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TEARS OF MOONS GRAPPLES WITH HISTORY

 HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH YOUR RAGE? YOUNG BLACK PLAYWRIGHT ASKS MINNESOTANS TO GRAPPLE WITH OUR SHARED HISTORY IN ONLINE SOLO PLAY 

Media Contact – Connie Shaver shaver@parksquaretheatre.org 

Saint Paul, Minn., November 5, 2020 – Park Square Theatre announces a new production of TEARS OF MOONS, written and performed by Antonio Duke and directed by Ellen Fenster. The poetic solo show winds through time – on the number 5 bus – bearing witness to the historic pervasiveness of violence against Black people and its role in our shared history. Both personal and expansive, the play reckons with the past and shares a vision of strength that interweaves African spiritual figures and mythology with Greek epic theatre. “The heartache and resiliency of the black spirit is as old as time itself,” says Duke, “Unfortunately, it is newly being tested time and time again.” TEARS OF MOONS will be filmed on Park Square’s Boss Stage and shown through Zoom November 19-22, 2020, along with live post-show conversations with Duke, Fenster and a moderator. The play will not be available for streaming. 

A young black man sits in a bus stop. He has an African mask and backpack with him.Structured around The Poet, a Homeric narrator wrestling with his own rage and ineffectuality, Duke deftly weaves in other characters, victims of racial violence, some recognizable from news headlines and others representing the lost stories of many. First written in 2015, Duke is judiciously updating the play in response to current events“As a black playwright, I conjure stories specifically for black folk so we can have a forum to communally bear witness to the rage we usually hide,” he says. “But I want everyone to see it so that the suffering people go through can be remembered and honored through ritual. The human condition is the human condition. Empathy is empathy. The victims of racial violence I speak on are human and their stories speak to our shared humanity. I want to ignite a fire within the audience’s spirit.” 

“We have been talking during rehearsal about how the racial trauma of our shared history affects everyone,” says director Ellen Fenster, who is also a Park Square Artistic Associate. “Iaffects how we interact and trust one another on the micro level, and how our systems work for some and not others on the macro level. These are such deep wounds and in my opinion we all suffer from them, whether we consciously realize it or not. This play is for anyone who wants to start to reconcile the racial trauma we live with in the United States, particularly white people who want to educate themselves and learn from a Black playwright who is coping with violence against Black people. This play illustrates with real information why racism and our racist past continues to haunt us.”  

The play is one of the first, following a three-part Halloween variety series, to be programmed by Park Square’s new leadership team which includes four Artistic Associates and Interim Executive Director Mark Ferraro-Hauck. “Part of what makes this play so incredibly meaningful, and why we so wanted to produce it, is Antonio Duke himself,” says Ferraro-Hauck. “He has a wonderfully grounded, gentle and wise presence. You can tell he comes from place of deep compassion as a storyteller. He brings you along with him like a trusted companion.”

“Antonio wrote this play five years ago,” notes Fenster, “and unfortunately it has only become more relevant. The content can stir a lot of emotions and be uncomfortable, which is why we are hosting it through Zoom instead of streaming. We are strongly encouraging audiences to stay with us after each performance to reflect and start processing these deep feelings. 2020 has been a year or recognizing and reckoning, and this play is a witness not only to our history, but how we might grapple with this moment. It is a witness to the truth and the challenge we have before us.” 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS 

TEARS OF MOONS is performed entirely by Antonio Duke. 

The Production Team for TEARS OF MOONS includes Ellen Fenster (Director) Emmet Kowler (Lighting and Projection Design), Erin Gustafson (Stage Manager), Tomas Leal/Leal Studios (Videographer). 

Antonio Duke is a Twin Cities based actor and playwright. In his work he focuses on mythology. Within mythos lies intimate and epic circumstances that he is driven to explore. He conjures most of his muse form black spiritualities; specifically, those deities from the Yoruba, Santeria and Vodou traditions. His artistic mission is to provide conjuration spells for black folk. By offering black magic he hopes to illuminate a communal healing space. He is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie B.F.A. Actor Training Program. He has been seen on stages with The Blue Barn Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Pillsbury House + Theatre, Climb Theatre, Nebraska Shakespeare Festival and the Guthrie Theatre. His first solo performance piece Tears of Moons was accepted into the Guthrie Theatre’s Solo Emerging Artist Celebration. His second solo performance piece Ashes of Moons premiered at Pillsbury House Theatre’s as a part of their Naked Stages Fellowship. He received both the Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship for his next solo piece Missing Mississippi Moons. He is the Co-Artistic Director of The Black Ensemble Players. You can expect him to cultivate many more stages as his journey continues to grow.  

