THEATER REVIEW | "Detroit ’67" at Penumbra Theatre: A look back at the future with a great soundtrack

Photo credit Allen Weeks

The Penumbra Theater brings to life segments of history that many of us didn’t read in our textbooks. Detroit ’67 is an inside look at the race riots from the view of a basement in Detroit near the epicenter of the riots. Main characters Chelle and Lank have inherited the house from their parents. They host house parties in the basement to make money; the work is more regular and profitable than factory jobs.

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THEATER REVIEW | "Fruit Fly The Musical": Fringe show buzzes back at Illusion Theater

Sheena Janson (left) and Max Wojtanowicz (right) in Fruit Fly: The Musical.

This is the season of Minnesota Fringe Festival show planning. Lottery numbers were drawn in late February, venue assignments and showtimes went out to producers last week, and Minnesota Playlist is sprouting Fringe-related casting notices and other classifieds. For some teams, now is the time when the writers first begin to frantically craft material; for others, the scripts and scores were set in stone well before their applications went in. The clock is ticking: in less than four months’ time, the country’s largest unjuried theatre festival will have come and gone, bringing about 50,000 attendees – 10,000 more than Target Field’s maximum, and about 91% of the capacity of the old Metrodome – to Minneapolis stages.

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THEATER REVIEW | The Chameleon Theatre Circle's "Jesus Christ Superstar" powerful, frightening

Passion Sunday has come and gone, but the passion and drama live on in Burnsville in The Chameleon Theatre Circle’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar. This staging of the classic musical by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber is recast by co-directors Jim Vogel and Bradley Donaldson as a pot of mob violence on the verge of boiling over. The result is striking, arresting, and often frightening in its power.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Information Society at The Fine line Music Cafe

Photos By: 
Ben Zvan

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king

The crowd for Information Society's April 18 homecoming show at the Fine Line Music Cafe appeared to have been mostly in junior high and high school while InSoc was releasing the albums that made them a hit. DJ Jake Rudh began the evening with music and media designed to take us back to that time, when a handful of weird kids with samples and synthesizers could become a band and an enduring band at that. Stony-faced and ambitiously coiffed young musicians of thirty years ago shared the screen with Star Wars sequels and Daleks to create a 1980s just a bit better than the decade we actually grew up with.

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Record Store Day 2015: 10 stores, 5 hours, 2 cities

Photos by Ann Treacy

Saturday, April 19 was Record Store Day. My favorite 10 year old and I made our second annual pilgrimage to as many shops as we could visit in St Paul and Minneapolis.

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"Down Below or The Womb of the World: A Shadow Opera" on the life of Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington was an artist and writer. Her art is like a mashup of Beatrice Potter and Hieronymus Bosch, intricate and complicated with the nursery rhyme sweetness of Potter and dark edge of Bosch. There’s something compelling that makes you look closer. Her life reads the same way.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Charlie Hunter Trio, Molly Maher & Gabriela Sweet and Erik Koskinen on Real Phonic Radio

Photos by Ann Treacy

Thursday, April 16 I heard a cover of Lorde's Royals on the trombone and I'm not even sure if that's the best thing I heard that night. On the Third Thursday of the month, Real Phonic Radio Hour presents music at the James J Hill Reference Library. Each month is something different; April was a month of instrumental wows!

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THEATER REVIEW | "The Other Place" transcends subject matter at Park Square Theatre

Photo courtesy Park Square Theatre

The Other Place, one of the most powerful plays I have seen in the last year, opened at Park Square Theatre on April 3. Shari White’s play concerns a medical researcher working on a drug to combat dementia who, herself, is suffering from early on-set Alzheimer’s. Aditi Kapil masterfully directs this intense show which highlights how fragile the mind can be.

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THEATER REVIEW | "And the World Goes ‘Round" showcases John Kander and Fred Ebb's hits (and nonhits) at Jungle Theater

Photo credit Michal Daniel

And the World Goes ‘Round  at the Jungle Theater is a musical revue of songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb, the team that gave us the great musicals of Cabaret and Chicago. The production was “conceived by” Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman and David Thompson. Although the songs from these two musicals are featured, so are the songs from lesser known musicals by the pair including The Happy Time, The Rink, The Act, Woman of the Year, and Flora, The Red Menace. Unfortunately, for the most part the songs in these lesser known musicals only serve to demonstrate why they are lesser known musicals.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Damien Rice nails it at Northrop Auditorium

If there was a single line or moment that perfectly captured last night’s performance at the Northrop Auditorium, it was towards the end of the show when Damien Rice said with a smile after a particularly light-hearted moment, “We’re not supposed to be laughing, it’s a sad concert.”

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