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BWW Review: THE PAPER DREAMS OF HARRY CHIN at History Theatre BWW Review: THE PAPER DREAMS OF HARRY CHIN at History Theatre
by Karen Bovard - March 20, 2017

Jessica Huang's new play is about a time gone by but the issues it raises feel very immediate. Kaleidoscopic and timely, it turns on the true story of an ethnic immigration ban overcome, a hard-working new American, his efforts to support his village back home while starting anew here, and the way... (more...)
BWW Review: Open Eye Figure Theatre Re-Imagines Hans Christian Andersen's THE RED SHOES as a 20th Century Noir Thriller BWW Review: Open Eye Figure Theatre Re-Imagines Hans Christian Andersen's THE RED SHOES as a 20th Century Noir Thriller
by Jill Schafer - March 07, 2017

You may be familiar with the Hans Christian Andersen story THE RED SHOES, in which a vain little girl with pretty red shoes is cursed so that her shoes will never stop dancing. But you may not recognize what the ingenious minds of Joel Sass and Kimberly Richardson have turned it into. Yes there are ... (more...)
BWW Review: KING LEAR Kills at Guthrie Theater BWW Review: KING LEAR Kills at Guthrie Theater
by Karen Bovard - March 06, 2017

'Disciplined' may seem an odd word to apply to a production of KING LEAR, a tragedy that is about personal and societal dissolution into madness, both individually and at large. But the current mounting in Minneapolis earns that moniker, both in actorly control and design restraint. The result is... (more...)
BWW Review: The Guthrie Theater's Production of the New Play WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT is Funny, Innovative, Relevant, and Shocking BWW Review: The Guthrie Theater's Production of the New Play WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT is Funny, Innovative, Relevant, and Shocking
by Jill Schafer - February 28, 2017

The ending of WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT, now playing in the Guthrie's Dowling Studio, is unlike anything I've ever seen in theater. It left me shocked, confused, and a little traumatized, but mostly it left me incredibly moved. It's such a powerful and important piece, forcing us to look at the long-l... (more...)
BWW Review: Ten Thousand Things' Signature Bare-Bones Staging Brings New Urgency and Clarity to the Classic FIDDLER ON THE ROOF BWW Review: Ten Thousand Things' Signature Bare-Bones Staging Brings New Urgency and Clarity to the Classic FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
by Jill Schafer - February 27, 2017

It never fails. Whenever I go to see a Ten Thousand Things show, the storytelling is so clear it's as if I'm truly seeing it for the first time, even if it's a piece I've seen one or many times before. In their signature bare bones theater style, they've cut out all the fluff from the beloved musica... (more...)
BWW Review: THE SNEETCHES: THE MUSICAL at Children's Theatre Company BWW Review: THE SNEETCHES: THE MUSICAL at Children's Theatre Company
by Karen Bovard - February 13, 2017

This world premiere of a new musical based on a short story by Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, has just opened in Minneapolis. It's the latest collaboration between Seuss Enterprises and the Children's Theatre, and it's clearly a parable for our time-despite the fact that it's been in the works for... (more...)
BWW Review: THE ROYAL FAMILY at Guthrie Theater BWW Review: THE ROYAL FAMILY at Guthrie Theater
by Karen Bovard - February 10, 2017

Of the three shows currently running at the Guthrie, THE ROYAL FAMILY is definitely the lightweight, longer on comedy and razzle-dazzle production values than on importance. (The other two shows are KING LEAR and PROMISE LAND, a barebones physical theater take on the Hansel and Gretel tale retold as... (more...)
BWW Review: Jomama Jones Brings Hope in a Troubled Time with BLACK LIGHT: A SOULFUL EMBRACE OF LOVE AND LIGHT, at Penumbra Theatre through This Weekend Only! BWW Review: Jomama Jones Brings Hope in a Troubled Time with BLACK LIGHT: A SOULFUL EMBRACE OF LOVE AND LIGHT, at Penumbra Theatre through This Weekend Only!
by Jill Schafer - February 09, 2017

In the darkness of the theater, a soothing voice was heard saying 'what if I told you: we're going to be all right.' I exhaled deeply, as if I'd been holding my breath for the last two weeks. Because in my 43 years on this planet, there's never been a time when I've been less sure that 'we're going ... (more...)
BWW Review: PROMISE LAND at Transatlantic Love Affair At The Guthrie Theater BWW Review: PROMISE LAND at Transatlantic Love Affair At The Guthrie Theater
by Karen Bovard - February 06, 2017

PROMISE LAND is an original work, described as a story of home, and as a re-telling of the Hansel and Gretel tale as an immigrant journey. Devised by the Transatlantic Love Affair, a physical theater ensemble founded in the Twin Cities in 2010, it has been given a supportive home by the powerful Gut... (more...)
BWW Review: FLOWER DRUM SONG at Mu Performing Arts & Park Square Theatre BWW Review: FLOWER DRUM SONG at Mu Performing Arts & Park Square Theatre
by Karen Bovard - January 31, 2017

FLOWER DRUM SONG is a hard show to mount. It requires credible brief performances in the style of Beijing Opera, multiple large production numbers in a variety of nightclub styles, plus a large cast of Asian American characters who can sing, dance, and act.... (more...)
BWW Review: 7th House Theater's Pop-Up Production of RHINOCEROS is Wholly Entertaining, Eerily Relevant, and Exactly the Kind of Art We Need BWW Review: 7th House Theater's Pop-Up Production of RHINOCEROS is Wholly Entertaining, Eerily Relevant, and Exactly the Kind of Art We Need
by Jill Schafer - January 26, 2017

