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BWW Review: Artistry's WIT Takes the Audience on a Beautifully Painful Journey BWW Review: Artistry's WIT Takes the Audience on a Beautifully Painful Journey
by Jill Schafer - May 16, 2017

I don't know where to begin with this one. Artistry's production of the Pulitzer Prize winning play WIT is simply devastating. But it's also funny, and smart, and philosophical, and enlightening. This is my first experience with the play, and I really can't think of anyone I'd rather see in the lead... (more...)
BWW Review: New Company Prime Productions Debuts with LITTLE WARS BWW Review: New Company Prime Productions Debuts with LITTLE WARS
by Karen Bovard - May 15, 2017

There's a brand new professional theater company in the theater-rich Twin Cities. Called Prime Productions, they've got a clear sense of mission: to present work with roles for women over 50, both on and off-stage. LITTLE WARS, by Steven Carl McCasland, imagines a dinner party that never happened... (more...)
BWW Review: PROMETHEUS BOUND at Uprising Theater BWW Review: PROMETHEUS BOUND at Uprising Theater
by Karen Bovard - May 01, 2017

Uprising is one of the younger companies in the Twin Cities' rich and diverse theater landscape. They are very clear on their mission: to tell compelling stories that humanize the issues we grapple with as a society and then to convert audience response into concrete and practical action, immediate... (more...)
BWW Review: Mixed Blood Theatre's In-Your-Face New Play VIETGONE Beautifully Captures the Refugee Experience and Challenges the Audience's Perception of the Vietnam War BWW Review: Mixed Blood Theatre's In-Your-Face New Play VIETGONE Beautifully Captures the Refugee Experience and Challenges the Audience's Perception of the Vietnam War
by Jill Schafer - April 21, 2017

Another smart and funny new play fresh from a successful Off-Broadway run has landed in Minneapolis. In addition to Josh Tobiessen's hilarious and heart-breaking LONE STAR SPIRITS at the Jungle Theater, we also have Qui Nguyen's ambitious and genre-blending VIETGONE at Mixed Blood Theatre. The playw... (more...)
BWW Review: Jungle Theater's Hilarious and Heart-breaking LONE STAR SPIRITS Smartly Examines Small Town Life, Regrets, and Family BWW Review: Jungle Theater's Hilarious and Heart-breaking LONE STAR SPIRITS Smartly Examines Small Town Life, Regrets, and Family
by Jill Schafer - April 12, 2017

Y'all, Jungle Theater's LONE STAR SPIRITS got me feeling all the feels! Hilarious and heart-breaking, it's one of the best plays I've seen this year. Brought to us by wife/husband director/playwright team Sarah Rasmussen and Josh Tobiessen, it features crisply drawn characters beautifully brought to... (more...)
BWW Review: Wayward Theatre Company and Mission Theatre Company Bring a Fun and Thrilling GHOST TRAIN to the Minnesota Transportation Museum BWW Review: Wayward Theatre Company and Mission Theatre Company Bring a Fun and Thrilling GHOST TRAIN to the Minnesota Transportation Museum
by Jill Schafer - April 04, 2017

Wayward Theatre Company, the company that recently brought us an 'innovatively imagined and well executed' TARTUFFE at the James J. Hill House, is now partnering with Mission Theatre Company to bring us the deliciously fun and spooky GHOST TRAIN in another one of 19th century railroad millionaire Ja... (more...)
BWW Review: URINETOWN-THE MUSICAL Holds Riveted Audiences to their Seats at Lyric Arts BWW Review: URINETOWN-THE MUSICAL Holds Riveted Audiences to their Seats at Lyric Arts
by Peggy Sue Dunigan - March 29, 2017

At the intimate theater in downtown Anoka, Minnesota, Lyric Arts presents an absolutely 'pee-popping' version of the 2001 Broadway hit Urinetown; The Musical. When the musical was first proposed, producers initially rejected the comic/tragic satire (A 'sad' musical as the character Little Sally name... (more...)
BWW Review: MACBETH at Park Square Theatre BWW Review: MACBETH at Park Square Theatre
by Karen Bovard - March 27, 2017

This pared down adaptation of one of Shakespeare's shortest tragedies moves swiftly from an original opening scene to a disappointing final one. As a contemplation of ambition and ruthlessness and the drive to political power, it is ever timely.... (more...)
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...)