Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rent at the Orpheum Theatre - TCTB Review Roundup

Even though the tour of Rent (at the Orpheum Theatre has gone on to its next tour stop, our bloggers had some strong, strong feels about the show. Rent is eternal, so check out these great reviews from our bloggers.

"Now RENT is on the road again with the 20th anniversary tour, a production filled with as much life, heart, and energy as ever. And it's stopping in Minneapolis for just one week only. Whether it's your first, or 15th, or 100th time seeing it, RENT is a joyful, moving, inspirational experience." -
Cherry and Spoon

"People who have been Rent-heads for the past two decades gave an enthusiastic welcome to this Broadway touring troupe, cheering as though their best friends were performing. The energy was contagious." -
Play off the Page

Photo by Carol Rosegg
"Can you believe Tuesday is the first time I've ever seen Rent on stage? I know, I know. How is it possible that a young theater reviewer has somehow bypassed THE musical that ushered in our modern age of new works?" - Compendium - Minneapolis

"The Orpheum is a big theater but the energy coming off the stage at Tuesday night's performance easily filled the house. And the audience gave all that energy right back. I have never been to a show with that kind of energy and audience reaction (including when I saw Rent on Broadway). The rock concert vibe created by the talented cast and the audience seemed to elevate the show to a different level." - Twin Cities Stages

An American in Paris - TCTB Review Roundup

The dancing is beautiful, the Gershwin music is exquisite, and the production is a perfect fit for a summer night.

Our bloggers (mostly) loved An American in Paris tour at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts (only through 6/18).

phenoMNal Twin Cities

Play off the Page

Cherry and Spoon

What Stirs Your Soul

Twin Cities Stages

Sunday, June 11, 2017

ALMA, Refugia, Intent and Impact: A Discussion Round-up

It's been an exciting week in Twin Cities Theater with much discussion about representation, access, inclusion, intent and impact. Check out our round-up below!

First up, "Artists of Today Intersecting Systems from Yesterday" a fantastic discussion by the Alliance of Latinx Minnesota Artists at Mixed Blood Theatre Company.

The panel discussion included:

Moderator: Kurt Kwan (Artistic Associate, Pillsbury House Theatre)
Hector Chavarria (Freelance Artist & Writer)
Jamie Grant (President and CEO, The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts)
H. Adam Harris (Professional Actor and Teaching Artist, Penumbra Theatre)
Michelle Hensley (Artistic Director, Ten Thousand Things)
Raúl Ramos (Resident Artist, Mixed Blood Theatre)
Beliza Torres Narvaez (Associate Theatre Professor, Augsburg College) 

Check out a short video with some highlights, and an audio recording of the event. 

Then, the Guthrie Theater hosted a discussion with us, The Twin Cities Theater Bloggers, about and with The Moving Company regarding questions of representation in their production Refugia. No recordings available, but here are a few summaries of the event:

Jay Gabler at City Pages Minneapolis wrote a lovely, fair and even-handed account of the discussion.

The Star Tribune rightly calls the discussion: "Tense and awkward."

Our own TCTB Compendium - Minneapolis asks "Where do we go from here?"

If you've not read Kory LaQuess Pullam's review of Refugia in Minnesota Playlist, you definitely must do so.

Please stay tuned! Such exciting discussions are happening in Twin Cities Theater, and we want to keep the momentum going. We've got some plans in the works, and we'll be keeping you updated. Our thanks to everyone who is doing this "uncomfortable dance" together (tm Marcella Lorca at ALMA discussion).

Thursday, June 1, 2017

May Theater - A Miscellany of Reviews

It might be summer but there's still a ton of great shows to catch before they close.

Through June 4th:

Intimate Apparel at Ten Thousand Things​
"It's a beautiful story of a woman discovering her strength through friendships, a failed relationship, and her own sense of self-worth." - Cherry and Spoon

Intimate Apparel is also included in Minnesota Theater Love​'s May roundup.

Amy's View at Park Square Theatre​
"Theater, criticism, art, finances, and messy relationships of all sorts are exposed in this play that spans 15 years." - Cherry and Spoon

Through June 11th:

365 Days/365 Plays at Full Circle Theater Company​
"Go. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this production. It will renew your faith in the power and purpose of theater.  It is a delight." -
Single White Fringe Geek

Btw: LOVE Full Circle Theater Company's mission: "The mission of Full Circle is to produce heartfelt groundbreaking theater that artfully addresses issues of diversity and social justice for 21st century audiences." YES.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Boy and Robin Hood - TCTB Review Roundup

The TCTB weighs in on Trademark Theater's The Boy and Robin Hood, playing now through June 11th at the Ritz Theater.

