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Who knew Carol Burnett was still such a rock star? The adoring fans who gobbled up tickets fast to the legendary TV comic’s sold-out appearance Friday at the State Theatre came bearing gifts and even wearing Irish green Scarlett O’Hara dresses (with curtain rods, no less!). They had a whole lot of stories to share with Burnett, too, many of which involved some kind of ailment or sad story that her classic TV show helped them or their late parents bear. In fact, at times it felt like Friday’s interactive discussion – modeled after the opening Q&A montages of “The Carol Burnett Show” (CBS, 1967-1978) – was more about the fans than it was about the still-redheaded and resplendent-looking comic, who turned 80 last month.
When she wasn’t directly responding to the audience, Burnett made the show more about all the people she worked with in her storied career. She shared stories about her castmates from her series, like the time Vicki Lawrence called a jabbering Tim Conway a “little a-hole” in a famous blooper. Or when Conway came out of a bathroom at his wife’s bridge club party with Q-tips glued to his face (“They got divorced shortly after that,” Burnett deadpanned). Asked for a behind-the-scene story from rehearsals, she recounted one incident when the notoriously moody Harvey Korman threatened to quit the show. Burnett told him he would be welcomed back Monday morning if he came in skipping and whistling (he did).
She also told stories about all her guest stars, including Lucille Ball (who died on Burnett’s birthday in 1989, but somehow managed to still send flowers and a card) and Jimmy Stewart (who took a liking to Burnett after she bufoonishly stepped in a bucket of whitewash paint on a movie set upon meeting him for the first time). Each story was complemented with accompanying clips from the show, including the “Gone With the Wind” skit that prompted two theatergoers to come wearing the full curtain get-up – a gimmick she credited to her famed costume designer Bob Mackie.
While the average age of the crowd would've made an AARP sales executive salivate, there were a few equally adulating young kids in the audience – most of whom probably know her from her role as the villainess Miss Hannigan in 1982’s big-screen adaptation of “Annie.” She relayed another story about having to reshoot one scene in “Annie” a few months after filming wrapped – and a month after she had a little cosmetic surgery. “Um, I have to tell you, I have a chin now,” she recounted telling the studio rep when they called.
She also laughed at how she knows whenever she’s recognized from that particular movie. “Every once in a while I’ll see a little girl stop in the aisle at the store and go, ‘Huh!?’” she said in mock terror. They must be the only people she regularly encounters not thrilled to see her.
ArtPlace America, a three-year-old Chicago-based consortium of public and private arts funders, has included three Minnesota projects in its 2013-14 round of grants totalling $52 million.
Two arts projects in St. Paul and one in Lanesboro, Minn., have each received six-figure amounts for efforts toward "creative placemaking."
Bedlam Theatre received $350,000 to develop a Lowertown space designed to serve as an arts nexus for the Central Corridor light rail.
Blue Ox, an artists' collective, also got $350,000 to construct a mini-golf course as the anchor attraction on a 15-acre redevelopment of teh Schmidt brewery site.
The city of Lanesboro in southeastern Minnesota received $313,000 toward its ambitious "arts campus" project, which aims to transform the city into one big arts experience.
This is the third grant cycle for ArtPlace, which has previously funded five other projects in Minnesota, for a total (including the above) of $3,073,000.
Another one we can thank Lollapalooza for: Collegiate New York jangle-pop rockers Vampire Weekend -- whose third album “Modern Vampires of the City” is shaping up to be one of the year’s most widely acclaimed albums – have added an Aug. 5 date at Orpheum Theatre to their summer tour itinerary. The gig is one day after the band performs in Chicago for Lollapalooza. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. for $35 and will be available through the State Theatre box office and Ticketmaster. Pre-sale offers begin Thursday. VW joins the busy first week of August that also includes the National, Postal Service and Killers all at Roy Wilkins Auditorium – also all Lollapalooza spillovers.
Laura Osnes at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway. Photo/Renee Jones Schneider
Laura Osnes has shown that her ascendancy to Broadway was not a flukey result of some reality TV show. The Eagan musical theater actor was among the winners when the Drama Desk awards were announced on Sunday.
Osnes landed on Broadway in the 2007 production of "Grease" after competing on the NBC show "You're the One That I Want." Her arrival, however, was greeted by some New York skepticism because she was chosen by TV rather than an audition. Osnes, who had starred in Chanhassen's "Grease," began quickly to win over the nay sayers with better-than-average notices as Sandy -- the good girl who goes bad to win her dude.
Shrewdly making smart choices, Osnes has now accumulated lead roles in "South Pacific," "Anything Goes," "Bonnie and Blyde" and "Cinderella." She was nominated for a Tony for her "Bonnie" and was picked again for "Cinderella." The Tony ceremonies are June 9.
A few thoughts on Marina & the Diamonds and the Skyway Theatre, which I was experiencing as a music venue for the first time on Sunday.
• The Skyway, the old downtown Minneapolis multi-plex, has potential as a live music space. It has room for 2,000, which makes it bigger than First Avenue (1,600) and smaller than the Myth (3,200). The Skyway’s deep balcony accommodates about 700. The sightlines are good from both levels because the main floor is graded/sloped (think a movie theater with the seats torn out, duh) and the balcony has many steps/levels (and no seats, either, except in two “VIP boxes” in the front corners.).
• The sound was very good on the main floor, pretty good (read not as loud) in the balcony.
• The Skyway has featured Andy Grammer, the Big Gigantic and a couple other live acts, as well as lots of DJs.
• The balcony could definitely use reflector tape or some other device to mark the steps/levels. I could envision clubgoers taking a tumble in the dark during a show.
• There is one bar on the main floor and the others are in the spacious lobby, which also has chairs on which to lounge.
• The place is clearly worse for wear. At least, the air-conditioning worked, but the carpeting on the main staircase was badly torn in spots and the escalator did not work. And, after all these years, the place still smelled of popcorn.
• As for Marina, it’s easy to see why she’s a star in England (she’s from Wales) and why the Skyway crowd – mostly teen and 20-something women and some young gay men-- enjoyed her. Her lyrics speak to the frustrations, insecurities and dreams of youth. And she has built a following with an appearance at the Triple Rock, a slot opening for Coldplay last year at the Xcel Energy Center and lots of viral buzz.
• Musically, the 27-year-old’s piano ballads suggested Regina Spektor without the sophistication and deep talent. Her dramatic dance-pop brought to mind Florence + the Machine without the vocal power and Imogen Heap without the inventiveness.
• As forthy fun as “Primadonna,” “Radioactive” and “How to Be a Heartbreaker” were, they were pretty generic. Maybe that explains why clubgoers were Pogoing and not actually dancing to those numbers.
• Backed by a four-piece band, Marina Diamandis (her father is Greek, her mother Welsh) demonstrated the panache and quirkiness of a star – from dancing with a manikin to wearing beauty queen sashes with faux titles (“Teen Idle,” which is one of her songs, was one) to sporting a tiny heart on her left cheek (which many female clubgoers imitated).
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