-show Minnesota Fringe Festival. I've seen 29 shows in the last 6 days, with 20+ more scheduled for the final 5 days of the fest. The new system of daily wristbands that get you into any and all shows that day seems to be working great. The handy Fringe websi... (more...)
BWW Review: Head to Charming Excelsior for a Nostalgic and Musically Thrilling MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET at Old Log Theatre BWW Review: Head to Charming Excelsior for a Nostalgic and Musically Thrilling MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET at Old Log Theatre
by Jill Schafer - August 04, 2016

Carl Perkins, 'the king of rockabilly.' Jerry Lee Lewis, 'rock and roll's first great wild man.' Johnny Cash, 'one of the best-selling musicians of all time.' Elvis Presley, simply 'the king.' In 1956, these four men were in their 20s and at the early stages of their influential and prolific careers... (more...)
BWW Review: Jungle Theater's New Play LE SWITCH is a Feel-Good Summer Rom-Com with a Little More Depth and Significance than the Usual Rom-Com BWW Review: Jungle Theater's New Play LE SWITCH is a Feel-Good Summer Rom-Com with a Little More Depth and Significance than the Usual Rom-Com
by Jill Schafer - June 27, 2016

Two years ago I saw Philip Dawkins' one-act play FAILURE: A LOVE STORY at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, and it was one of my favorite things I've ever seen at the Fringe. In fact I called it 'everything I want in theater,' a perfect blend of comedy and tragedy, with tons of heart. At the time I did... (more...)
BWW Review: Transatlantic Love Affair's Remount of the Ivey-Winning BALLAD OF THE PALE FISHERMAN is a Simple Story Beautifully Told BWW Review: Transatlantic Love Affair's Remount of the Ivey-Winning BALLAD OF THE PALE FISHERMAN is a Simple Story Beautifully Told
by Jill Schafer - June 08, 2016

Devised physical theater company Transatlantic Love Affair won an Ivey in 2012 for BALLAD OF THE PALE FISHERMAN, an original work based on the legend of the selkie, a seal who takes human form. I did not see that production, having only 'discovered' TLA shortly before their Ivey win through their Fr... (more...)
BWW Review: Walking Shadow Theatre Company's Excellent THE CHRISTIANS Examines the Power of Belief to Unite and Divide BWW Review: Walking Shadow Theatre Company's Excellent THE CHRISTIANS Examines the Power of Belief to Unite and Divide
by Jill Schafer - May 30, 2016

Why do we believe what we believe? Can our beliefs change? What happens when those we love don't believe the same things we believe? How important is it to find a group of people that believe in the same things you do? These are just a few of the questions raised by Walking Shadow Theatre Company's ... (more...)
BWW Review: The Guthrie Theater's Production of the 60-Year-Old Play TROUBLE IN MIND Starts an Important Conversation that's Still Relevant Today BWW Review: The Guthrie Theater's Production of the 60-Year-Old Play TROUBLE IN MIND Starts an Important Conversation that's Still Relevant Today
by Jill Schafer - May 26, 2016

Friends, something exciting is going on at the Guthrie Theater. In the wake of (not unjustified) criticism about their lack of diversity onstage and backstage, they are currently presenting a 60-year-old play written by Alice Childress, one of the most important female African-American playwrights o... (more...)
BWW Review: The Moving Company's New Work EVERY SENTENCE IS FOR THE BIRDS Speaks to the Nature of Science and Art and What it Means to be Human BWW Review: The Moving Company's New Work EVERY SENTENCE IS FOR THE BIRDS Speaks to the Nature of Science and Art and What it Means to be Human
by Jill Schafer - May 02, 2016

The Moving Company is a unique theater company in this town of over 70 theater companies. The descendant of the beloved departed Theatre de la Jeune Lune, MoCo's productions are typically original ensemble-based creations. Like the proverbial box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get w... (more...)
BWW Review: CHARM at Mixed Blood Theatre Charms with a Powerful True Story and Ground-Breaking Casting BWW Review: CHARM at Mixed Blood Theatre Charms with a Powerful True Story and Ground-Breaking Casting
by Jill Schafer - April 27, 2016

Sometimes theater is more than just theater. Sometimes theater is about giving a voice to people whose voices are not often heard. Sometimes theater is about increasing our understanding of people who seem different than us, but who really are the same. Sometimes theater is about giving everyone a c... (more...)
BWW Review: Children's Theatre Company World Premiere of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE MUSICAL is Irresistible BWW Review: Children's Theatre Company World Premiere of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE MUSICAL is Irresistible
by Jill Schafer - April 26, 2016

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE MUSICAL - I've got an animal heart for you. Even though I have no familiarity with the successful book series or movies, I felt obliged to see Children's Theater Company's world premiere musical adaptation because of the talk about a possibly Broadway run, and producer Kevi... (more...)
BWW Review: The Jungle Theater's CONSTELLATIONS is a Fascinating Trip through Multiple Universes in the Story of One Relationship BWW Review: The Jungle Theater's CONSTELLATIONS is a Fascinating Trip through Multiple Universes in the Story of One Relationship
by Jill Schafer - April 18, 2016