There have been various responses to the new presidency and the current political climate, including Facebook groups, letter writing and calling campaigns, petitions, and a nation-wide women's march. But what do artists do in response to injustice? They make art. Last weekend 7th House Theater opene... (more...)
BWW Review: Theatre In the Round's A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE is a Well-Directed, -Acted, and -Designed Production of a Classic American Tragedy BWW Review: Theatre In the Round's A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE is a Well-Directed, -Acted, and -Designed Production of a Classic American Tragedy
by Jill Schafer - January 17, 2017

If you're a fan of American theater classics, get yourself to Theatre in the Round in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis. Their excellent production of Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge features strong performances from the whole cast (particularly the leads), a really cool set with vint... (more...)
BWW Review: ORPHAN TRAIN at History Theatre BWW Review: ORPHAN TRAIN at History Theatre
by Karen Bovard - December 15, 2016

Among the many vital functions of theater are these: to give voice to the voiceless, to tell stories that are lost to time, and to give audiences empathic access to lives they never personally intersect.* Saint Paul's History Theatre scores well on these aims with their remounting of ORPHAN TRAIN, ... (more...)
BWW Review: Theatre Coup d'Etat's THE CRUCIBLE is a Well Executed Site-Specific, Intimate, Sobering Production of a Classic That's Never Felt More Relevant and Necessary BWW Review: Theatre Coup d'Etat's THE CRUCIBLE is a Well Executed Site-Specific, Intimate, Sobering Production of a Classic That's Never Felt More Relevant and Necessary
by Jill Schafer - December 12, 2016

I first saw Arthur Miller's 1953 play THE CRUCIBLE last spring at the Guthrie, and was wowed at how this story about the infamous Salem witch trials of the late 17th Century, during which twenty people were put to death for the crime of witchcraft, speaks to the issues of the day. Things have change... (more...)
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: 7th House Theater's New Original Musical THE PASSAGE, OR WHAT COMES OF SEARCHING IN THE DARK is Funny, Poignant, and Modern BWW Review: 7th House Theater's New Original Musical THE PASSAGE, OR WHAT COMES OF SEARCHING IN THE DARK is Funny, Poignant, and Modern
by Jill Schafer - November 22, 2016

Musical theater is my favorite art form, and new original musicals are my favorite things in the world. I love seeing how music and theater can combine to tell a story in interesting forward-thinking ways. After re-imagining a couple of classic musicals (and one play), newish theater company 7th Hou... (more...)
BWW Review: Park Square Theatre's Powerful A RAISIN IN THE SUN Closes this Weekend but Continues for Students through December BWW Review: Park Square Theatre's Powerful A RAISIN IN THE SUN Closes this Weekend but Continues for Students through December
by Jill Schafer - November 17, 2016

Langston Hughes' poem DREAM DEFFERRED is the source of the title of short-lived but influential playwright Lorraine Hansberry's classic play A RAISIN IN THE SUN. She died at the age of 34 just six years after the play opened on Broadway in 1959, but her work still resonates today. The story of a bla... (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: Take a Chance on an Unfamiliar Musical and You Might Just Fall in Love with THE BAKER'S WIFE at Artistry BWW Review: Take a Chance on an Unfamiliar Musical and You Might Just Fall in Love with THE BAKER'S WIFE at Artistry
by Jill Schafer - November 03, 2016

I had a rare experience at the theater recently - I went to see a musical I knew nothing about and was absolutely charmed by it. Stephen Schwartz's WICKED may be the 10th longest-running show on Broadway and one of the most 'popular' musicals of recent years, but his 1976 musical THE BAKER'S WIFE ne... (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: For Just $9 in the Guthrie Theater's Level 9 Dowling Studio, You Can See the Relevant and Moving One-Man Show HOLD THESE TRUTHS BWW Review: For Just $9 in the Guthrie Theater's Level 9 Dowling Studio, You Can See the Relevant and Moving One-Man Show HOLD THESE TRUTHS
by Jill Schafer - October 20, 2016

'We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.' I remember learning this quote in history class. And I remember my teacher saying that what the authors of the Declaration of Independance really meant was, firstly, men and not women, and secondly, the implied qualifiers of ... (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: Park Square Theatre Brings Will Eno's Funny, Weird, and Moving Play THE REALISTIC JONESES to Life with a Fantastic Four-Person Cast BWW Review: Park Square Theatre Brings Will Eno's Funny, Weird, and Moving Play THE REALISTIC JONESES to Life with a Fantastic Four-Person Cast
by Jill Schafer - October 07, 2016

THE REALISTIC JONESES is an odd little play. But I shouldn't be surprised; the other Will Eno play I've seen (THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING) by Loudmouth Collective) is exceedingly odd. But odd in the best way. THE JONESES is a little more, well, realistic, than the one-man show THOM PAIN, with an act... (more...)
BWW Review: Playwright Michael Elyanow Reimagines MEDEA in the Uncategorizable THE CHILDREN at Pillsbury House Theatre BWW Review: Playwright Michael Elyanow Reimagines MEDEA in the Uncategorizable THE CHILDREN at Pillsbury House Theatre
by Jill Schafer - October 04, 2016

Medea. Even if, like me, you've never seen or read the play, we all know the story of the mother who kills her children. Worst mother ever, right? But maybe, as they say on CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND, the situation is a bit more nuanced than that. Maybe there's more to the story, maybe other people in the ... (more...)