Thursday, September 20, 2018

Little Women at the Jungle Theater

The Jungle Theater's new production of Little Women, playing through October 21, should appeal to most fans of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel. The theater commissioned the adaptation from playwright Kate Hamill, whose version of Sense and Sensibility was performed at the Guthrie Theater in the fall of 2016. Jungle artistic director Sarah Rasmussen directed that production, as well as the new Little Women.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Remembering Pins & Needles - Theater Elision

Remembering Pins & Needles is a charming revue celebrating the only Broadway show ever produced by a labor union.

The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) provided educational and recreational opportunities for its members, in order to enrich workers' lives with more than just the material benefits the union provided. In New York City, the ILGWU owned the Labor Stage (formerly the Princess Theatre), using it as a recreation center for union members. The Labor Stage presented shows for and by union workers, mostly serious, pro-union, cause-driven productions.

With Pins & Needles, the ILGWU brought in professionals including composer and lyricist Harold Rome, and aimed for a lighter tone. The songs and sketches still addressed the concerns of workers and of other current events, but with humor. Performed entirely by union members who maintained their day jobs the revue opened in 1937, and soon drew audiences beyond other union members to become a smash hit.

Christine Wade, Elena Glass, Kenyai O'Neal, and Paul Coate.
Remembering Pins & Needles presents some of the original songs and sketches from the revue, while telling the unusual history of the show. Four singers bring the music to life, with the accompaniment of Harrison Wade (also the music director), with Ben Erlich, Spencer Becker, and Jackson Peters. Christine Wade, Elena Glass, Kenyai O'Neal, and Paul Coate portray the garment worker-actors and act as narrators. This led to a disconnect, as narrators sometimes reflected on the show in the past and sometimes as performers of the time. 

The songs are clever and catchy, especially "Sitting on Your Status Quo" and "Sunday in the Park" and "Nobody Makes a Pass at Me," sung with gusto by Glass. Though Cindy Polich's book doesn't bring the show fully into the present, some of the issues of unions are still relevant today, as the performers, all members of Actors Equity, are surely aware.

Theatre Elision has put on a delightful revue, performed in one 75 minute act. With pay-what-you-can pricing for all tickets and free parking at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, there's no reason to miss this show, performing just through September 16.

For a sample, check out the rehearsal video of the number, "Sunday in the Park," (which actually landed on the Hit Parade) on Theatre Elision's Facebook page.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Fall Theater Preview - SO much theater

This fall, is as always, a crazy theater time for theater. There are literally MILLIONS of shows opening in Twin Cities theater this fall. Literally. Here are a few we can't wait to see.

Hey, did you miss out on getting tickets to Hamilton? Don't give up on theater, baby. Go see a show at one of our fabulous local theaters. You're sure to find something you love.

Or did you see Hamilton? And you were like, OMG, theater is amazing and I need more? We've got you covered, too.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Hamilton tour at the Orpheum Theatre

Elijah Malcomb, Joseph Morales, Kyle Scatliffe, Fergie L. Philippe
and Company © Joan Marcus 2018
Hamilton is here! And yes, it is still all that. The touring show, which plays at the Orpheum Theatre through October 7, is every bit as astonishing as you've heard.