Karen Bovard

Karen Bovard Karen Bovard has been reviewing theater online, in weekly arts papers, and in scholarly journals for 20 years in New England. In 2016, she relocated to Saint Paul, MN. She's been making theater for more than 40 years, amassing over 70 directing credits. An avid theater goer, she's seen professional productions of all of Shakespeare's plays, completing the canon from the audience pov. She holds a Ph.D. in Theater & Women's Studies. A global educator, she has lived, studied, or worked in Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Russia, France, and Germany.


MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Feature: Upcoming World Premiere of FIVE POINTS at Theater Latte DaBWW Feature: Upcoming World Premiere of FIVE POINTS at Theater Latte Da
Posted: Mar. 30, 2018


BWW Review: Full On Teen Female Bonding in THE WOLVES at Jungle TheaterBWW Review: Full On Teen Female Bonding in THE WOLVES at Jungle Theater
Posted: Apr. 2, 2018


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review:  Shimmering SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at the Guthrie TheaterBWW Review: Shimmering SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at the Guthrie Theater
Posted: Jun. 28, 2017


BWW Review: CARDBOARD PIANO at Park Square TheatreBWW Review: CARDBOARD PIANO at Park Square Theatre
Posted: Jan. 29, 2018


BWW Review: FAMILIAR at GuthrieBWW Review: FAMILIAR at Guthrie
Posted: Mar. 20, 2018


BWW Review: Brilliant ASSASSINS at Theater Latte DaBWW Review: Brilliant ASSASSINS at Theater Latte Da
Posted: Feb. 13, 2018


BWW Feature: Upcoming World Premiere of FIVE POINTS at Theater Latte DaBWW Feature: Upcoming World Premiere of FIVE POINTS at Theater Latte Da
Posted: Mar. 30, 2018


BWW Review: INDECENT at the GuthrieBWW Review: INDECENT at the Guthrie
Posted: Feb. 28, 2018


BWW Review: New Company Prime Productions Debuts with LITTLE WARSBWW Review: New Company Prime Productions Debuts with LITTLE WARS
Posted: May. 15, 2017


BWW Review: Full On Teen Female Bonding in THE WOLVES at Jungle TheaterBWW Review: Full On Teen Female Bonding in THE WOLVES at Jungle Theater
April 2, 2018

The WOLVES are a girls travel soccer team of highly competitive high school athletes, many hoping to be noticed and recruited by college coaches. Yes, they are fierce, and yes, they howl. They also grapple with issues as varied as (spoiler alert!) genocide and justice, social anxiety, love and sex and abortion, loyalty, injury, honesty, playing time, disordered eating, religious belief, how to play when you have your period, and death. Just as real young women do.

BWW Feature: Upcoming World Premiere of FIVE POINTS at Theater Latte DaBWW Feature: Upcoming World Premiere of FIVE POINTS at Theater Latte Da
March 30, 2018

FIVE POINTS is an ambitious, tuneful, dance-rich new musical in the final stages of preparation for its world premiere in Minneapolis at Theater Latte Da, the locally famous small house committed to smart re-imaginings of traditional musical theater pieces but also-and with real vigor-to playing a significant role in creating "the dramatic canon of tomorrow."

BWW Review: FAMILIAR at GuthrieBWW Review: FAMILIAR at Guthrie
March 20, 2018

Gurira's family drama FAMILIAR has just opened in a lavishly designed and carefully calibrated production at the Guthrie. It's familiar in many ways, as a well-made play on a single set (the interior of an upscale household in Minnetonka, MN) unrolling in real time, that dives into the secrets and dreams of a family, whose distinctive characters are all drawn together now for the wedding of the elder daughter.

BWW Review: INDECENT at the GuthrieBWW Review: INDECENT at the Guthrie
February 28, 2018

INDECENT is a play about a play: Sholom Asch's GOD OF VENGEANCE, first performed in 1907 in Berlin, then widely across Europe, and eventually in 1923 in New York. There it was censored and the acting troupe was arrested and jailed. It's also about how writers work, about forbidden love, about family, about being an immigrant to the US who speaks with an accent, about Yiddish theater and changing tastes on Broadway, about McCarthyism, and, yes, about the Holocaust.

BWW Review: Faithful and Funny Updated PIRATES OF PENZANCE at Park Square TheatreBWW Review: Faithful and Funny Updated PIRATES OF PENZANCE at Park Square Theatre
February 20, 2018

'History is something that we can and should improve upon' sings the modern Major General in an added lyric in this cleverly refreshed production of the Gilbert & Sullivan classic. The laugh-out-loud show remains faithful to the original while integrating historical asides and contemporary political memes, all with a knowing wink at the audience, which had a roaring good time on opening night.

BWW Review: Brilliant ASSASSINS at Theater Latte DaBWW Review: Brilliant ASSASSINS at Theater Latte Da
February 13, 2018

It's hard to imagine a better production of the Sondheim/Weidman dissection of the perpetrators of violence toward US presidents than the ASSASSINS that has just opened in Minneapolis at Theater Latte Da. Running a brisk 100 minutes without intermission, it is staged, sung, and performed with terrific assurance and brio.