Ellen Fenster is a professional theater director and arts educator in Minneapolis and part of Park Square Theatre’s artistic leadership team. Ellen has directed at Pillsbury House Theatre, The Illusion Theater, Yellow Tree Theater, Theatre Mu, Artistry, Gremlin Theatre, U of MN/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program and Park Square Theater. She is an associate artist at Pillsbury House Theatre where she ran the Chicago Avenue Project from 2008 to 2016She is also an artistic associate at Illusion Theatre where she helps connect the theater with young and emerging artists. She is currently the Artistic and Executive Director of Twin Cities Theater Camp, a summer theater intensive for children. 

TICKET PRICES: All Tickets $25
Tickets are on sale at www.parksquaretheatre.org.  

The ticket office is temporarily closed due to corona virus. 
Please email tickets@parksquaretheatre.org with questions. 

CALENDAR INFORMATION: Nov 19, 20, 21 at 7:30 pm, Nov 22 at 2:00 pm 

PHOTOS : download at https://parksquaretheatre.org/media/photos/
Photos by Aaron Fenster.  

PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. www.parksquaretheatre.org 

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Dracula: Principium et Finis

Up next from The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society residency at Park Square Theatre comes…

DRACULA: PRINCIPIUM ET FINIS
NOV 16, 2020. 7:30 PM

A vintage radio with the dial replace by an image of Dracula.

Every month, the MORLS cast presents two radio plays via Zoom – with live introductions, recorded episode, and live post-show discussion.

As the weather turns cold, The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society offers chills of a different kind with reinterpretations of the first and last chapters – the beginning and the end, Principium et Finis –  of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Each original episode is written and performed in the style of a classic radio series, including commercials, music and sound effects.

Pricipium
“Dracula’s Guest” by Eric Webster

Before arriving at Dracula’s castle, Jonathan Harker stops at a cemetery to seek shelter from a storm, but his refuge quickly becomes a living nightmare. This chilling tale of non-stop supernatural dangers is adapted for radio from the excised first chapter of Bram Stoker’s Dracula!

and

Finis
“The Red Six” by Tim Uren

The six survivors of Dracula’s bloody reign in London have sworn to track the vampire to his home and end his monstrous life once and for all. The final chapters of Bram Stoker’s are retold as an action-packed chase across Europe, where death and damnation await the hunters if they should fail!

How does it work?

  • Ticket holders receive an email in advance with the invitation to the Zoom meeting.
  • The Virtual Lobby for the performance opens at 7:30 PM, and the program begins at shortly after as all are assembled.
  • This experience is only be available to ticket holders.
  • A recording of the radio plays (not including the post-show conversation) is made available to the ticket holders for a limited time after the show.
  • Get your tickets HERE!

Park Square and SteppingStone Theatre to Join Forces

PARK SQUARE THEATRE AND STEPPINGSTONE THEATRE ARE
JOINING FORCES
TO CREATE “THEATRE FOR LIFE”

Media Contacts:
Connie Shaver,  shaver@parksquaretheatre.org
Kiersten Birondo kiersten@steppingstonetheatre.org

This fall, Park Square Theatre and SteppingStone Theatre for Youth join forces to create “your theatre for life” in downtown Saint Paul. The two companies have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that will lead to more robust regional theatre programming for all ages. Through joint management and mission, though operating as separate legal entities with separate boards and finances, the two companies will provide a full range of theatre experiences out of the Historic Hamm Building. 

Those experiences will encompass all ages and the best that both theatres have to offer: classes and camps for young people, workshops for adults and intergenerational groups, family-oriented productions for young audiences, and Park Square’s full mainstage season of new works, classics, mysteries and beloved musicals. In tandem the two partner organizations will serve an audience of 125,000 with more than 70,000 young people attending performances and educational programs.

“I got my start in a theatre for youth company at eight and had my first theatre internship at 18,” says Park Square executive director Michael-jon Pease. “What excites me by joining forces is how together we truly become Saint Paul’s theatre for life for artists and audiences. This innovative partnership is a natural outgrowth of the theatre-in-residence concept Richard Cook started with the addition of Park Square’s Andy Boss Stage.”

