Thursday, April 30, 2020

Theater Crush Thursday: Minneapolis Musical Theatre

The Twin Cities Theater Bloggers are taking this long intermission in live theater to highlight some of our favorite #TCTheater Companies.
Today, we’re giving a little love to Minneapolis Musical Theatre, a scrappy theater with a big heart. Founded by Kevin Hansen and Steven Meerdink, MMT specializes in “Rare Musicals, Well Done” and some of our most memorable musical theater experiences have been courtesy of MMT.
MMT started its full theater seasons at Hey City Theater in downtown Minneapolis and our fond memories from that time include La Cage Aux Folles (with Hansen and Meerdink—former partners in life as well as theater—as Albin and Georges), a sweet and lovely production performed during Pride. Other shows in those years included Chess, Zombie Prom, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Zanna, Don’t and Mame with Hansen in the title role. Insert many heart emojis here. Despite changes in leadership, they continued to live up to their mission with shows like Reefer Madness, Sunset Boulevard, Carrie and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Eating Raoul, Calvin Berger and Murder Ballad. Unique shows and regional premieres are their specialty. We love their ambition and their eclectic selections.
In recent years, MMT has upped their game and entered a new era of quirky, eclectic shows with an even higher level of artistry. Three words: Silence! The Musical. This SHOW. Performed at the Lab Theater, we saw this hilarious musical retelling of Silence of the Lambs multiple times and LOVED it every single time. The production was spare but ingenious and the cast KILLED it.
And then there was High Fidelity, the musical based on the movie based on the book by Nick Hornby. Performed at Minneapolis’s legendary record store, I will NEVER forget standing in the Electric Fetus as the cast—browsing the selection among the audience—kicks off with the first song and the unbelievable joy on the faces of the audience members. Fantastic cast, perfect site-specific location, and one of the best shows we’ve seen in recent years.
Last year, MMT brought us Be More Chill, a show we saw on Broadway that left us cold, but was performed by MMT with such heart and sincerity that it was a whole new show to us. This winter, we caught MMT’s Daddy Long Legs, a sweet, two-person musical produced perfectly at the James J. Hill House and performed gorgeously. We’re beyond sad we can’t see their take on Lizzie, the rock musical about Lizzie Borden, but are hopeful we’ll see it sometime in the future.
Won’t you join us in supporting ( this scrappy theater with heart? We can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.

- Minnesota Theater Love

Monday, April 27, 2020

Streaming Events

A reminder to go to our EVENTS page to see a schedule of streaming #TCTheater events. Which this week include:
History Theatre - stream the 2000 production of REZ ROAD
Wheeler In The Sky - stream a recording of the Minnesota Fringe hit BOOTH'S GHOST to benefit local theaters
Leslie Vincent (whose new album THESE FOOLISH THINGS was released today) - Monday night ukulele shows…/these-foolish-things
Somerville Productions - Friday night cabaret shows featuring local artists
The Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre - Saturday night shows
Walking while Black in Moscow
OUTspoken Gala to raise money for Strike Theater
Twin Cities Horror Festival - Seven Deadly Sins Soiree
Strike Theater - Workplace Drama "A funny thing happened at work"

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Support the Minnesota Fringe Festival!

We were saddened, but not surprised, to hear that the 2020 Minnesota Fringe Festival (held in the first week of August) was cancelled due to COVID-19. They've started a campaign to raise $100,000 to ensure the future of the festival. We love the way that Fringe supports artists in making "adventurous art," and makes it accessible to theater-goers. It's an incredibly well-run festival, and we've seen some of our favorite performances there. If you are able, consider buying a 2020 Fringe button for $5, or contributing however you can.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Theater Crush Thursday: Ten Thousand Things

The Twin Cities Theater Bloggers are taking this long intermission in live theater to highlight some of our favorite #TCTheater Companies.
Ten Thousand Things Theatre has a unique mission. They bring theater to people, performing in schools, shelters, jails, and in smaller venues like the one I attended at Open Book in Minneapolis to see their most recent "Thunder Knocking on My Door" and other shows. Most of the paid performances sell out. They keep their set and props to a minimum. The cast is usually small. This one has five actors and two musicians, and a few stage hands. The founder Michelle Hensley started the theater company in 1991. Her book "All the Lights On" is an insightful look at doing theater and making it accessible to all people. Marcela Lorca has taken over as Artistic Director and is carrying on the excellence of TTT.
Most of the time, I drive to Minneapolis to see their performances at Open Book. I always check to see where they're bringing the show around the state. They brought "Elecktra" up to Emily, MN, which is closer to my home.
What impresses me most about the creative team of TTT is how they get to the heart of the story. I am emotionally connected to the story and characters. Perhaps, it's the intimate experience, small spaces, chairs set around the acting space, you can see every eye twitch and facial expression, and their musicians are always top notch. What must this experience be like for someone who is incarcerated? They bring life and imagination to each performance. Themes of the shows bring out the human experience, ask questions, and give hope.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Theater Crush Thursday: Mixed Blood Theatre

