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POST BY CAROLINE PALMER, SPECIAL TO THE STAR TRIBUNE
While it may not be as glamorous as sitting in a grand theatre and watching a live performance, the opportunity to see an internationally revered dance company on a large movie screen is almost as good as being in the moment, particularly when London’s Royal Opera House Ballet is putting on the show.
Last month several area cinemas played host to a screening of the troupe’s vibrant “Don Quixote” and on Tuesday night “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” was the main event. Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, this production (premiered in 2011 and revived in spring 2013) is as hare-brained as anyone would desire when it comes to the Lewis Carroll classic. On film it’s possible to enjoy close-up the production details and they are mighty clever, right down to every inch of the Mad Hatter’s anarchic tea party, the antic flamingo croquet match, and the tiniest jam tarts over which many a battle is fought. Sara Lamb (who ably meets the challenge of appearing in nearly every scene of the ballet) is full of good humor and sardonic delight as Alice while Zenaida Yanowsky (the Red Queen) is the very essence of head-lopping derangement.
In December the film series continues with “The Nutcracker.” This production, created by Peter Wright, first premiered in 1984 at Covent Garden and has been a holiday mainstay for the Royal Opera Ballet ever since. The interpretation is based on the traditional story of a girl’s Christmas Eve fantasy filled with toys come to life, battling mice, and, of course, a performance by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The performance screening, as with the two previous ones, features behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage, information about the creative process and interviews with some of the main artists.
“The Nutcracker,” Tues., Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. Five cinema locations in the metro area. Prices vary. Visit www.fathomevents.com for further information.
The Jungle Theater brings back "The Mystery of Irma Vep," with Steven Epp (at left) and Bradley Greenwald, as part of its 2014 season. Star Tribune photo by Tom Sweeney.
Wendy Lehr, currently wonderful in "Driving Miss Daisy" at the Jungle, will be back a year from now when the Minneaplis theater presents her in "On Golden Pond." Bain Boehlke directs and costars in that show about a couple celebrating 48 years of marriage at a lake cabin. (Nov. 7-Dec. 21, 2014).
Also in the 2014 Jungle season:
"Shakespeare's Will," by Vern Thiessen. Boehlke directs Cathy Fuller in the one-woman play about Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway. (Feb. 7)
"Detroit," the play by Lisa D'Amour, won an Obie and was a Pulitzer finalist. Joel Sass directs. (April 11-May 25)
"The Heiress," a Tony-winning play by Ruth Goetz & Augustus Goetz based on Henry James' novel "Washington Square," will be directed by Boehlke. (June 20-Aug. 10)
"The Mystery of Irma Vep," by Charles Ludlam. The high-speed Victorian comedic melodrama won good reviews in 2010, and returns, again directed by Sass, with Steven Epp and Bradley Greenwald. (Nov. 7-Dec. 21)
Season tickets are now on sale. 612-822-7063, www.jungletheater.com.
At Monday's early show at the First Avenue nightclub, stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle intimated that he might someday move to the Twin Cities. That someday might be now.
Chappelle, who remains popular despite or perhaps because he quit his eponymous Comedy Central show back in 2005, has added an 11th performance to his "pop up" Minneapolis engagement.
The first eight performances, two a night Monday through Thursday at First Avenue, sold out. Then he added 7:30 shows Friday and Saturday at the nearby Pantages Theatre. Now he has added a 10 p.m. performance for Friday night as well at the same venue. The 10 p.m. Saturday slot is conspicuously open.
Photo by Rohan Preston
John B. Davidson, a co-founder of the Children’s Theatre who later became known as a playwright, died Tuesday, Nov. 5, in Minneapolis. His death, at 81, came a week before his adaptation of “Cinderella” went into previews at the Children’s Theatre. The show has been a staple of the company’s repertory since the 1970s.
“His heart just gave out,” said Betsy Spitzer, his daughter.
Davidson is best known for “Cinderella,” which has been part of the company’s repertory since the 1970s, and “The Last Minstrel Show,” about the 1920 lynching of black circus workers falsely accused of rape in Duluth.
Born and reared in Minneapolis, Davidson graduated from Minneapolis Central High School. He served a spell in the U.S. Navy, according to his family, and then attended graduate school in theater at the University of Minnesota.
That is where he met up with some of the other co-founders of the Moppet Players, which would become the Children’s Theatre. Davidson served as managing director in the early company, said actor and singer Barbara Davidson, whom he married and divorced but with whom he remained cordial.
“He was acerbic and exacting,” she said. “He had very high standards for work, even if he didn’t always live up to them.”
Funeral services are pending.