SteppingStone’s artistic and executive director Mark Ferraro-Hauck agrees. “With the planned sale of our building near Summit Avenue and Victoria Street in Saint Paul, SteppingStone will return to its downtown roots for performances while maintaining easy accessibility for our hundreds of camp and class families through neighborhood-based programs and facilities.  Greater geographical flexibility and the strength of our combined resources are essential to meet the evolving needs of young artists, families, and schools.”

Each company has championed new work for the stage, from Park Square’s world premiere commission of Christina Ham’s NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN that has gone on to productions around the country to SteppingStone’s recent world premiere of Ricardo Gamboa’s THE REAL LIFE ADVENTURES OF JIMMY DE LAS ROSAS. Park Square’s mainstage subscription programming will continue, such as the upcoming world premiere of BAD THINGS, GOOD WHISKEY, and the new musical TRIANGLE (a co-production with The Ordway). SteppingStone’s annual productions by and for young audiences will move to the Park Square stages during the school year, with summer productions held elsewhere to accommodate the growing summer audience. The partnership kicked off informally on August 1 and 2 with the SteppingStone production of DISNEY’S LITTLE MERMAID, JR, which took place outdoors on the 7th Place Plaza in front of Park Square.

“Partnerships with artists, theatre companies, and schools have also been integral to both Park Square and SteppingStone’s work in recent years,” comments SteppingStone Board President Mike Erlandson.  The new joint venture will include ongoing partner relationships with local companies such as Ghoulish Delights/The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society, Flying Foot Forum, PRIME Productions, Ballet Co Lab, Full Circle Theater, TruArtSpeaks, and Trademark Theatre. 

“This step not only protects both Park Square and SteppingStone during the continued pandemic and forced theatre ‘intermission,’ by bringing together their assets and skillsets,” notes Park Square Board chair Paul Mattessich, “but re-establishes the Hamm Building – which also houses the former SPCO recital hall and the former Vieux Carré jazz club – as a thriving, diverse performance center that can help rebuild downtown’s economy once the pandemic is over.”

With this move, the two organizations are also transforming their leadership model and building on Park Square’s March announcement of a cohort model of Artistic Associates including Kim Vasquez, Rick Shiomi and Ellen Fenster. Mark Ferraro-Hauck becomes the newest element of the artistic and executive leadership team, serving as interim Executive Director, while Vasquez will become Producing Director of the Park Square Mainstage. Another Artistic Associate is currently meeting with the team and is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Michael-jon Pease, Park Square’s current Executive Director, will remain with the company as a part-time consultant through the transition. Pease begins a new career as Executive Director of the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy in September. Ferraro-Hauck observes, “As we have discussed the challenges of the current economic moment and the complexity of bringing together two organizations, we have also been inspired by the necessity of re-imagining artistic leadership in ways that join and celebrate the many gifts and lived experiences found in our artistic community.”

As a teacher at St Paul City School, a current board member of SteppingStone Theatre, and a subscriber and donor to Park Square Theatre, Pondie Taylor agrees. “I think the energy of SteppingStone and Park Square Theatre truly complement each other well. Thanks to their theater classes, SteppingStone has given my children the tools and confidence to be on stage. Park Square Theatre has invited my students to watch the magic of a novel come to life on stage. I bring my entire family to watch a SteppingStone play and my husband and I enjoy date night at Park Square! I think these two theaters together will continue to strengthen the art scene in the Twin Cities and the greater Midwest.”  

Artistic and Executive leadership

Mark Ferraro-Hauck
Interim Executive Director of Park Square, Artistic Executive Director of SteppingStone Theatre for Youth
Mark has a passion for providing all youth with an opportunity to grow, discover their strengths, and interact with the world around them. He has conducted teacher and parent trainings in arts-based wellness strategies for youth and led a federal study of the role of the arts in building resiliency with traumatized youth. Mark has directed and designed over 60 plays throughout the Midwest at professional and educational theatres. He was a founder and held the position of Executive Producing Director of the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota, and was also founder of Public Theater of Minnesota in 2010, a program focused on professional Shakespeare productions featuring young actors. In addition to working in the arts, Mark spent 15 years as the principal designer and co-owner of Bluestem Construction, a nationally recognized residential and commercial remodeling firm.

