Wednesday, January 30, 2019

TCTB Review Roundup: THE GREAT LEAP at the Guthrie

Our bloggers enjoyed the historical and dramatic aspects of THE GREAT LEAP, a new play about basketball and politics in the US and China in the '70s and '80s, now playing at Guthrie Theater through February 10. Tickets and info can be found here: 
Play off the Page
"The set (designed by Sara Ryung Clement) is a basketball court, the coach’s office, and sometimes side streets and apartments. It all seamlessly flows from one to the other. Director Desdemona Chiang did an amazing job of using the large stage to emphasize the largeness of the court and the countries, and the intimacy of private spaces and lives. Stunning."
Compendium - Minneapolis
"That's why I appreciate creative, responsible historical fiction so much - I believe in its power and have seen the near-instantaneous changes it can inspire when it's done right (I mean, helloooo Hamilton). The Great Leap, now showing at the Guthrie Theater, is just such a show. It weaves two historical occurrences - basketball games played between U.S. and Chinese college teams in the 1980s and the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 - to help audiences understand what was at stake in the roiling change China experienced in the late 1980s"
Cherry and Spoon
"Inspired by her father, a Chinese-American who went to China to play basketball against Chinese teams, Lauren Yee has written a smart, funny, entertaining, educational, and thought-provoking play about basketball that isn't really about basketball at all."
Photo by Dan Norman

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

TCTB Review Roundup: Lorna Landvik's PARTY IN THE REC ROOM at Bryant Lake Bowl & Theater

Closing this weekend - Lorna Landvik's PARTY IN THE REC ROOM at Bryant Lake Bowl & TheaterPlay off the Page says "She really knows how to throw a party. She dances in to loud rock music, mixes up a blender full of margaritas, and starts handing them out, then breaks into her first bit. She welcomes us with song, dance, a ton of laughs, and a side order of thoughtfulness. I’ve only seen the show twice, but I’m convinced that the answer to life’s most profound questions lies in dance moves and down home philosophy."

Saturday, January 26, 2019

TCTB Review Roundup: ON YOUR FEET! Broadway Tour at the Orpheum Theatre

Looking to escape this bitter cold? Go see ON YOUR FEET! The Musical and be transported to warm, colorful, infectiously rhythmic Miami for a few hours. Playing at Hennepin Theatre Trust's Opheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis through Sunday only!
Cherry and Spoon:
"ON YOUR FEET! THE EMILIO AND GLORIA ESTEFAN BROADWAY MUSICAL tells the story of a real-life American Dream. Gloria and Emilio immigrated with their respective families from Cuba to Miami, where they met, married, and built a pop music empire."
Twin Cities Stages
"I couldn't finish my review of ON YOUR FEET! without mentioning the absolutely amazing choreography by Sergio Trujillo. It spanned different Latin styles, Cha cha, Salsa, and a sort of tap dancing that was fascinating to watch that I had never seen before. "
Compendium - Minneapolis
"It's a dramatic, engaging story about racism in the music industry, family conflict, a total love for music and art, the power of love over immense difficulty, and ultimately a testament to the rewards of hard work and strong faith in yourself and your family"
Photo by Matthew Murphy

Friday, January 25, 2019

TCTB Review Roundup: Gremlin Theatre's THE FATHER, Lyric Arts' DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE, Theatre in the Round's THESE SHINING LIVES

Check out these shows closing soon, brought to you by Cherry and Spoon.
Gremlin Theatre's THE FATHER closing January 27
"Subtitled "a tragic farce," this story of a man descending deeper into dementia is so sad to watch, but beautiful and amusing at the same time."
Lyric Arts' DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE closing January 27
"Lyric Arts' production of Dead Man's Cell Phone captures this struggle between technology and connection, and entertains with a charming six-person cast and ambitious design."
Theatre in the Round's THESE SHINING LIVES closing February 3
"Theatre in the Round tells these pioneering women's story, via a female playwright and director, with humanity and grace."

Thursday, January 24, 2019

TCTB Review Roundup: Theatre Elision's Gone Missing

The second and final weekend of Theatre Elision's GONE MISSING is here! Just four more performances remain, including a Pay What You Can performance tonight. We awarded Elision our "Under the Radar" Award for 2018 - don't let them continue to slip by under your radar in 2019!
Cherry and Spoon
"I'm grateful to Elision for bringing us this piece [by recently departed composer/lyricist Michael Friedman]. Gone Missing is a funny, quirky, poignant little musical about all things lost, as always beautifully performed by the cast and band."
Twin Cities Stages
"This balance of humor, sadness and nostalgia, and the joy in the stories in which things were found, blended together beautifully. Just like the balance between the stories and the music, the flow between music and dialogue was seamless, and the range of musical styles across the 11 songs will ensure that everyone will have a part to enjoy. "

