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Posts about Theater

Theater Latte Da announces 2014-15 season

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: June 13, 2014 - 11:12 AM

Theater Latte Da brings familiar faces to the stage in some unfamiliar places -- which is kind of neat.

 

Photo by Tom Wallace/Sally Wingert, who played Fraulein Schneider in "Cabaret," returns in the singular role of Maria Callas in "Master Class." The play, which you will recall features a spare amount of actual music, shows Callas reflecting on her life and career as she coaches opera students at Juilliard. Artistic director Peter Rothstein directed this Terrence McNally play at Park Square, way back in 2001. Andrew Bourgoin plays Callas's accompanist and music director. "Master Class" opens the season, Oct. 8-Nov. 2, with performances at the MacPhail Center for Music -- a venue Latte Da has never used.

Photo by Mark Van Cleave For the third straight year, Latte Da will partner on Hennepin Theatre Trust to reimagine a familiar musical. Bradley Greenwald (pictured) will portray Fagin in "OLIVER!" Feb. 4-March 1, at the Pantages Theatre. The partners launched the effort in 2013 with "Aida" and "Cabaret" followed last January. Rothstein said he hopes to illuminate "the story's rich exploration of class, family and social responsibility." Greenwald was in last season's "Steerage Song" and recently has been seen in Frank Theatre's "The ThreePenny Opera." Rothstein's "OLIVER!" will feature 30 members of the Minnesota Boychoir.

Photo by Michal Daniels/ Greta Oglesby will make her Latte Da debut as the Witch in "Into the Woods," the fairy tale mash-up by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. Oglesby is best known for her performance in "Caroline or Change" (pictured) at the Guthrie Theater. She's worked at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Goodman in Chicago and recently played the family matriarch in "Raisin in the Sun" at Chicago's TimeLine Theatre. David Darrow, who played George Gibbs in Latte Da's "Our Town," has also been signed for "Into the Woods," which will run March 4-29 at the Ritz Theater in northeast Minneapolis, another new venue for Latte Da.

In addition, Rothstein will stage "All is Calm" with Cantus Dec. 17-21 at the Pantages. And the season will conclude with "NEXT: New Musicals in the Making" April 30-May 17 at the Ritz.

Information at latteda.org or 612-339-3003.

Playwrights' Center announces McKnight Theater Artists

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: June 12, 2014 - 10:27 AM

The Playwrights’ Center has named Sally Wingert, Austene Van and Mathew LeFebvre as McKnight Theater Artists. The award comes with $25,000 and also provides $7,000 to develop new theatrical work.

Wingert has worked on Twin Cities stages for more than 30 years. In 2013, she was selected the Star Tribune’s Artist of the Year. She’s most often seen at the Guthrie Theater but has made significant contributions such as her performance in Theater Latte Da’s “Cabaret” in January and a leading role in Dark and Stormy’s small production of “The Receptionist” in December.

Van has worked as an actor, director and choreographer. She found her footing at Penumbra under Lou Bellamy and was seen there in “Spunk” last year. Van performed the title role in Latte Da’s “Aida” in 2013 and was Blanche Dubois in Ten Thousand Things’ staging of “A Street Car Named Desire.” She’s directed at Park Square, History Theatre and Theatre in the Round.

LeFebvre has designed costumes for more than 20 productions at the Guthrie and 15 at Penumbra – in addition to many other Twin Cities companies. His credits include shows at Signature Theatre in New York, Milwaukee Rep, the Geffen Playhouse, Minnesota Opera and Arizona Theatre Company. LeFebvre teaches and directs at the University of Minnesota. Jeremy Cohen, producing artistic director at the Playwrights’ Center, said LeFebvre is the first costume designed honored with the McKnight Award since 1997.

Last year’s winners – Sun Mee Chomet, Denise Prosek and Stephen Yoakam – will showcase their works in progress Monday at the Southern Theater.

An American regional theater closes its doors

Posted by: Rohan Preston Updated: June 11, 2014 - 2:24 PM

The San Jose Repertory Theatre, a 34-year-old regional company that served California's third-largest city, has been shuttered, its board announced Wednesday.

"We deeply regret having to take this action because of the impact it will have on our 51 employees, the artists we work with each season, our season ticket holders, loyal patrons and generous donors and supporters," board president Holly Walter said in a statement. "We also regret the impact on the city of San Jose and the local arts community."

The company, like other arts organizations in the area, has reportedly had severe financial difficulties in recent years. It operated out of a city-owned facility.

In 2011, Seattle's Intiman closed under debts. That company later re-opened as a festival.

Final play in McCraney's Brother/Sister trilogy to be presented at the Guthrie

Posted by: Rohan Preston Updated: June 11, 2014 - 12:49 PM

The final play in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s celebrated Brother/Sister trilogy will be presented at the Guthrie Theater this fall under the aegis of Pillsbury House Theatre and The Mount Curve Company.

Marcus, or the Secret of Sweet,” a coming-out and coming-of-age drama, completes McCraney’s bayou-set cycle, which served as an introduction of the playwright to Minnesota audiences.

The trilogy includes “In the Red and Brown Water,” which was memorably staged by Marion McClinton in 2011, and “The Brothers Size” (pictured right, photo by Michal Daniel), which played a year later a year later with the same creative team.

Obie-winner McClinton also helms “Marcus,” which centers on a 16-year-old in search of ancestry and himself. No casting has been announced as yet.

McCraney, also an actor and director, is a member of Chicago’s famed Steppenwolf Company. He has won the MacArthur “genius” fellowship, the Windham Campbell Prize from Yale and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.

The Brother/Sister plays are the only work by McCraney seen in the Twin Cities thus far, although his plays have been seen in theater meccas such as Chicago, New York and London.

Musical teens win Broadway trip

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: June 10, 2014 - 5:59 PM

High-school seniors Angela Steele and Davis Brinker are Broadway bound, at least for a few days, after winning the Triple Threat competition that's part of Hennepin Theatre Trust's celebration of high-school musicals, SpotLight Showcase, which took place at the Orpheum Sunday and Monday nights. The showcase is the annual culmination of SpotLight, HTT's education initiative.

The two bested 10 other finalists to win the all-expenses-paid trip, which will include voice, acting and dance lessons, an audtion with a casting agent, a brief performance at an event called "Broadway Sessions" and, of course, several Broadway shows -- which Brinker said he hopes will include the current Les Miz revival.

Steele last played the antagonist supporting character Amber Von Tussle in "Hairspray" at her school, the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, while Brinker portrayed Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables" at Washburn High School in Minneapolis. To be eligible for the contest, they first had to be named an outstanding performer in a school musical, do both video and live auditions, then rehearse for a week with the other candidates for the SpotLight performance.

Davis said he plans to begin studying acting at the University of Indiana in Evansville in the fall.  Steele, who moved here from New Zealand with her family a few years ago "because there are a lot more performing opportunities," is taking a year off before college until she can establish citizenship. She's already landed a role in Theater Latte Da's production of "Oliver!" opening in early 2015.

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