Kim Vasquez
Producing Director of the Park Square Mainstage, Park Square Theatre Artistic Associate
Kim Vasquez is a Saint Paul native specializing in the development of new plays and musicals as head of Gray Lady Entertainment, Inc. She is currently a producer on Be More Chill (Chicago, London, Broadway and Off-Broadway) and Austen’s Pride. Kim is a proud Founding Producer for the currently defunct New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), which survived for a glorious 15 years. Her most recent directing credit was for the New York Times bestselling Author and Poet, Rupi Kaur, in a live theatrical production of The Sun And Her Flowers at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Kim is also an Actor recently having worked on In The Heights, the movie, and Saturday Night Live. Proud member of SAG-AFTRA.

Ellen Fenster
Park SquareTheatre Artistic Associate
Ellen Fenster is a professional theater director and arts educator in Minneapolis. Ellen has directed at Pillsbury House Theatre, The Illusion Theater, Yellow Tree Theater, Theatre Mu, Artistry, Gremlin Theatre, U of MN/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program and Park Square Theater. She is an associate artist at Pillsbury House Theatre where she ran the Chicago Avenue Project from 2008 to 2016.  She is also an artistic associate at Illusion Theatre where she helps connect the theater with young and emerging artists. She is currently the Artistic and Executive Director of Twin Cities Theater Camp, a summer theater intensive for children.

Rick Shiomi
Park Square Theatre Artistic Associate
Rick Shiomi is a founding member and the Co-Artistic Director of Full Circle Theater. He has been a playwright, director and artistic director in the Asian American theater movement since the 1980s and was a co-founder of Theater Mu and Artistic Director for twenty years. His twenty plays include Mask Dance, Rosie’s Café and Yellow Fever. His directing credits include: Flower Drum Song (David Hwang version), Into The Woods, The New Mikado and Caught by Christopher Chen. He has received The McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, The Ivey Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Sally Ordway Irvine Award for Vision.

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Thrills and Chills for Every Taste!

Get the cocoa and candy ready and settle in for three nights of Halloween perfection with THEATRE OF THE MACABRE, a three-chapter online variety series presented by Park Square Theatre (Oct 29, 30 and 31, 2020). The multi-chapter event to benefit the theatre is hosted and co-directed by Twin Cities actor/director Craig Johnson, with original concept and co-direction by Kim Vasquez, the new Producing Director of the Park Square Mainstage.  Immerse yourself in three nights of horrifying tales of terror – including true ghost stories, scenes and monologues from Edgar Allan Poe to William Shakespeare.

A man holds a knife in front of a red background with two white burning candles

Craig Johnson will host the three nights of Theatre of the Macabre.

While audiences can look forward to some recurring elements, for example, each night will have a local ghost story and music, the three evenings be unique as well, with Thursday highlighting tales written and performed by women, Friday emphasizing classic literary scenes, and Saturday being an all-around Halloween Round-up! Without giving it all away, look for readings of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, music from Kander & Ebb’s Kiss of the Spider Woman and we’ll all dance to Bobby Pickett’s Monster Mash.

An impressive group of artists have contributed their talents to the event, they include: Ryan Colbert*, Ann Daly, Sarah Michelle de Joya, Emily Gunyou Halaas*, Peter Christian Hansen*, Craig Johnson, Willie Jones, Anna Leverett, Damian Leverett, Pete Mousseaux, Hope Nordquist, Mo Perry*, Tinne Rosenmeier, Laura Salveson, Ava Saunders, Ben Shaw, Mackenzie Shaw, Dane Stauffer*, Kim Vasquez, Michelle Westlund, Meghan Williams Elkins, and Zachary Zito. “It’s a delight getting to know the work of so many talented Twin Cities artists,” says Producing Director Kim Vasquez. “Each Chapter brings an array of spine-chilling stories and classic, horror, storytelling for every taste!” 

The uniquely sculptured series will be released over three nights on zoom and be available to stream on Park Square’s website from their release dates through Halloween weekend.

*member, Actors’ Equity Association

DIRECTOR BIOGRAPHIES
Craig Johnson (host and co-director) has done 52 shows at Park Square Theatre since 1979. As a locally based actor-director-writer, his work has been seen at many theaters, including Ten Thousand Things, History Theatre, The Jungle, Gremlin, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, Girl Friday Productions, Torch Theater, Theatre Latte Da, Yellow Tree Theatre, Artistry, and many more. He is the recipient of Ivey Awards for acting and directing and was named Theatre Artist of the Year by City Pages (2013) and Lavender Magazine (2011 and 2015). No stranger to spooky stories, for over twenty years Craig performed Victorian Ghost Stories at the James J. Hill House on Summit Avenue.

