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Carson Kreitzer, a playwright of ferocious intellect and arresting language who takes on challenging themes, will get some quiet time to work in Ireland next year. She has won the 2014 Joe Dowling Annaghmakerrig Fellowship, an award that entitles her to two weeks of creative time at the estate of theater founder Tyrone Guthrie in Annaghmakerrig. She will join artists from around the world at the retreat, where she plans to start work on a new play.
“I'm pretty giddy about this,” Kreitzer said from New York, where she is working on a new work. “It's just such an amazing opportunity, and a place I've always wanted to go.”
The award by the region’s leading theater may also help loft Kreitzer into another realm of theater in the Twin Cities, where she lives but where her plays are only now beginning to get the kind of big productions that they have enjoyed elsewhere.
“Behind the Eye,” her play about WWII combat photographer Lee Miller, who also inspired many surrealists, will open at Park Square in May.
“The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer,” Kreitzer’s 2004 play about the father of the atomic bomb, won a string of awards and has been lauded wherever it has been produced. The Chicago Sun-Times wrote this of Windy City staging: "So much brilliance, ambivalence, ego, history, myth, science, moral argument, emotional heat, poetry and sheer dazzling theatricality are compressed into the mere two hours it takes for Carson Kreitzer's ‘The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer to detonate on the stage…that by the time it is all over, you might easily feel you've been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation."
In Cincinnati, the production was simply “superb,” according to the Enquirer.
Kreitzer also has written for work that has been produced in the Guthrie’s summer and actor training programs, including “Be Here Now…,” a take-off on Chekhov’s “Three Sisters.” Her play, “Lasso of Truth,” about the man who created Wonder Woman, recently was announced as the National New Play Network’s 40th rolling world premiere. It will get productions at Marin Theatre Company, Synchronicity in Atlanta, and Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City.
A member of the playwright-led Workhaus Collective and a board member of the Playwrigths’ Center, Kreitzer earned degrees from Yale and the University of Texas at Austin.
The Guthrie has commissioned her to write a new play.
“Carson is a playwright whose work combines great imagination with meticulous craft,” Dowling said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing the results of her fellowship.”
Barkhad Abdi in "Captain Phillips" (Sony Pictures photo)
The Screen Actors Guild has honored Somali-born Minneapolis resident Barkhad Abdi, 28, with a nomination as best supporting actor for his work in the reality-based piracy drama “Captain Phillips.”
The first-time actor’s costar, Tom Hanks, was also nominated in the lead actor category for his work in the film.
Director Paul Greengrass picked Abdi from an open casting call in a Cedar Riverside community center, praising his ability to seem “menacing and [to] have a humanity too.”
As a raider forced into piracy by desperate poverty, Abdi was alternately fierce and gentle, improvised the film’s unnerving key lines: “Look at me. Look at me. I’m the captain now.”
Abdi's rivals for the SAG award are Daniel Brühl, for "Rush;" Michael Fassbender, for "12 Years a Slave;" the late James Gandolfini, for "Enough Said" and Jared Leto, for "Dallas Buyers Club." The awards ceremony takes place Jan. 18.
Hollywood oddsmakers consider Abdi a likely best supporting actor competitor when the Oscar nominations are announced. Jan. 16.
Minnesota acts didn't fare as well as we had hoped on "The Voice" and "The X Factor," which means all hope now rests on Home Free.
The local a cappella group impressed the judges during last Monday's premiere of NBC's 'The Sing-Off" with its rendition of Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise." Ben Folds was particularly jazzed by Tim Foust's deep voice, which he said left him feeling like he had "bass in my butt."
Judge Shawn Stockman predicted that the five-man group could go a long way in the competition, which includes nine other acts.
Home Free returns to the show on Monday -- but you don't have to wait that long to hear them again.
The group will perform Christmas songs Saturday night at the Fitzgerald Theatre.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also apply online at oconnorcasting.tv/index.php/norway/.
Star Tribune photos by Renee Jones Schneider
Bravo for iHeartRadio, the much-hyped but little-listened entity of Clear Channel Media. That brand was responsible for the significant upgrade in the production quality of KDWB’s Jingle Ball 2013 on Tuesday at the X.
Giant video screens with live action, slick graphics, flamethrowers, indoor fireworks, confetti cannons and even a revolving stage platform, which made this the most efficient Jingle Ball ever (eight acts in 3 ½ hours, not the usual five-hours-plus).
There was one annoying aspect of the production, though – the playing of TV commercials (like teens care about furnace repairs) instead of music video clips between acts. Leave the commercials (KD DJ Big D’s daughter Halley may be cute but seeing her seven or 10 times was too much) for the radio – when we can change the channel.
In my review in the paper, there wasn’t much space to discuss anyone beyond Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, the main attractions.
So here are some thoughts on the other acts:
Fifth Harmony, the female vocal quintet from TV’s “X Factor,” displayed nice hair, four quality singers but no charisma. These young women seemed stiff and manufactured.
Austin Mahone, a 17-year-old YouTube sensation from Texas and Justin Bieber wanna-be, manifested more swag than genuine talent.
Accompanied by four dancers but no live musicians, Nickelodeon-launched Ariana Grande (below), wearing a short skirt featuring a holly pattern, came across like a pint-sized Mariah Carey, complete with the breathy,
affected vocal gymnastics but minus the va-voom personna. With her big voice, Grande has potential but, considering that she’s only seven months younger than Cyrus, well, everyone matures at her own pace.
Backed by an eight-person band, Jingle Ball returnee Enrique Iglesias unleashed his sex appeal for a fast-paced 17 minutes of invigorating, Latin-tinged dance-pop.
Fall Out Boy, those emo rockers from Chicago, thrilled the few guys in the arena with "Thanks for the Memories," "The Phoenix" and "Alone Together," though this band is starting to sound more professional than punky.
Flo Rida (below), the hard-working rapper from, of course, Florida, shifted the party into overdrive with such sing-along hits as "Good Feeling" and "Whistle," which featured a dancing, present-delivering Santa Claus, wearing a giant "HoHoHo" pendant. For his finale, Flo removed his shirt to show off his famous tattoos while three dozen Minnesota girls danced around him onstage as he implored them to "Turn Around."
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