Announcing the 2021-2022 Season

2021-2022 Connect and Celebrate: The Harris Family Theatre SeasonPARK SQUARE THEATRE’S RETURN AIMS TO HELP PEOPLE CONNECT AND CELEBRATE

47th Season Features New Artistic Collaborations and Delayed Fan Favorites

MEDIA CONTACT Rachel Wandrei – 617.543.5770, wandrei@parksquaretheatre.org

Saint Paul, Minn., Sep 2, 2021 – Park Square Theatre shared its plans to return to in person programming today with the announcement of the 2021-2022 Harris Family Theatre Season. Programming begins in late October and will feature several long-awaited productions including a musical revival and a summer mystery alongside several new artistic collaborations.

“We all need ways to laugh and connect as we emerge from the pandemic,” says Interim Executive Director Mark Ferraro-Hauck. “Park Square is a place where people know they can come together to relax and celebrate being together.” The season, the company’s 47th, is supported by a major gift from the John W. Harris family. 

“This is our season of coming together,” says Rick Shiomi, Co-Artistic Director of collaborator Full Circle Theatre Company as well as one of Park Square’s Artistic Associates, a cohort brought together in early 2020, just before the pandemic took hold, to guide the theatre’s artistic direction. “We’ve spent more than a year in relative isolation, and now with vaccinations, proper masking and social distancing, we have the opportunity to gather together again, even as the pandemic lingers through the Delta and other variants.”

“We are working diligently to keep our eye on the prize as we continually monitor and follow COVID-19 safety guidelines,” says Producing Director and Artistic Associate Kim Vasquez. “The theatre is deeply aware of public safety as well as the safety of our staff, crew, and actors.” Park Square recently announced its COVID-19 Health and Safety Plans, which includes required indoor masking and proof of vaccination or a negative covid test.

Shiomi continues, “we come together to share our music, our stories, our laughter and our pain in ways that theater can help us soothe our souls and give new energy to our spirits.  We at Park Square are here to connect with you, our community; to bring the joy and wonder back into our lives is the shared experience of the performing arts. This is a season of ‘recovery’ full of our own long delayed productions, collaborations, a revival, and the return of our classic educational theater productions. We are returning to the stage to serve you the best of our creative work.  It’s a full course meal with everything from the heartfelt stories and struggles of our lives,  to highly entertaining crime mysteries and the thrill  of playing air guitar.”

The theatre year opens with a misty murky night of storytelling and readers theatre in THEATRE OF THE MACABRE, directed by and featuring Craig Johnson, with original concept by Kim Vasquez (Oct 29 – 30, 2021). A theatrical experience for the time when spirits walk gleefully among us, you are invited to immerse yourself in classic tales of hauntings and horror including ghost stories, songs, classic literary scenes, and storytelling from Edgar Allen Poe to William Shakespeare. The production will reunite several artists from the well-received 2020 virtual production, as well as new material developed for the stage. 

Fall is full of collaborations, beginning with Park Square presenting the Full Circle Theater Company production, THE EMPATHY PROJECT, by Stephanie Lein Walseth (Nov 12 – 21, 2021). This world premiere, interview-based play was developed through virtual workshops and readings, and explores empathy across geographic, political, and racial divides. “There are so many moving stories about the experiences of folks across our state and how we can walk a mile in their shoes to better understand each other,” says Rick Shiomi. Based on interviews with rural and urban Minnesotan – people like our neighbors, our friends, or even ourselves – The Empathy Project investigates the power and limits of empathy in a deeply fractured world. 

November brings a special presentation of Katha Dance Theatre’s world premiere SHAAMYA – OF EQUALITY (Nov 19-21, 2021) with choreography by Rita Mustaphi. Inspired by the poem “Of Equality” by Bengali revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, this multicultural dance piece infuses poetry, gospel and R&B music with original Kathak choreography. This new work, with music composed and performed by J.D. Steele and poetry by Somali poet and playwright Ifrah Mansour, makes parallels between the experiences of today’s communities of color and those of Nazrul Islam’s era.

January brings the much-anticipated return of MARIE AND ROSETTA, by George Brant (Jan 19 – Feb 13, 2022). Back by popular demand following the sold out 2018 run, this play with music is packed with joy and power from the godmother of rock-and-roll. Bringing fierce guitar playing and swing to gospel music, Sister Rosetta Tharpe influenced rock musicians from Elvis and Jimi Hendrix to the Alabama Shakes. The story begins in a funeral parlor in Mississippi, as Rosetta and her young protégé, Marie Knight, prepare for a tour that will establish them as a great musical duo. Songs like “I Looked Down the Line” express the pain and sorrow of living in the Jim Crow South, while “Didn’t It Rain” and “I Want a Tall Skinny Papa” will have audiences dancing in their seats.

Park Square is known for serving the region’s largest teen theatre audience with daytime matinees for students in middle and high school. This will continue in the spring with Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET. David Mann’s tight 90-minute adaptation will be offered to general audiences for just two nights (Apr 2-3, 2022). A tragic whirlwind of catastrophes and secrets comes to life in this passionate, youthful rendition of Shakespeare’s greatest love story. The theatre will also offer THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK solely for student audiences. 

Full Circle Theater Company returns in the spring with Augusto Federico Amador’s ATACAMA, (Apr 20 – May 1, 2022), a play of magical realism and reconciliation. Set in the landscape of Chile’s Atacama desert, this metaphoric quest begins with the meeting of two strangers searching for the long-lost remains of their children killed by the Pinochet regime. Chile’s history becomes an examination of the opposing choices, views, and actions that tear families and countries apart; and explores the transformative possibilities that can lead from transgression to redemption.

May brings the regional premiere of AIRNESS (Jan 29 – Feb 28, 2021) by Chelsea Marcantel. Five oddball rock fanatics go to dingy bars and cramped stages all across the nation to express their inner shred genius as they vie for a place at the National Air Guitar Championship. Following them on their quest to achieve ‘airness’ on the long road to qualification, this righteous and smile-inducing comedy shows how community is forged in unexpected places. “If you are looking for an amazing piece of theatre that will get you on your feet tapping, wailing and clapping in mid-air – while also moving you to reflect on and care for yourself – look no further; [Airness] is for you.” – Santa Barbara Independent

Finally, Sherlock takes the stage in Jeffrey Hatcher’s HOLMES AND WATSON (JUL 12 – AUG 21, 2022), an edge-of-your-seat comedy-mystery building on Conan Doyle’s beloved and complicated hero. Sherlock Holmes is dead, or is he? Dr. Watson receives a telegram from a mental asylum: three patients are claiming to be Sherlock Holmes. Did the world’s greatest sleuth fake his own death? Who’s the real detective and who are the imposters? Tight, clever, and full of suspense, this is Jeffrey Hatcher (Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders; Mr. Holmes; The Good Liar) at his clever best.

SEASON TICKETS are on sale now. Subscriptions include a CLASSIC 3-play package or an EXPLORE choose-your-own of select productions. Subscription prices begin at $65. SINGLE TICKETS will be available in early October.

The ticket office is temporarily closed for in-person and phone service. With questions, please email the ticket office at tickets@parksquaretheatre.org. To speak to a ticket office representative, please include a phone number and you will be contacted during ticket office hours on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

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PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. Ticket Office: 651.291.7005. www.parksquaretheatre.org

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Thanks, and stay well!

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