Kim Vasquez (original concept and co-director) is head of Gray Lady Entertainment, Inc., a theatrical producing and consulting company, specializing in the development and structuring of new works in plays and musicals in New York City and beyond. For over 25 years, GLE has been working in a commercial theatrical environment from Executive Producer to General Manager on various Off-Broadway and Broadway theatrical productions. Vasquez is currently an Artistic Associate and Lead Producing Director for Park Square Theatre’s Mainstage.

TICKET & REGISTRATION PRICES
Theatre of the Macabre: Individual Evenings $15, 3-Night Package $30
On sale at parksquaretheatre.org

The ticket offices are temporarily closed due to corona virus. Please email tickets@parksquaretheatre.org with questions.

CALENDAR INFORMATION
Theatre of the Macabre: Oct 29, 30, 31 at 7:30 pm

PHOTOS
Available at: https://parksquaretheatre.org/media/photos/
Under Theatre of the Macabre

PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. parksquaretheatre.org

 

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Fall Online Play – Tears of Moons

With on stage performances on hiatus, Park Square Theatre’s new team of Artistic Associates is springing in to action with virtual programs to keep audiences connected with friends and family and with the greater community through the autumn.

Tears of Moons

Nov 19, 20, 21 at 7:30 p.m., Nov 22 at 2:00 p.m.

A young man in a black hoodie. Next to him is an African mask.

Early in TEARS OF MOONS (Nov 19 – 22, 2020) the vast scope of the one-man play becomes apparent. My job is called different things,” says The Poet. In West Africa, its called a Griot. In Greece; Homer. On Franklin and Chicago; Crazy.” 

Antonio Dukes poetic tour-de-force travels through time-on the 5 bus – chronicling Americas ongoing epidemic of violence against Black people. Deeply personal and profoundly epic, Duke interweaves Haitian, Nigerian, and Ghanian spiritual figures and mythology to reckon with rage in the face of ceaseless bloodshed. Written and performed by Antonio Duke and directed by Ellen Fenster, the play was part of the 2018 Guthrie Emerging Artist Celebration and is being updated to conjure the present moment.

“Well trained and highly charismatic, Duke uses his craft to give this piece light and pathos.” Star Tribune, 2018.

Learn More

Buy Tickets

Announcing Theatre of the Macabre

With on stage performances on hiatus, Park Square Theatre’s new team of Artistic Associates is springing in to action with virtual programs to keep audiences connected with friends and family and with the greater community through the autumn.

Theatre of the Macabre 

October 29, 30, 31, 2020 at 7: 30 p.m

Park Square presents THEATRE OF THE MACABRE, a three night online variety series of ghoulish horror and fun-filled terror (Oct 29-31, 2020), with live and recorded performances hosted by Twin Cities actor/director Craig Johnson. Three unique nights will feature local true ghost stories by Twin City storytellers, actors and singers, and an array of monologue readings, scenes and songs that range from Edgar Allan Poe to William Shakespeare to Stephen Sondheim, along with other folkloric tales and poems.

Local performers include Tinne Rosenmeier and Dane Stauffer, with special appearances by Robert Francis Cole and Zachary Zito. The program will be co-directed by Kim Vasquez and Craig Johnson.

Learn More/Buy Tickets

Meet the RIDDLE PUZZLE PLOT Cast and Creative Team

The Riddle Puzzle Plot team is bursting with top Minnesota Talent – some you may know well and others you will be seeing for years to come!

CAST

Alessandra Bongiardina (she/her/hers) (The Ingenue) is a twin cities actor, director, and theatre maker. She graduated from the University of Minnesota/ Guthrie Theatre BFA Actor training program in 2018, and has since worn a myriad of hats including: assistant directing with Ten Thousand Things on Into the Woods, playing a Witch in Macbeth with Wayward Theatre Company, and leading a site-specific workshop of The Seagull. She’s also continuing to train in both fight choreography and intimacy direction. Had it not been cancelled due to the pandemic, you would have most recently caught her as Juliet in Park Square’s production of Romeo & Juliet. Nevertheless, she’s excited to explore the ways we can remain connected through the arts in this theatrical experiment. She wishes you love and safety in these uncertain times, and thanks you for joining us!   

