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Photo by Michal Daniel.
Twin Cities audiences will get a chance to see the final work in Tarell Alvin McCraney's Brother/Sister trilogy in 2014, Pillsbury House Theatre has announced.
The company, which has produced indelible stagings of McCraney's "In the Red and Brown Water" and "The Brothers Size" at the Guthrie Theater over the last two years, will co-produce "Marcus, or the Secret of Sweet" at the same venue.
Pillsbury House has co-produced the McCraney plays with the Mount Curve Company. All have been directed by Marion McClinton, who returns. No casting has been announced.
"The Brothers Size" starred Namir Smallwood (above left), Gavin Lawrence (right) and James A. Williams. Although “Marcus” will be staged in fall 2014, no exact dates have been announced.
The theater, whose season follows the calendar year, also will be the site of the regional premiere of Johnna Adams’ "Gidion’s Knot." The play, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, is set at a parent-teacher conference and centers on a grieving mother and a distraught fifth-grade teacher. Noel Raymond directs (Feb. 21-March 23, 2014).
Pillsbury House also will present “Mercy Killers,” a solo show written and performed by Broadway actor Michael Milligan. It is about an auto mechanic’s care for his wife and was a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Tom Oppenheim directs (April 23-May 4, 2014).
Louie Anderson and Scott Hansen
A few weeks ago, Scott Hansen did something he’s never done in his 36-year comedy career: He walked out of his own show. Hansen has been diagnosed with arthritis in the spine, making it difficult for him to be on stage for very long.
“It’s hard to sit or stand,” said Hansen who is credited for helping make Minneapolis a major comedy player. “I don’t want to put myself in a position where I could fall or get hurt. It’s not worth it anymore.”
Hansen, 59, will do his last New Year’s Eve show at the Maple Tavern, do a few corporate gigs and then officially retire his stand-up act around April. But don’t think the ever resilient Hansen is going to stop going for laughs. He plans to concentrate on writing and developing sitcom ideas. “I’m not going to roll over and play dead,” he said.
The Jon Hassler Theater in Plainview. Photo from theater's Facebook page.
The Jon Hassler Theater in Plainview, Minn., is closing. Named for the esteemed writer who grew up in the town of about 3,300 northeast of Rochester, this little drama house on the prairie founded 14 years ago drew critical praise for the quality of the more than 60 plays staged there. Its home, a former farm-plement dealership, also houses a bookstore and art gallery.
The rising costs of putting on shows factored into the decision to close,said Dean Harrington, CEO of the Rural America Arts Partnership, the umbrella orgnazation that runs the theater. But that was only one reason.
“Attendance plateaued after the first few years and after that we didn’t get the increases we needed,” Harrington said. “Also part of our mission was to produce challenging work, and there was some audience for that in this area, but not enough to make it a satisfying endeavor.”
The Hassler will continue to house productions on a rental basis through 2014, to honor prior commitments to high school and community groups who have planned shows and other events.
“We hope the school or someone else might buy it so it can continue being used as a theater, but if there’s no interest it will be redeveloped as a commercial space of some sort,” Harrington said.
“It does take a bigger investment than just ticket sales to keep a theater going,” said Brett Olson, a supporter of the Hassler who runs a rural-arts advocacy nonprofit called Renewing the Countryside. “The Guthrie couldn’t survive on that. The money that goes to the urban arts may be geographically proportional to the amount of taxes paid, but the rural areas can wind up being left out.”
Jason Alexander, the actor best known for playing a balding George Costanza on “Seinfeld,” now has a full head of hair that he’s bringing to the Twin Cities.
Alexander will do a solo show, “An Evening with Jason Alexander and His Hair” – that’s the real title — on a Monday, Jan. 27. It will be a benefit for the family of Carl Lee, who died on Nov. 5 at 52.
Lee was the director of marketing and theatrical programming at Hennepin Theatre Trust, which runs the State, Orpheum and Pantages theaters.
A one-time actor and singer, he also was the husband of Emmy-winning Broadway performer Linda Talcott Lee, whose 15-year Broadway career included nine years in “Beauty and the Beast.” Talcott Lee won an Emmy for her choreography on NBC’s “The Comedy Hall of Fame Show,” where she reunited with Alexander, with whom she had worked, pre-“Seinfeld.”
"We're thankful to Jason for his generosity in helping secure the future of our children," said Talcott Lee.
Alexander will deliver stand-up comedy, music and improv in his show. Tickets to “Jason Alexander and His Hair”, $45-$125, go on sale on Wednesday. Call 1-800-982-2787.