"Nathan Barlow [who] absolutely steals the show as Alan, Robin's right hand man. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Alan is really the hero of the show entire - brave, strong, kind, thoughtful, surefooted, and Barlow plays him with such strength and vivacity that it is impossible to look at anyone else while he's on stage." - Compendium - Minneapolis

"Here’s the thing, I watched the whole play, and they executed the heck out of this story - but I’m still not sure precisely what story they were trying to tell, or why they were trying to tell it." - Single White Fringe Geek

"TradeMark Theater's inaugural production has solidified their spot as a theater to watch in the coming years. The Boy and Robin Hood has the perfect balance of humor, heart, and tragedy." - Coffee with Brett

"For this is not a simple, happy, heroic Robin Hood tale. Rather, it harkens back to the very origins of the legend (see the helpful timeline in the program) with a much darker and more brutal Robin that the one we think of today." - Cherry and Spoon

Monday, May 29, 2017

Refugia - TCTB Review Roundup

Here at the TCTB, we had a LOT of thoughts about Refugia by The Moving Company at the Guthrie. Much discussion has ensued, and we're hoping these discussions will continue and expand.

Our bloggers said:

"What message is The Moving Company sending to their audience? They’ve both silenced the oppressed characters and given them a singular voice instead of allowing them to have individual voices. I identify as a female person of color with an immigrant mother, and it saddens me to not have found any reason to connect to this show. I commend them for their attempt at inclusivity, but if you’re looking for an authentic story of displacement, I’d implore you to look elsewhere as Refugia is short-sighted, white-centric and indulgent." - One Girl, Two Cities

Photo by Dan Norman.  
"So, at the end of the day, should you go see Refugia? I honestly don't know. I can't deny that in it's individual elements, Refugia is a beautifully crafted piece of drama. On the other hand, I have some very strong reservations about the script itself. I may believe that the authors intended this well (and I really do believe it), but somewhere in all the madness the point of the story - of refugees, of those who are suffering, of those who are forgotten and overlooked, of those to whom it is far too easy to turn a cold shoulder - is utterly lost." - Compendium

"So there you have it, the good, the bad, the ugly. As I said to my fellow TCTB, if one of the goals of theater is to start a conversation, then Refugia is a raging success! As long as we keep making art that matters, trying new things, being open about how we feel about what we're doing or what we're seeing, and take the time to listen to each other, I think we'll be OK." - Cherry and Spoon

"It’s like reading a self-published book. Some of the time, it’s great storytelling, captivating, and delightful. Other times, you wish the author had found a good editor. Refugia is a series of stories that deal with refugees and the fears and frustrations they endure. It left me with questions: Are we all refugees, traveling from one place to another, transitioning from one stage of life into the next?" - Play Off the Page

"This new work, playing on the Guthrie's McGuire Proscenium stage, aims to explore "exile, borders and the displacement of people," but we found the piece problematic, seeming to focus on white characters and stories and to underuse its few actors of color." - Minnesota Theater Love

Here's a few more reviews from the theater community:

Quest for Identity Drives Refugia - Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

With Refugia, The Moving Company Finds Its Place - Dominic P. Papatola, Pioneer Press

Refugia - Arthur Dorman, Talkin' Broadway

Refugia - Christine Sarkes, Aisle Say

Refugia: Serrand & Co. Do Gorgeous Work - Mari Wittenbreer, How Was the Show

Review of The Moving Company’s “Refugia” at the Guthrie Theater - Quinton Skinner, Medium

No man's land: 'Refugia' travels through time without borders - Jay Gabler, City Pages
And some background info:

Refugia Newsletter - Guthrie Theater (pdf)

Dominique Serrand talks about 'Refugia' - Pamela Espeland, Minnpost

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Red Velvet - TCTB Review Roundup

JuCoby Johnson (photo by John Heimbuch)
Red Velvet at Walking Shadow Theatre Company at The Southern Theater through May 28. This play sparked a lot of thoughtful analysis by our bloggers.

"Weirdly, Red Velvet seems to be more about white people’s racism than it is about the person who is the recipient of it. Ira Aldridge is the most interesting character here, but there’s a whole lot of white people crowding him out of his own story."
Single White Fringe Geek:

"The world of theater, for the most part, is more progressive than other communities, but we are no less susceptible to blind spots, biases, and strong prejudices. Red Velvet presents a powerful story of just that and how it affects those artists trying to fight against the tide."
The Room Where It Happens:

"I always love seeing new stories find the stage, particularly ones about historical figures who are underrepresented or otherwise forgotten, and that of Ira Aldridge certainly fits the bill.
Compendium - Minneapolis

"At the center of the play is the debate about art and politics. Should art be merely escapist entertainment (which some of Ira's colleagues thought wasn't possible when they went to the theater and saw a black man, during the time when the abolition of slavery was a hot topic)? Or is art, by its very nature, a social and political commentary on the world we live in?"
Cherry and Spoon