At Tuesday's Arts Forum hosted by the Star Tribune at Cowles Center, serious topics were discussed but there was room for a few laughs, too. Of the four panelists — Joseph Haj of the Guthrie, Olga Viso from Walker Art Center, Kaywin Feldman from the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Kyu-Young Kim of the SPCO — Feldman emerged as Queen Quipster. After everyone else on the panel had mentioned their efforts to lower ticket prices to increase accessibility, Feldman chimed in, "We've lowered our prices so much, we're free." Read a recap of the discussion in Sunday's Variety section or at startribune.com/variety. KRISTIN TILLOTSON
The show goes on
Mixed Blood Theatre's 40th anniversary gala at Paisley Park Studios will go on as scheduled on May 14. "Prince wanted this event to happen and, after working with the great folks at Paisley Park, we feel good about it being that space," said Amanda White Thietje, Mixed Blood's managing director. "We are honored to have been one of the organizations chosen by him and intend to honor his spirit." Prince was a strong supporter of the Twin Cities arts community. In fact, a month before he died, he popped into Chanhassen Dinner Theatres for a brief impromptu jam session.
A Christmas miracle?
Nothing is official yet, but performer Tod Petersen is talking about bringing back "A Christmas Carole Petersen," at Theater Latté Da. Petersen created the show based on his family holiday traditions and his own fraught relationships — with friends and Christmas in general. It was a hit for Latté Da beginning in 2000. It was last produced in 2008. Petersen and Latté Da artistic director Peter Rothstein have talked about bringing the show back, now that the company is ensconced in the Ritz Theater. There is lots of will, but Latté Da is still working on the way. Rothstein currently stages "All Is Calm" during December, so there is some juggling to be done. Stay tuned.
Another new hire
The hiring spree continues at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, which this week announced the appointment of Ghenete Zelleke as curator of decorative arts, textiles and sculpture. That's one of the museum's largest departments, with more than 18,000 objects spanning 1,000 years of European and American culture. Zelleke comes from the Art Institute of Chicago, where she organized exhibitions during the past 25 years. Tech-savvy, she helped develop an iPad program featuring 50 pieces of decorative art. She replaces Eike Schmidt, who left in October to head the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. This year the institute has hired new curators of painting, contemporary art, photography and new media.
More tween sharing
"Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical," which had its electric opening at the Children's Theatre Company on April 15, will extend by a week. The hot-selling show, adapted from Jeff Kinney's graphic novel series and the three movies, will close June 12. Directed as a nonstop romp by Rachel Rockwell, "Wimpy" stars Chicago phenom Ricky Falbo as the preteen title character Greg Heffley, who wants to stand out in middle school by behaving badly. Perhaps the biggest production in the theater's history, "Wimpy" is backed by Broadway producer Kevin McCollum and Fox's theatrical arm. A steady stream of New York and Hollywood muckety-mucks have checked out the show, fueling speculation that "Wimpy" will land on Broadway.
I've heard that voice somewhere
Fred Child, host of American Public Media's "Performance Today" program, is featured as narrator of a new recording of Stravinsky's "The Soldier's Tale." The CD, which has been released on the Naxos label, features the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players. The piece, often performed theatrically with dancers, chamber musicians and narrators, is about a soldier who trades his violin to the Devil for money. That's never a good idea. Child records "Performance Today" daily in the APM studios, which are located cheek by jowl with Minnesota Public Radio in downtown St. Paul.
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