Aimee K. Bryant* (The Hard-Boiled Dame with a Heart of Gold) is an actor, singer, and teaching artist who has appeared on many stages throughout the Twin Cities and across the nation since graduating from Howard University. Her Park Square credits include Nina Simone:Four Women, A Raisin in the SunThe Color Purple and Constant Star.  City Pages named Aimee Best Actress of 2015 and Aimee K. Bryant is a 2015-16 McKnight Theater Artist Fellow at the Playwright’s Center.  Her debut album Becoming is available online.

Pearce Bunting* (The Perfect Suspect) has been living and working in Minneapolis for 10 years – WHOOOOPEEEE! He’s appeared at the Open Eye, Children’s Theatre, Latte Da, Ten Thousand Things, withTheatre Novi Most, Workhaus, in many, many readings at the Playwright’s Center and with The History Theatre, most recently as LBJ in All The Way and The Great Society. In his hometown of Philadelphia, Pearce has worked with Theatre Exile, The Wilma, PTC, The Arden, People’s Light and Theatre, Big House, Philly Fringe and The Walnut St. He’s also appeared in Mamma Mia (national tour and Broadway), with the Jo Strømgen Kompani at the Oslo Opera House and as Bill McCoy in Boardwalk Empire for HBO. This is his first Jeffrey Hatcher play (and it better not be his last) and his first production with Park Square Theatre. YES!!!

Sun Mee Chomet* (The Femme Fatale) is a St. Paul-based actor, theater-deviser, and playwright. She has worked with the Lincoln Center’s LCT3, Hartford Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theater of St. Louis, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Ten Thousand Things Theater, Penumbra Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, Theater Mu, History Theatre, and many more locally and nationally. At Park Square Theatre, she played one of her favorite roles, Cornelia, in Aubergine by Julia Cho. Sun Mee is determined to help keep Twin Cities theaters afloat during this challenging time. She is grateful to theater for giving her life and helping her to find her voice over the last 25 years.

Shanan Custer (The Gimlet Eyed Cynic) is a theater maker, writer and improviser who has performed with Interact, History Theatre, Frank Theater, Theatre Pro Rata, Comedy Suitcase, The Mystery Café, Mu Performing Arts as well as directed productions at Theatre in the Round, Artistry and DalekoArts. At Park Square Theatre she appeared in Dead Man’s Cell PhoneThe LiarCalendar GirlsAubergineRomeo & Juliet and currently with the Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society. Shanan is one half of the award-winning 2 Sugars Show (with Carolyn Pool) and the final installment of their beverage-inspired trilogy Bad Things, Good Whiskey will play at Park Square when the world is able to play again.   

Singer, Actor, and Musician, Rodolfo Nieto* (The Gigolo) is pleased to make his virtual debut with Park Square Theatre. His work in the Twin Cities and abroad focuses on American Musical Theater, Opera, and the performance of music from México and Latin America. Recent highlights include the opera Émilie, ou la Belle Esclave, performed in Paris, France with Really Spicy Opera; A Little Night MusicCandide, and All is Calm with Theater Latté Da; A New Brain with Artistry; and Dirty Business with History Theatre. Of special note is a performance at Chanhassen Dinner Theater of The 24 Hr. Musicals last year, where he and Warren Bowles had a dance-off as the last bear and the last salmon in the world. Prior to the pandemic, Rodolfo was about to open La Bohème with Theater Latté Da, which is projected to open once it is safe to do so. Learn more about his work at www.rodolfo-nieto.com

E.J. Subkoviak* (The Host) moved to the Twin Cities in 1997 and has since appeared at several theaters, but perhaps most frequently at Park Square, where, among other roles, he has played Lennie in four productions of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and fictional detective Nero Wolfe in the first two plays based on the Rex Stout mysteries ever produced (The Red Box and Might as Well Be Dead). He enjoys writing his own comedy and drama, doing film and standup on occasion, and dogs of all breeds. He hails from Madison, Wisconsin, and is a graduate of the theater arts program at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

CREATIVE TEAM

Jeffrey Hatcher (Playwright) is a local playwright and screenwriter, beloved for home-grown work like the musical Glensheen, with music by Chan Pohling. He wrote the stage play Compleat Female Stage Beauty, which he later adapted into a screenplay. He also co-wrote the stage adaptation of Tuesdays with Morrie with author Mitch Albom, and Three Viewings, a comedy consisting of three monologues – each of which takes place in a funeral home. He wrote the screenplay Casanova for director Lasse Hallström, as well as screenplays for The Duchess (2008); Mr Holmes (2015); and The Good Liar (2019). 