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

TCTB Review Roundup: The Children at Jungle Theater

The Jungle Theater opened an intense three-person play a week or so ago, and our bloggers were impressed by this first post-Broadway production of THE CHILDREN by Lucy Kirkwood. Read on for the sound bites and click the links for full reviews.
Cherry and Spoon
"Everything about this play is impeccable, from this very specific design that transports the audience to a seaside cottage after a nuclear disaster, to the three-person cast of beloved veterans of stage and screen, and everything else that allows this magic to happen. Get yourself to Uptown to see this brilliant work of theater that will leave you contemplating life for days to come."
Play off the Page
"We were all blown away by the stellar performances of the cast. All of them have had extensive careers on stage, film, and television. Their interactions with each other gave us the feeling that they genuinely had life-long connections to each other. It felt like we were sitting in the room with them witnessing their interactions."
Compendium - Minneapolis
"The Children is a play that defies easy description and leaves a lingering memory, much like the actions of the characters in the show. It is a pleasure to see a trio of seasoned, skillful actors share the stage on equal footing, and the fact that it was so striking to note an absence of anyone under 50 on-stage made me simultaneously thrilled to see such genius and sad that it's so rare to find in culture at large."
The Room Where It Happens
"This play is powerful, thought-provoking, incredibly timely (what with the government shutdown, repeated reports about the effects of global warming and changing temperatures here in Minnesota, and general continual fear/dread that seems to have become normalized in society), and one that deserves lots of discussion and pondering over afterwards."
Twin Cities Stages
"The Jungle has entered the 2019 theatrical year with no reservations, with a play that feels small but asks some very big questions."
Brett Talk
"Kirkwood has masterfully written a beautifully layered piece of theatre that takes a very real and relatable issue in this current political climate to the forefront of our thoughts."
Photo by Dan Norman

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Walker Art Center's "Out There" Series

Walker Art Center's "Out There" series continues through the end of January, check out Compendium - Minneapolis' coverage here.
"The avant garde festival can be really intimidating for those who don't see a lot of theater or prefer explicitly traditional forms of performance, but that's exactly why I find it valuable. As much as I love the usual circuit of theaters and companies I frequent, I find that January (aka the season of resolutions and incipient goal setting) is such a great time to refresh my perspective and re-set my expectations of the shows I'm going to see throughout the year. I'm really grateful the Walker puts this on annually and I encourage you to check out their programming!"

Monday, January 21, 2019

TCTB Review Roundup: Lend Me a Tenor at Old Log Theatre

If you haven't been out to charming Excelsior to seeOld Log Theatre's hilarious LEND ME A TENOR, you still have a few weeks left (through Feb. 16). If you're going to check out those ice castles, see some theater too!

Cherry and Spoon
"With a sparkling eight-person cast, sharp design, and impeccable timing on this complicated farce, LEND ME A TENOR makes for a fun night at the theater."

Brett Talk
"There is something about this type of play that absolutely makes me howl with laughter. I love stylized comedy along with farcical comedies as well. The cast really gets it and plays farcical comedy very well."

Thursday, January 17, 2019

TCTB Review Roundup: Twelfth Night by Orchard Theater Collective

The Orchard Theater Collective is going into their final weekend of their delightful and celebratory production of Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT. It's been getting rave reviews, including from two of our bloggers. Just three performances remain, and the $25 ticket price includes two drink tickets and a lovely buffet of snacks.

Cherry and Spoon
"The most famous line from TWELFTH NIGHT is "if music be the food of love play on." Orchard Theater's production includes music, food, love, play, and a great sense of merriment and celebration."

Say Entirely
"In the Orchard Theater Collective's hands, old language becomes dynamic and fun, modern music meets age-old emotion, and a simple theater space becomes a lighthearted and laughter-filled haven from winter's cold."

Photo credit: Matt Muroya

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

2018 Twin Cities Theater Bloggers Award Winners!

Announcing the winners of the Fourth Annual Twin Cities Theater Bloggers (TCTB) Awards!

Ten Twin Cities Theater Bloggers* participated in the selection of the winners. The full list of nominees was announced last week. Some of the categories were quite hotly contested, so congratulations to all of our wonderful nominees for creating entertaining, inspiring, and challenging theater in 2018.

Below are our 2018 TCTB Award Winners. Be sure to continue reading for some special local theater achievement awards!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

2018 TCTB Award Nominations

Announcing the nominees for our Fourth Annual Twin Cities Theater Blogger (TCTB) Awards! Eight bloggers participated in the selection process (including Bite-Sized Beet, Broadway World Minneapolis/St. Paul, Cherry and Spoon , Compendium - MinneapolisMinnesota Theater LovePlay off the PageTwin Cities Arts Reader, and Twin Cities Stages and will be voting on the winner this week, for announcement next week. In the meantime, congratulations to all of the nominees, and many more artists who inspired us in 2018.