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The Guthrie Theater is in the planning stages of a possible multi-play festival around the work of Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, sources have told the Star Tribune. Nottage would be the third playwright to be so honored and the first playwright who is female or a person of color.
“We can’t confirm anything now; things are still moving around,” said Trish Santini, director of external relations at the Guthrie.
However, in a statement Thursday, Guthrie director Joe Dowling did say the theater has commissioned a play from Nottage with the support of the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, and "we are in conversations with Ms. Nottage and her representatives regarding the timing of a future production and the scope of our commitment."
The Guthrie will announce its 2014-15 season April 10.
Nottage is a highly respected Yale-educated playwright who won the 2009 Pulitzer for “Ruined.” That drama is set in an African warzone and centers on the lives of women who find sanctuary in a brothel. It was memorably produced in fall 2009 at Mixed Blood Theatre.
Nottage’s latest play is “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” a comedy about the challenges of a fictional black actress in the 1930s. Sanaa Lathan was one of the stars of the New York premiere.
Nottage is completing a new drama, “Reading Play,” whose premiere at the Guthrie in fall 2015 was previously announced. That play is drawn from research into the lives of people in Reading, Penn., one of the nation’s poorest cities. The project won a coveted $50,000 Joyce Award.
The Guthrie produced Nottage’s “Intimate Apparel” in fall 2005. None of her other works have been seen in the Twin Cities. She also wrote “Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine,” a 2004 work about the social fall of a professional woman whose husband has taken her money.
In 2009, the Guthrie launched its festival idea with a celebration of Tony Kushner’s work, including the premiere of “The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.” A festival of work by British playwright Christopher Hampton followed in 2012.
A Nottage festival would celebrate one of the nation’s leading playwrights even as it helps the Guthrie to address issues of gender and ethnic diversity that have been raised in past seasons.
A "Paint the Pavement" project drew lots of neighborhood participation during last year's first Arts on Chicago program. It's coming back this summer. Photo by David Joles.
After a successful first run last summer, Pillsbury House Theatre and other partners are bringing back the Arts on Chicago program, featuring artists engaged in interactive work designed to draw in people who live in, work in or pass through a ten-block stretch of Chicago Avenue (32nd St. S. to 42nd St. S.) in south Minneapolis.
Three new artists who live or work in the area have received $5,000 each for their ideas. Ester Ouray is going to get giggly, hosting a series of "laugh-ins" as well as random appearances by a laughter flash mob. Peter Haakon Thompson is going to cart around a pop-up ping-pong park (aka temporary table tennis trailer -- say that fast three times) to different yards and public spaces in the neighborhood to encourage spontaneous games and conversation. David Luke will animate poems -- created by participants in the Upstream Arts program for people with disabilities -- into short movies.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is funding the program,which focuses on stimulating physical activity as well as art appreciation.
"The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!," Lloyd Suh's comic adventure story that premiered last October at the Children's Theatre, has had a successful transfer to New York.
The show, which opened recently at La MaMa, received a rave review in the New York Times.
The critic noted the "magic" of Ralph Pena's production and called Suh's script "exuberantly imaginative."
The show has the same cast and creative team in New York as it did in Minneapolis, including (pictured in the Dan Norman photo) Alton Alburo and Sasha Diamond. It was produced as a collaboration between CTC and New York's Ma-Yi Theater.
Fionn Meade @ Guillermo Riveros
Walker Art Center has hired two new curators including a Senior Curator of Cross-Disciplinary Platforms, a new post designed to reflect the center's focus on artists who work in many fields ranging from film, video and music to dance and such stationary visual arts as painting, printmaking or photography. That post will be filled by Fionn Meade starting May 5.
Meade is presently a curator, writer and faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and Columbia University in New York City. His expertise is in film, performance and museum practice. He will also be Interim Head of the Walker's Visual Arts Department while a search continues for someone to replace Chief Curator Darsie Alexander who is leaving to become executive director of the Katonah Museum of Art in suburban New York City.
Meade's first task will be to oversee the presentation of Radical Presence, an exhibition about black performance in visual art from the 1960s to the present. One of his future shows will focus on the work of visual artists who collaborated with choreographer Merce Cunningham whose archive the Walker owns.
He previously worked as a curator at the Sculpture Center in New York City and at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle. He has a M.A. degree in creative writing from Columbia and a M.A. from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard.
Isla Leaver-Yap, photo provided by Walker Art Center
The second appointee is Isla Leaver-Yap who will take the new post of Bentson Visiting Film Scholar starting March 3. Presently living in Glasgow, Scotland she is expected to do research on the Walker's Ruben/Bentson Film and Video Collection which has a high concentration of avant garde films dated from 1943 - 1985. She will report to Meade but also work closely with Sheryl Mousley, the Walker's film curator.
Leaver-Yap has extensive experience with film groups in London and New York. She has an MA in art history and English and a MSc in Art History Research from the University of Edinburg, Scotland.
Soprano Renee Fleming and Piotr Beczała in "Rusalka," which is broadcast live from the Metropolitan Opera House in HD on Saturday. Photo by Ken Howard for the Met.
More than 100 million saw her sing the National Anthem at the Superbowl recently. Now you can catch soprano Renee Fleming in Dvorak's "Rusalka," the opera that helped launch Fleming 25 years ago. That was when she won the Met's National Council Auditions singing the "Rusalka" aria "Song to the Moon."
The Met's HD livecast of "Rusalka" begins at 11:55 a.m. Sat., Feb. 8,at various Twin Cities movie theaters. Tickets and theater details are at the Fathom Events website.
The Met's revival of "Rusalka" with conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin received a mixed review in the New York Times. The story revolves around a water nymph who falls for a human. Uh-oh.
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