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Penumbra extends 'Spunk'

Posted by: Rohan Preston under Theater, Tickets Updated: March 25, 2013 - 10:21 AM


Austene Van and T. Mychael Rambo, foreground, while Jevetta Steele moves in the background of "Spunk." Photo by Rich Ryan.


Penumbra Theatre will have more "Spunk."

The St. Paul company's first show in its own space in over a year is a hit and has been extended. "Spunk" now has a new closing date of April 14.

Director Patdro Harris' polished production brings George C. Wolfe's script, which yokes three stories by novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, to stylish life.

It has gotten strong notices. The Star Tribune called it "stylish and sure-footed." City Pages hailed its spreading "infectious vibe." 

The production boasts excellent design by Lance Brockman (sets) and Amanda McGee (costumes) and memorable performances by Penumbra veterans Jevetta Steele, T. Mychael Rambo, Austene Van and Dennis Spears. They are joined by talented newcomers Mikell Sapp and Keith Jamal Downing. Downing plays an abusive lover in one vignette and a kind and understanding husband in another. Sapp plays a fancy walking gigolo opposite Rambo in the production's most entertaining playlet.

Penumbra did not have a mainstage show at its St. Paul headquarters in over a year because of a financial crisis that threatened the theater's existence. The theater's presence was felt elsewhere during that time, when it presented "The Amen Corner" at the Guthrie. Theater founder Lou Bellamy also directed shows across the nation.

After sounding the alarm last fall, Penumbra embarked on a successful fundraising campaign that raised $359,000 from 1,400 donors.

"Spunk" plays 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sun., with matinees at 10 a.m. Wed. and 2 p.m. Sun. Tickets range from $15-$40. 651-224-3180.


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