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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...)
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: After Nearly 60 Years, The University of Minnesota Concludes their Summer Melodrama on the Showboat with the Delightful UNDER THE GASLIGHT BWW Review: After Nearly 60 Years, The University of Minnesota Concludes their Summer Melodrama on the Showboat with the Delightful UNDER THE GASLIGHT
by Jill Schafer - August 01, 2016

For nearly 60 years, the University of Minnesota has been presenting a summer melodrama on a docked showboat on the Mississippi River, currently across from downtown St. Paul. The Minnesota Centennial Showboat was christened in 1958, as those who know their Minnesota history could guess. The first s... (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...)