The theory of the quantum multiverse suggests that many different universes simultaneously exist, based on every choice we ever (or never) made. I don't know if I believe that, but I do believe that we are where we are in life based on a million choices we've made in our life, both significant and s... (more...)
BWW Review: Nautilus Music-Theater Reinvents the World's Longest Running Musical THE FANTASTICKS with Atypical Casting and an Intimate Staging BWW Review: Nautilus Music-Theater Reinvents the World's Longest Running Musical THE FANTASTICKS with Atypical Casting and an Intimate Staging
by Jill Schafer - April 11, 2016

It may be spring (almost) outside, but inside Nautilus Music-Theater's tiny studio space in Lowertown St. Paul, it's most definitely September. The kind of September 'where grass is green and grain is yellow,' and 'no one weeps except the willow.' A lovely hopeful youthful September that slowly fade... (more...)
BWW Review: Hennepin Theatre Trust Brings the Charming and Funny Off-Broadway Hit BUYER AND CELLAR to Minneapolis with a Fantastic Local Creative Team and Cast of One BWW Review: Hennepin Theatre Trust Brings the Charming and Funny Off-Broadway Hit BUYER AND CELLAR to Minneapolis with a Fantastic Local Creative Team and Cast of One
by Jill Schafer - April 08, 2016

Imagine being so wealthy and successful that you need to build a mall in your basement just to hold all of your excess stuff. Such is the situation that living legend of stage and screen Barbra Streisand has found herself in, as described in her 2010 book MY PASSION FOR DESIGN. Playwright Jonathan T... (more...)
BWW Review: New Epic Theater Continues the Story begun with the Strikingly Beautiful THE NORMAL HEART in a Bloody Good CORIONALUS BWW Review: New Epic Theater Continues the Story begun with the Strikingly Beautiful THE NORMAL HEART in a Bloody Good CORIONALUS
by Jill Schafer - April 05, 2016

The weekend before last, New Epic Theater opened a strikingly beautiful and devastating production of the 1985 Off-Broadway play THE NORMAL HEART about the early days of the AIDS crisis. Last weekend they opened part two of their ambitious spring repertory production, Shakespeare's CORIOLANUS. The t... (more...)
BWW Review: In History Theatre's WATERMELON HILL, the Stories of Unwed Pregnant Women in 1960s St. Paul are Told with Humor, Intelligence, and Compassion. BWW Review: In History Theatre's WATERMELON HILL, the Stories of Unwed Pregnant Women in 1960s St. Paul are Told with Humor, Intelligence, and Compassion.
by Jill Schafer - March 23, 2016

The History Theatre in St. Paul is committed to bringing new plays and musicals to the stage, usually inspired by true events in Minnesota history. Their yearly Raw Stages festival, a series of workshops and readings of new works, often results in full productions in the following season or two. But... (more...)
BWW Review: Park Square Theatre's New Play NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN is a Powerful and Important Play about a Powerful and Important Woman BWW Review: Park Square Theatre's New Play NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN is a Powerful and Important Play about a Powerful and Important Woman
by Jill Schafer - March 20, 2016

I know next to nothing about jazz singer and Civil Rights activist Nina Simone. But I do know Regina Marie Williams, Aimee K. Bryant, Thomasina Petrus, and Traci Allen Shannon, the four women starring in the new play based on Nina's song 'Four Women.' So I knew I was in for a treat and an education ... (more...)
BWW Review: Collide Theatrical Dance Company Delivers a Deliciously Dark New Take on DRACULA through a Collision of Dance, Music, and Theater BWW Review: Collide Theatrical Dance Company Delivers a Deliciously Dark New Take on DRACULA through a Collision of Dance, Music, and Theater
by Jill Schafer - March 14, 2016

Collide Theatrical Dance Company is now in their fourth season of creating 'original Broadway-style jazz dance musicals.' As a theater geek who doesn't know much about dance but loves to watch it, Collide provides an accessible and theatrical way to get into dance. I've seen all of their productions... (more...)
BWW Review: Penumbra Theatre Presents Two Powerful One-Act Plays from the Black Arts Movement, THE DUTCHMAN and THE OWL ANSWERS BWW Review: Penumbra Theatre Presents Two Powerful One-Act Plays from the Black Arts Movement, THE DUTCHMAN and THE OWL ANSWERS
by Jill Schafer - March 09, 2016

In one of those strange theater-going coincidences, the night after I saw two one-act plays at the Guthrie, I attended opening night of Penumbra's presentation of two one-act plays. Both paired plays by different playwrights linked by a common theme. But unlike the theater comedies THE CRITIC and TH... (more...)