 

Warren C. Bowles (Director) is an experienced actor, director, fight choreographer, and playwright. He is very at home at Park Square having directed five shows there (A Raisin in the Sun; Visiting Mr. Green; Constant Star; I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given To Me By A Young Lady From Rwanda; Trying), and appeared in a few more (My Children! My Africa!; Of Mice and Men; To Kill a Mockingbird). He has worked at theatres including Mixed Blood Theatre, The Guthrie Theater, 10,000 Things Theater, American Players’ Theater, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, San Diego Public Theatre, and others across the country. His degrees come from the Universities of Minnesota and Notre Dame with studies at l’Université Catholique de l’Ouest. He received a 2005 McKnight Fellowship for Theater Artists and a 2016 Ivey recognition for directing.

Aaron Fiskradatz is a theatre artist and educator in the Twin Cities.  His technological expertise has come in handy in the age of stay-at-home theatre, as he works with artists across Minnesota to bring their programming onto Zoom and other digital platforms.  In addition to his work with Park Square, he has provided tech support for organizations including Springboard for the Arts, the Minnesota Theater Alliance, Frank Theatre, and Upstream Arts, where he currently serves as Program Manager.

Lizzie Streif* (stage manager) is a freelance stage manager and scenic carpenter. Most recently, she participated in Park Square Theatre’s twenty-first iteration of The Diary of Anne Frank. Other Park Square Theatre productions include The Rocky Horror Show, Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant, Agatha Christie: Rule of Thumb, and Marie and Rosetta. Other local credits include Dark and Stormy Productions’ The Norwegiansand Blackbird, Theatre Mu’s production of The Last Firefly, and Old Log Theatre’s Beehive: The ‘60s Musical, Guys and Dolls, and Life Could Be A Dream. When not working, she enjoys reading novels and biking. Lizzie is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

*Member, Actors Equity Association

 

 

 

“Plotting” out Theatre

PLOTTING OUT THEATRE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS INTERMISSION
PARK SQUARE ANNOUNCES NEW INTERACTIVE ONLINE MYSTERY

Media Contact – Connie Shaver shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

Saint Paul, Minn., June 23, 2020 – As theatres in Minnesota and around the country face an ongoing “intermission,” Park Square Theatre continues to create projects that keep audiences and artists connected. The latest is RIDDLE PUZZLE PLOT, an online interactive mystery written by acclaimed playwright Jeffrey Hatcher (SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SUICIDE CLUB; SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE ICE PALACE MURDERS), and directed by Warren C. Bowles (A RAISIN IN THE SUN; MY CHILDREN, MY AFRICA). The theatre would have been producing Hatcher’s play HOLMES AND WATSON on stage this summer, but rather than adapt an existing play that relies on stage tricks for a distanced production, this show is written expressly for the video chat medium. The story begins with an all-too-familiar premise: when a pandemic puts the kibosh on their annual summer scavenger hunt (as well as their acting gigs) a close-knit band of thespians take their game online.  But that is where the familiar ends. When someone winds up dead, the actors – and the audience – have to rush find the killer before the next life gets “disconnected.”  Full of secrets, clues and twisting plotlines the play will be a thrill for mystery lovers and theatre fans alike.

In a nod to classic mystery novels which were often serialized in magazines or newspapers, RIDDLE PUZZLE PLOT will be revealed in four episodes released weekly from July 24 –August 14. Audiences have the choice of streaming the episodes on their own schedule, or zooming in on Friday or Saturday nights for live introductions and post-play discussions (including hints to whodunit) with the cast and playwright, the episodes themselves being pre-recorded. One ticket will invite the ticketholder to all four episodes.

“Taking the summer mystery online in just a few weeks is a fun challenge,” notes Park Square’s executive director Michael-jon Pease. “We couldn’t have better partners than Jeffrey and Warren. Our core audience and new patrons around the country have been so engaged with our online productions – they keep pushing us to serve the mission in every way possible as we all endure the current health crisis.”

