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Minnesotans don't usually have a fighting chance to get cast in reality shows -- with one exception: The most popular one in the country.
It's just not this country. "Alt for Norge," Norway's top reality series, loves casting Midwesterners for its program that's a lot like "The Amazing Race," with Norwegian-Americans competing in challenges for cash prizes and a chance to meet relatives they didn't know existed.
Last season, three of the 12 contestants were from the Twin Cities and one-third of those who were callback finalists came out of the Minnesota open call.
Now comes the chance to audition for season five. There will be an open casting call at the Executive Center at Mall of America from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sautrday, Dec. 21. Anyone can aply as long as you are an American with Norwegian ancestry (even a little bit counts) You must also be over 18 and have never traveled to Norway.
You can get on the VIP list by emailing email@example.com. You can also apply online at oconnorcasting.tv/index.php/norway/.
Actor Danielle Wade, who plays Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" at the Ordway Center, traded her ruby slippers for a ruby-colored hard hat Tuesday as she joined other members of the cast and crew on a Habitat for Humanity build. Actually, the cast split up into two crews, one working on a home in St. Paul, the other in Crystal.
Wade (pictured above, right) was with ensemble members Anthony MacPherson and Kelly Grainger worked on the house in Crystal, a three bedroom home that will be sold to a family with five children. The home-building is part of a national campaign called "There's No Place Like Home" that Habitat has launched in conjunction with Warner Bros. The campaign coincides with the 75th anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz," which was released in 1939.
The "Oz" cast and crew did similar volunteer work with Habitat in Los Angeles, where the tour started, and hopes to do similar work in other U.S. cities as the tour works its way across the country.
"The home in Crystal will probably be finished in the spring," said Habitat communications manager Matt Haugen. "The families are always excited to move into their homes, especially since they put sweat equity in this home. A partnership like this with the cast brings attention and more volunteers. The message of 'The Wizard of Oz' resonates with ours. It takes brain, courage and heart to make all of this happen."
"Oz" plays at the Ordway thru Dec. 29.
The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have added a performance to their concert at Northrop Auditorium next May. Osmo Vanska previously had agreed to conduct the orchestra in a program marking the reopening of the auditorium, which was once the home of the Minneapolis Symphony.
That concert, on Friday, May 2, sold out within 48 hours so the musicians have added the second performance, on Sunday, May 4, at 2 p.m. Featuring Dvorak's New World Symphony, the 1812 Overture and Liszt's Concerto No. 1 for Piano, the program replicates the first Northrop concert of the old Symphony.
Tickets go on sale at noon, Dec. 16.
A scene from "Dear White People," a movie shot in the Twin Cities that will screen at Sundance in early 2014.
Two indie films shot in Minnesota have been accepted by the 2014 Sundance Film Festival for screening in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, the prestigious fest's most prominent category.
The social satire "Dear White People," about a group of black students at an Ivy League school, and "Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter," based on the true story of a Japanese woman who came to search for the money buried in snow by Steve Buscemi's character in the Coen Brothers' fictional "Fargo," will both be shown at the fest held each January in Park City, Utah.
"Kumiko," which one of its producers, Edina native Jim Burke, characterized as "a teeny-weeny little movie" before shooting began in late 2012, is already being buzzed about on film websites. It stars Rinko Kikuchi ("Pacific Rim," "Babel") and was made by another pair of writing/directing brothers, David and Nathan Zellner.
"Dear White People," directed by first-timer Justin Simien and starring Tessa Thompson and Tyler Williams, was shot just a few months ago at locations including the University of MInnesota, the Woman's Club of Minneapolis and Summit Ave. in St. Paul. It is the first film to have been certifed by the latest version of the Snowbate incentive intended to attract more moviemaking to the state. The Minnesota Film & TV Board got $10 million in Legacy funds for Snowbate earlier this year.
The two Minnesota-made movies will be keeping some lofty company. Stars featured in the 14 other films in the U.S. Dramatic category include Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, Lena Dunham and Mark Ruffalo.
Out of more than 4,000 films submitted, 67 will be shown in Sundance's four competition categories, part of 117 to be screened overall. Sundance is drawing out the announcements of the rest of the films through Dec. 10, so there may be more with Minnesota connections to come.
Fox 9 has finally landed on its replacement for Heidi Collins.
Kelcey Carlson, who has spent the past decade manning the desk at WRAL in Raleigh-Durham, NC, will join Jeff Passolt in early February as anchors of "Fox 9 News at 5PM" and "Fox 9 News at 9PM."
She takes over for Heidi Collins who left under mysterious circumstances in July after a somewhat rocky three-year stint at the station.
"This opportunity is like winning the jackpot," Carlson said in a statement. "I have fond memories of my summer vacations in the Midwest and I'm so excited to move back here with my family and be a part of the talented Fox 9 news team."