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Posts about Theater

Twin Cities-connected writers score big in O'Neill new play festival

Posted by: Rohan Preston Updated: April 15, 2015 - 12:44 PM

The National Playwrights Conference at the O’Neill Center in Waterford, Conn., which has a history of picking winners of the American theater, has announced its 2015 summer lineup.

Five of the eight works selected from over 1,300 entrants are by playwrights connected to the Playwrights' Center of Minneapolis. Each play will get developmental work, including readings by top-notch actors, input from dramaturgs and rudimentary productions that will be attended by New York producers.

August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was famously launched at the O’Neill.

The 2015 roster includes “Leftovers,” by Minneapolis-based Josh Wilder. A Jerome Fellow, he will further work on his magical urban coming-of-age play that involves two Philadelphia brothers, a huge dandelion and Cliff Huxtable. Coincidentally, Wilder (right) is heading to Yale in the fall, where he will be working on his MFA in playwriting.

Playwrights’ Center core writer Jenny Connell Davis (below left) will refine “End of Shift,” her play about a quintet of teenagers with hot desires that is set on the coast of Maine.

Ken Weitzman, another core writer at the center, will spend time on “Halftime with Don,” about a retired NFL player’s struggles with memory loss and the after-effects of a career that involves bashing and violence.

The O’Neill roster includes “Good Ol’ Boys,” by Joe Waechter (below right) also a core writer at the center. The play is set in a Southern, testosterone-filled hunting cabin where three beer-juiced businessmen spill secrets.

And former Playwrights’ Center core apprenctice writer Hansol Jung will work on “Cardboard Piano,” a play about the marriage of two young women set against the backdrop of homophobia and war in Northern Uganda.

The other three plays are by writers based in New York, Ohio and California.

No One’s Sonata” is by Steven Sater, who won Tonys for both the book and score of “Spring Awakening.” The drama is set at a family’s reunion to mark the death of their Viennese immigrant father.

Slow Food” is by Wendy MacLeod of Gambier, Ohio, where she heads the Kenyon Playwrights’ Conference. MacLeod’s “The House of Yes” was made into a 1997 film starring Parker Posey. “Slow Food” is a comedy about a vacationing couple who are celebrating their anniversary at a Greek restaurant.

And “Nomad Motel” is by Carla Ching of Los Angeles. Ching is a member of New Dramatists in New York. “Motel” involves characters such as dreaming parents, curious adolescents and a lieutenant of an Asian triad gang.

The O’Neill’s new play festival runs July 1 – 25.

This Friday's 'Wits' postponed

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: March 19, 2015 - 11:13 AM

This Friday's installment of the radio-variety "Wits" at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul has been postponed due to a death in the family of the scheduled featured guest, actor Cary Elwes. Elwes was to appear with musician Kat Edmonson. Tickets will automatically be transferred to a new date, to be announced. Ticketholders who prefer a refund can call 651-290-1200 or go to the Fitzgerald box office (10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul)  between noon - 5 p.m. Tues.-Fri.

Penumbra Theatre leader wins fellowship

Posted by: Rohan Preston Updated: March 17, 2015 - 12:40 PM

Sarah Bellamy, co-artistic director of Penumbra Theatre, has won a fellowship from the Bush Foundation, the St. Paul-based philanthropy announced Tuesday.

Bellamy is among 23 winners of the prestigious award. The roster of recipients, who hail from Minnesota and the Dakotas, includes child welfare advocate Amelia Franck Meyer, deaf educator Alex Zeibot, and Trista Harris, president of the Minnesota Council on Foundation.

The fellowship, which comes with a purse that goes up to $100,000 over two years, helps leaders develop skills and capacity. Bellamy expects to use her fellowship to help her as she takes over the highly esteemed company founded by her father, Lou Bellamy.

Mill City Opera will produce "The Daughter of the Regiment"

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: March 10, 2015 - 3:58 PM

Soprano Leah Partridge.

Mill City Summer Opera has announced it will produce Donizetti’s “The Daughter of the Regiment” this July in the courtyard of the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis.

This is the company’s fourth year of presenting an outdoor summer opera in the ruins of the old mills. The previous three seasons have sold out. This year’s schedule has six shows and runs July 11-21.

Soprano Leah Partridge will play the title character. At the Metropolitan Opera in 2010, she sang the role, subbing for an ill Diana Damrau. She is joined by tenor Chad Johnson, baritone Bradley Greenwald, bass Nathan Stark and mezzo Cindy Sadler.

David Lefkowich, the company’s artistic director, will stage the performance. Brian DeMaris is the music director.

Tickets for opening night are on sale now. Donors who give $250 or more will be invited to a pre-sale for general tickets on May 11 and the remainder of seats will be opened to the public on May 18.

612-875-5544 or www.millcitysummeropera.org

Ellison will speak at theater panel

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: March 4, 2015 - 3:28 PM

Minneapolis Congressman Keith Ellison will join a discussion about immigration and perceptions of Muslims, following the March 14 matinee of “Shooting Kabul,” at Steppingstone Theatre for Youth Development.

Artistic director Richard Hitchler leads a panel of Ellison, playwright Kim Hines and author Naheed Hasnat, who wrote the book about a young Afghan refugee who flees to the United States.  A photography competition gives the lad a chance to return to Kabul to search for his lost sister.

(Performance at 3 p.m., discussion at 4:10 p.m.; Steppingstone Theatre, 55 Victoria St. N., St. Paul; 651-225-9265)  


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