It's time for another #TCTheater that ranks as one of our favorites. This Thursday it's the Minneapolis theatre known for it's "Radical Hospitality" policy Mixed Blood Theatre Company. A program which focuses on making theater accessible to all by removing any and all obstacles whether they are physical or fiscal. Their mission "Using theater to illustrate and animate, Mixed Blood models pluralism in pursuit of interconnections, shared humanity, and engaged citizenry". A fully accessible theater featuring all single stall restrooms, a huge plus for the Transgender community. They take their role in the community seriously producing works focused on social justice and highlighting the positive aspects of the differences between us.
That may sound like a noble but boring theatre company, the kind you go to learn a lesson rather than be entertained. Nothing could be further from the truth as evidenced by their last production a world premiere of a new musical INTERSTATE which closed early on March 14th due to the Covid -19 crisis. Though the show ran for just over a week, I saw it three times. Why because it is one of the best musicals I have ever seen. it is in my top 5, and I know one 16 year old for whom it supplanted HAMILTON and RENT to become his favorite musical. That's because Mixed Blood understands that when we are entertained and moved we are open to new ideas.
Like all theatres during this crisis Mixed Blood needs our support. I encourage you to go to their website and donate if you can or become a member, there are fantastic benefits for only $9/month. go to

for more about Mixed Blood check out my latest blog post at

Streaming Events

Some livestream and recorded events.
Friends, I wrote something on my calendar! It was a red letter day, literally. I wrote down the theatrical offerings that I want to watch this weekend, online. Well, it's a chance to experience art while staying safe and social distancing. Also, it saves on gas and no long drive home at midnight.
Friday night at 7:00 Variety Slam at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
Saturday night at 7:00 Stevie Ray's Comedy Cabaret LIVE also Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
Monday night, also at 7:00, I'll be tuning into "The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society." They're doing Lost Episodes. Read more and get a ticket for this zoom event at Park Square Theatre. They also have a podcast that I'll be tuning into on my solitary walks.
I plan to catch "Mixed Tape" from Wayward Theatre Company tonight.
Ongoing is "Through the Narrows" from Z Puppets Rosenschnoz. I watched this a couple weeks ago. Kid friendly, meaningful, and creates great discussion on how people get through hard times.
Also, The Moving Company has "Speechless" (which I watched and loved), and other past shows.
Online, anytime, is Mixed Tape from Wayward Theatre Company. I plan to watch that tonight.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Theater Crush Thursday: Yellow Tree Theatre

We're back with another #TCTheater company that we love and want to highlight. This week's feature is Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo. If you’ve never been it may seem like a far drive and odd to enter a theater through a strip mall, but it has been transformed into one of the coziest lobbies. From the moment you pick up your tickets you are welcomed into a charming lobby space that feels like you are a guest in someone’s home. The intimate theatre space compliments the wonderful productions being presented on stage which makes being in the audience that much more enjoyable.
Reminiscing on this past season starting with the poignant and gut-wrenching THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, we then laughed until we cried through ANOTHER MIRACLE ON CHRISTMAS LAKE, and witnessed the powerful story of THE SKELETON CREW unfold before our eyes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic; SHERWOOD THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD was cancelled with hopes to produce it in the fall.
The upcoming 13th Season has not been announced yet, but we are looking forward to see what they have planned. The trip to Osseo is well worth the drive.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Theater Crush Thursday: DalekoArts

We're starting a new weekly feature to highlight a #TCTheater company that we love. This week's feature is DalekoArts in charming downtown New Prague. Yes, that sounds like a long drive for theater, but it's not really, especially if you live in the south metro, and it's a gorgeous drive that's totally worth it for the great work that Daleko does in their intimate theater space. Like many theaters, they were unable to complete their 2019-2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic; their spring musical SPELLING BEE was cancelled. But they just announced their 2020-2021 season, which is entirely work written by women, and that's something to celebrate and look forward to!
Their 9th season includes the smart, disarming, and relevant comedy NATIVE GARDENS; the utterly charming PRIDE AND PREJUDICE fan fiction MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY; a new play by co-founder Amanda White, ITASCA; and the 1985 Tony-nominated musical QUILTERS. We often complain about the fact that theaters do the same "classic" musicals (mostly written by men) over and over again, yet there are many great musicals written by women that are never done. Kudos to Daleko for bringing us one of these rarely produced gems by women playwrights/composers.
Season tickets are not yet on sale, but you can find out more about their shows and/or make a donation on their website.
See you in New Prague next season!

- Jill, Cherry and Spoon

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Streaming Events

Are you an avid or even occasional theater-goer who suddenly finds yourself without any theater to watch? We're here to help! There are a number of streaming / online / virtual arts events happening, and we're adding any we see to our EVENTS page. This is intended to be a calendar of upcoming events (with the caveat that as of right now it only includes events that have a Facebook event), so that you can go there and see what's playing tonight, or tomorrow, or this weekend, or whenever. We'll also be sharing other things we hear about on this page. If you know of any events, please let us know by commenting on a post or sending us a private message. And remember, if you do consume any of this online art, please consider contributing to the artists in whatever way you can to help keep our arts community going through this time.