Friday, September 28, 2018

Once– again - at Theater Latte Da.

So, our musical theater mavens kind of gushed over Theater Latte Da's staging of the 2012 Tony-Award winning romantic (based on a film of the same name) about a Dublin busker and the young Czech immigrant who hears his music and believes in him.

“It’s a simple story,” writes Mary Aalgaard of #playoffthepage: “Guy meets Girl on the streets of Dublin and they make beautiful music together”.  Mary liked the way the #TheaterLatteDa production “welcomes [the audience] “into the story” with “the cast members play[ing] Irish music as you are finding your seats.” And what a cast it is!  As Guy, “Ben Bakken is delightful” while “Britta Ollmann is everything that the Girl needs to be – a strong, determined, serious Czech woman with a gorgeous voice, excellent piano skills, and a compassionate heart.”

This was Jill’s “fourth time“ writing about Once.  But the intrepid #cherryandspoon blogger was impatient to see a production created by "genius director Peter Rothstein"  at her favorite musical theater company. She reports: “Latte Da has managed to put their own unique spin on it and cast 13 multi-talented locale performers to create something truly special that will make your heart ache in the best possible way.”

Seeing Once once was not enough for Becki Iverson either.  The #Compendium blogger likens revisiting Once to a kind of self-care since “few experiences can instantly center you in the quiet liminal space between the chaos.... It's a beautifully written show that exists solely in the gray areas, the spaces in between.”  

Theater Latte Da’s production of Once is directed by Peter Rothstein and runs through October 21st at the Ritz Theater in Minneapolis.  For tix and info, go to

Ben Bakken and Britta Ollmann in Theater Latte Da's Once. Photo by Dan Norman.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Big praise for Little Women at the Jungle from Twin Cities Theatre Bloggers!

Isabella Star LaBlancC. Michael Menge Megan Burns, Christine Weber, and Christina Baldwin in Little Women at the Jungle. 

Photo by  Rich Ryan

Have you heard about The Jungle’s world premiere of Kate Hamill’s adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women?  Alcott’s classic, beloved novel about the 4 March sisters growing up in rural New England during the Civil War is enjoying its 150th anniversary this year. Our bloggers were very much in concord about this latest collaboration between Hamill and Jungle Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen, with plenty of warm admiration for the show and for everyone involved! 

Take Mary Aalgaard at #PlayOnthePage. Mary is a “huge fan of Louisa May Alcott” who has “read Little Women at least three times”. Mary praises Hamill for bringing “the spirit of the novel and the March sisters to life in a beautiful and modern way” and  gives high marks to  Director Rasmussen, who takes “this endearing story and gives it new life”

What says Gina Musto at #GinaMusto.Com?  Musto, who read Little Women as a kid, attests that Hamill’s adaptation “has all the charm and elegance of the original story (and all the same plot points and character quirks) with a distinctly modern edge. The language feels contemporary without being utterly 21st century…”

And Glory Hallelujah did Becki Iverson of #Compendiummpls ever love this show! “This adaptation of Little Women positively teems with life and warmth and joie de vivre, and you are certain to leave the theater feeling better about the world than when you entered.”

“C. Michael Menge is dynamic as Jo,” write the real life sisters over at #MinnesotaTheatreLove, while “as Theodore ‘Laurie’ Laurence, Michael Hanna was everything one could wish for a character who was the object of many young readers' crushes” (!)

“Each little woman has her complete arc,” notes Jill at #CherryandSpoon. The Jungle/Hamill adaptation “puts more emphasis on the strict gender roles of the time (which are different today, but often still strictly defined), and the way that J, and even Laurie, don’t fit in them. This idea was always there in Alcott’s story but we see it in a new light.”

Little Women runs through October 21st at the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis. Tix and info here:

Saturday, September 15, 2018

If/Then at Lyric Arts of Anoka through September 23rd!