BWW Review: A CRACK IN THE SKY at History TheatreBWW Review: A CRACK IN THE SKY at History Theatre
February 12, 2018

A CRACK IN THE SKY is a new autobiographical play about an immigrant from Somalia who arrived in the Twin Cities in 1997. As a civic project-something the arts can and should provide-this event is hard to beat. Still, it is true that as a play, A CRACK IN THE SKY is not very compelling theater.

BWW Review: CARDBOARD PIANO at Park Square TheatreBWW Review: CARDBOARD PIANO at Park Square Theatre
January 29, 2018

CARDBOARD PIANO is an ambitious play centered on questions of trauma: what can and can't be fixed. It opens with life-affirming and joyous love between two young women in Uganda.

BWW Review:  Shimmering SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at the Guthrie TheaterBWW Review: Shimmering SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at the Guthrie Theater
June 28, 2017

Design. Pattern. Composition. Balance. Light. Dark. Harmony. These are the principles artist Georges Seurat-as imagined by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine-names in his struggle to paint in a new way. All these principles are present in the musical SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. The current production in Minneapolis is a delight, visually scintillating, gorgeously sung and orchestrated, and successful at melding the two disparate acts into a satisfying whole.

BWW Review: Ambitious, Controversial REFUGIA at Guthrie TheaterBWW Review: Ambitious, Controversial REFUGIA at Guthrie Theater
June 15, 2017

"Refugia" is a Latin term meaning "an area where special circumstances have enabled survival after extinction in surrounding areas." The adventurous theater explorers of The Moving Company (themselves displaced from the renowned Theatre de la Jeune Lune, which closed in 2006) have devised multiple riffs on this idea and related themes, pushing the boundaries of narrative and perhaps, too, of the mainstage Guthrie audiences.

BWW Review: New Company Prime Productions Debuts with LITTLE WARSBWW Review: New Company Prime Productions Debuts with LITTLE WARS
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. It's 1940 in France, just as that nation falls under Nazi occupation.

BWW Review: A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD Returns to Children's TheatreBWW Review: A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD Returns to Children's Theatre
May 3, 2017

Nearly 10 years after this production garnered three Tony nominations in a Broadway run, it's back at the home that commissioned and created it: Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis. Based on Arnold Lobel's Caldecott and Newbery winning fables about friendship between Frog, a fairly organized fellow, and Toad, who is much less together, it models how we can bond with those unlike us, if we are kind, and we listen.

BWW Review: PROMETHEUS BOUND at Uprising TheaterBWW Review: PROMETHEUS BOUND at Uprising Theater
May 1, 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, immediately.

BWW Review:  World Premiere of GIRL SHAKES LOOSE Triumphs at Penumbra TheatreBWW Review: World Premiere of GIRL SHAKES LOOSE Triumphs at Penumbra Theatre
April 26, 2017

This fresh new musical is a terrific addition to the American musical canon, a show a lot of us have been waiting for. It's a rare thing: the main character is a young African-American woman struggling to find her way in present day USA. Without oversimplifying her struggles with love, sexuality, and work, it takes us all along on her search for self. Tuneful, funny, and soulful, GIRL SHAKES LOOSE is decidedly contemporary and honors the great Sonia Sanchez, a shining light of the Black Arts Movement.

BWW Review: Philosophical BATTLEFIELD at the Guthrie Theater
April 17, 2017

Now in his 90s, innovative and influential director Peter Brook is still making theater. 30 years ago, he staged a 9 hour marathon depicting portions of the great Hindu epic THE MAHABARATA to wide acclaim and some controversy. With BATTLEFIELD, he and his collaborator Marie-Helene Estienne return to that source material for an elegiac and stripped down 70 minute meditation on life, death, and how to resist despair.

BWW Review: MACBETH at Park Square TheatreBWW Review: MACBETH at Park Square Theatre
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.

BWW Review: THE PAPER DREAMS OF HARRY CHIN at History TheatreBWW Review: THE PAPER DREAMS OF HARRY CHIN at History Theatre
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 family secrets cause pain down through generations. In this fully staged outing, directed by Mei Ann Teo, the play is uneven but important, bold, and promising.

BWW Review: KING LEAR Kills at Guthrie TheaterBWW Review: KING LEAR Kills at Guthrie Theater
March 6, 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 a masterful rendering that eschews excess but allows the human relationships to be bared and centered.

BWW Review: THE SNEETCHES: THE MUSICAL at Children's Theatre CompanyBWW Review: THE SNEETCHES: THE MUSICAL at Children's Theatre Company
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 a full four years.

BWW Review: THE HIGHWAYMEN at History TheatreBWW Review: THE HIGHWAYMEN at History Theatre
February 13, 2017

Hats off to the artists seeking a theatrical way to tell the story of how one thriving African-American community was demolished in order to build part of the Eisenhower era highway system. The city here is Saint Paul, MN, but similar history can be found in plenty of places: Charlotte, NC; Baltimore, MD; Pittsburgh, PA, among them. That's the matter at the heart of a new play, THE HIGHWAYMEN, at the History Theater, directed by Jamil Jude.



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