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Charles Keating had a long association with the Guthrie

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: August 12, 2014 - 1:50 PM

Veteran actor Charles Keating, whose roots extended to the early years of the Guthrie Theater, has died at 72. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer three year ago.

Keating is best known to the wider universe as a soap opera star, particularly for his superbly oily lothario Carl Hutchins on “Another World.” He was nominated for an Emmy in 1996 for his work as Carl. He also performed on “All My Children” and “As the Word Turns.”

But long before he was a daytime villain, Keating trained with Sir Tyrone Guthrie in Minneapolis. He appeared in “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” and “The House of Atreus.” He returned to Minneapolis in the past 15 years as Malvolio in “Twelfth Night” and as Scrooge (at right in Michal Daniel's photo) in the 2004 production of “A Christmas Carol.” His performance in that role was considered the best in Twin Cities theater that year by Star Tribune critics – an estimable achievement given how familiar the character is.

He also played a key role when Joe Dowling staged Brian Friel’s “The Home Place” on the Guthrie proscenium. In 2007, he brought a solo show, “I and I, about aging and the self, to the Guthrie studio.

“Charles Keating was a quintessential actor’s actor,” said Dowling, the Guthrie director. “Mercurial, flamboyant, highly intuitive and with a deep and rich voice. He was a joy to work with and brought his great intelligence and his inquiring mind to every role he played.”

His film credits included "The Thomas Crown Affair," and "The Bodyguard." In addition to the soaps, he did TV with "Alias," "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Hercules." And on stage, he was Tony nominated for a revival of “Loot” in 1986.

Keating, London born, was married 50 years and died at his home in Connecticut. His wife, Mary, and two sons survive.

Workhaus Collective will stage three new plays

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: August 7, 2014 - 11:32 AM

"Lake Untersee," a new play by Joe Waechter about a disaffected teen who travels to Antarctica, will open the 8th season of Workhaus Collective in Minneapolis. It will be directed by Jeremy Cohen of the Playwrights' Center, and will be staged at Illusion Theater in downtown Minneapolis.

The Workhaus season continues with "Skin Deep Sea," by Stanton Wood. It is described as "an unusual love story about a two-headed witch, a pirate airship captain cursed with bad luck, a Cuban war hero in search of a meaningful cause, and the two feuding daughters of robber baron Penelope Cooke, the fifth richest person in America." It opens in February at Playwrights' Center. 

The third play is "The Reagan Years," by Dominic Orlando. The play follows four friends as they graduate from college. Their attempt to "keep the party going" runs spectacularly off the rails. It will open in April at Playwrights' Center.

The Minneapolis-based Workhaus Playwrights Collective includes Trista Baldwin, Alan Berks, Jeannine Coulombe, Christina Ham, Carson Kreitzer, Dominic Orlando, Joe Waechter, and Stanton Wood.

Tickets for "Lake Untersee" are available not via Illusion's box office at 612-339-4944. Or click on the Workhaus website.

Lincoln Center gig a first for Ragamala

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: August 5, 2014 - 11:44 AM

Aparna Ramaswamy rehearsed "Song of the Jasmine" in Minneapolis in May, 2014. Star Tribune photo by Elizabeth Flores.

Ragamala Dance gives the New York premiere of its "Song of the Jasmine" at a Lincoln Center Out of Doors performance Thursday night.

The work, incorporaing Ragamala's south Indian dance vocabulary with music by jazz saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, was premiered in Minneapolis in May. It was a commission of Walker Art Center.

Showtime Thursday is 7:30 p.m., at the Damrosch Park bandshell. Admission is free. Ragmala Dance co-founders Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy give a free talk at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Asia Society.

Ranee Ramaswamy, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Aparna Ramaswamy. Star Tribune photo by Elizabeth Flores.

These shows had sold-out performances at Fringe Festival

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: August 4, 2014 - 2:19 PM

"Native Man the Musical" was among sold-out shows at weekend one of the Fringe Festival. Image provided by Fringe Festival.

Ticket sales for the opening weekend of Minnesota Fringe Festival were almost exactly the same as last year, said Fringe officials Monday.

In the first four days of the Festial, the Fringe issued 17,700 tickets to 347 performances, compared to 17,780 tickets to 384 performances in 2013.

“Last year, we had more performances during the opening weekend, but we have almost identical ticket sales this year," said Executive Director Jeff Larson, "which means our average house size is larger this year.”

There were several sold-out shows over the weekend, including:

“The History of Minnesota – Unscripted” presented by The Theater of Public Policy

“The Finkles' Theater Show!!!” presented by Ryan Lear and Rachel Petrie

“Top Gun: The Musical” presented by Rooftop Theatre Company

"Pretty People Suck"

“Pretty People Suck (And Other Indisputable Fact about the Universe)” presented by Arc Stages Satellite

"Crime and Punishment"

“Crime and Punishment” presented by Live Action Set (3 performances)

“Into the Unreal City” presented by Catalog Models (4 performances)

“Native Man the Musical” presented by New Native Theatre

“The Sex (Ed) Show” presented by V as in Victor (3 performances)

“It Only Takes One: A New Musical” presented by World Tree Theatre

“Slut Club” presented by Showers in the Dark Productions

“Macaroni On A Hotdog” presented by Snapdragon Theatre

The 2014 Minnesota Fringe continues through Aug. 10. A full schedule of the festival’s 169-show lineup and links to buy tickets can be found at fringefestival.org.

See reviews of Fringe shows by Star Tribune writers at startribune.com/fringe

Minnesota talent represents at the Toronto International Film Festival

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: July 25, 2014 - 2:08 PM

There’s a fair amount of Minnesota heat at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

The prestigious Opening Night slot goes to “The Judge,” written by Minneapolis native Nick (“Gran Torino”) Schenk. The film boasts the world’s biggest movie star, Robert Downey Jr., as a cosmopolitan superlawyer who finds himself in his corn belt home town, defending his estranged father (Robert Duvall) on a murder charge. First Clint Eastwood as a testy retired auto worker, then Duvall as a peppery retired jurist. Schenk sure has something about grumpy old men.

After decades away from the director’s chair, longtime producer William Pohlad  takes the helm with “Love & Mercy,” a biographical drama about the Beach Boys’ troubled genius Brian Wilson. Since directing his first film, 1990’s “Old Explorers,” he’s collaborated with the likes of Ang Lee, Steve McQueen, Robert Altman, Terrence Malick, Doug Liman and Sean Penn. It should be interesting to see how the Twins scion has upped his game. His new film stars Paul Dano, John Cusack and Paul Giamatti.

The there’s “Wild,” a new drama from Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”) based on the memoir by Minnesota native Cheryl Strayed. Reese Witherspoon plays Strayed as she copes with personal issues on a long-distance hiking adventure that challenges and heals her.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 4-14.

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