Written by the musical theatre team that gave us Next To Normal, If/Then “follows the branching paths one woman’s life may take” after leaving her husband. Our bloggers praised the musical for its originality, its poignancy and its terrific cast.
#BrettTalk praises Lyric Arts for “continuously pushing the boundaries each season with innovatively critical work” of which If/Then is only the most recent example.
“The idea of chance and almost separate realities is a concept that can be done in so many ways and If/Then makes it interesting to watch.”
One of the show’s chief draws, writes Jill at #CherryandSpoon, is Kate Beahen “who is the closest thing to Idina Menzel we have in #TCTheater…. this is a perfect role for her and she lives up to the challenge in every way.”…/09/ifthen-at-lyric-arts.html
#PlayoffthePage agrees that Kate is “spectacular” while also noting that “the entire cast is wonderful.. with much energy and strong vocals”. Mary found this musical about “choices” to be “modern and poignant”.…/review-of-if-then-at-lyric-ar…/
If/Then runs through Sept. 23rd at Lyric Arts Anoka. Tix and info are here!:

Monday, September 10, 2018


Hi lovely TCTB followers,
We're passing along a message we received today from the folks organizing the MN Theater Awards. For reasons they explain below, they are re-opening ballots until his Friday, September 14th at midnight. We at TCTB think that it is a good thing that they are calling out the lack of diversity among people voting and insisting on the need to "give everyone a chance to help represent the community." Please give them a read. - TCTB
Dear MN Theater Community,
We first want to thank all of you who have participated thus far in including your voice in the MN Theater Awards. From town halls to email conversations to submitting nominations, we’ve heard you, and we appreciate all of your input.
We have tallied the ballots, and are extremely concerned about the narrow scope of the results and the limited number of votes submitted. Approximately 90% of ballots came from people who self-identified as white performers and the top results in almost every category centered on the same four theaters.
Simply put, these results do not fully represent the Minnesota theater community.
We knew that our biggest hurdle would be reaching across the breadth and depth of the theater community we love.
We tried our best to reach out, but we realize that despite our best efforts, we have failed.
Therefore, ballots have been reopened and they will be available until this Friday, September 14th at midnight.
We want to give everyone a chance to help represent the community. We implore you to help us spread this message so that we can add more nominations to the ones we already have. These awards were designed to be open to all, but they lack meaning if the entire community is not represented.
Visit this link to vote and share.
Four Humors
Contact us at

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Hamilton - at long last!

Now that the most beloved of all shows in American theater (yes, that one) has finally come round to the Twin Cities, what’s left for a theater blogger to say? Except  perhaps that however good you’ve heard the show is, it’s better. So say Hamilton first-timers like Brett, who exults: “Just like a cannon going through a window during the Revolutionary War, this show shattered every expectation I had”   Disappointed that you didn’t get to see the original Broadway cast?  Don’t be! Because Phenomenal assures us that this touring company is outstanding: “I have never witnessed such energy and commitment to giving the audience their very best performance each and every night”.. This blogger was, in fact, so blown away by Nik Walker as Aaron Burr she “became completely obsessed with him  from the moment he stepped onstage”: . First-timer Mary over at Play Off the Page agrees that the play “lives up to all the hype” and exceeds it: . Meanwhile Cherry and Spoon’s seasoned Hamilton-goer Jill, who has seen  “the play about America’s favorite founding father” 4 times (!)insists that Hamilton is “still epic and thrilling”  the 4th time! around And if you’re not already convinced that there simply is no such thing as Hamilton fatigue, Compendium's Becky Iverson supplies 9 lovely reasons why she “still cares about Hamilton” three years after it opened:   (If you haven’t already done so,check out the handy-dandy guide from the Hamilton vets over at Minnesota Theatre Love: 

And surely you are well aware of the Hamilton lottery.   What? What's this? Wait, how could you not know about the Hamilton lottery?  Try your luck here: https:/

Hamilton plays through Oct 7 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. For tickets and information go to: More info about Hamilton at

Production photo by Joan Marcus.