In May, Park Square released a Zoom-created production of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK – acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal – as well as a virtual festival of scenes from plays that will eventually be on stage. A monthly online residency with THE MYSTERIOUS OLD RADIO LISTENING SOCIETY easily transitioned from on stage to online.

The cast for RIDDLE PUZZLE PLOT includes local theatrical favorites: Aimee K. Bryant (A RAISIN IN THE SUN; NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN); Alessandra Bongiardina (ROMEO AND JULIET); Sun Mee Chomet (AUBERGINE); Pearce Bunting* (HOLMES AND WATSON); Shanan Custer (2 Sugars, Room for Cream, SOMETIMES THERE’S WINE); Rodolfo Nieto; and E.J. Subkoviak* (THE RED BOX, MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD, OF MICE AND MEN).

The production team includes Aaron Fiskradatz (Zoom Technician) and Lizzie Streif* (Stage Manager) *member, actors’ equity association

MORE ABOUT JEFFREY HATCHER:
Jeffrey Hatcher is a local playwright and screenwriter, beloved for home-grown work like the musical GLENSHEEN, with music by Chan Pohling. He wrote the stage play Compleat Female Stage Beauty, which he later adapted into a screenplay. He also co-wrote the stage adaptation of Tuesdays with Morrie with author Mitch Albom, and Three Viewings, a comedy consisting of three monologues – each of which takes place in a funeral home. He wrote the screenplay Casanova for director Lasse Hallström, as well as screenplays for The Duchess (2008); MR HOLMES (2015); and THE GOOD LIAR (2019). 

TICKET PRICES: All tickets $30.

Tickets are on sale at the www.parksquaretheatre.org.  
The ticket office is temporarily closed due to coronavirus. Please email tickets@parkquaretheatre.org with questions.

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Performances:

Friday Night Series: July 24, 31, Aug 7, 14 at 7:30 pm

Saturday Night Series: July 25, Aug 1, 8, 15 at 7:30 pm

Or streaming online through August 16.

Tickets: $30

Ticket office:  www.parksquaretheatre.org

PHOTOS available at https://parksquaretheatre.org/media/photos/

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

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Survey Results: Returning to the Theatre

Park Square misses you – its cherished audience – and is eager to gather with you in the theatre again when it is safe. To help us plan for that day, Park Square asked patrons to take a short survey to share their thoughts about returning to live theatre. The survey also asked about virtual performances – during shut down and as a possible “last minute replacement” when life prevents attending an in-person ticketed performance.

Nearly 500 patrons filled out the survey within hours of receiving it and nearly 1,300 total patrons completed the survey. Below are charts breaking down the responses to the questions we asked, and here are a few high level trends we observed:

  • The percentages didn’t change significantly over the two weeks the survey was live; the responses stayed consistent through the survey period.
  • Comments that related to health and safety precautions showed that patrons want to know that if mask wearing is required, the theatre will strictly enforce it.
  • Additionally, there were several questions about Park Square’s HVAC system (which, fortunately, does adhere to the guidelines about fresh air flow recommended by health guidelines).
  • The theatre was overwhelmed by how Park Square patrons filled the comment section with love – you miss being here with the artists you treasure and you want to make sure Park Square stays strong.

While Governor Walz has “turned up the dial” to allow live entertainment venues in Minnesota to open at 25% capacity, filling only 84 seats isn’t economically viable for Park Square. In addition, we are still working with unions and health professionals on the best ways to protect the health and safety of Park Square artists and backstage crews.

Thank you for letting us know how you are feeling at this moment about a return to live indoor theatre. You mean the world to this theatre and while you are terribly missed, we understand that you can only return when you feel it’s right for you.

You are an important part of Park Square’s ongoing process of evaluating when it will be right to return to the stage. Until then – we’ll see you online and outdoors.

Park Square Theatre Audience Survey Results: Returning the Theatre

#1. Once CDC guidelines allow for indoor gatherings of 100-300 people, when do you think you might personally feel comfortable returning to live theatre?

#2. How likely are you to attend live theatre if wearing a mask is required of all patrons and staff (and assuming all other CDC recommended heath and safety protocols are in place at the theatre)? (1 = Not Likely, 5 = Very Likely)

#3. How likely are you to take advantage of online programming for the rest of this year, regardless of live theatre resuming? (1 = Not Likely, 5 = Very Likely)

#4. If you do take advantage of online theatre events this Summer and Fall, what is your preferred day of the week to attend? (You can select more than one)

#5. Once live theatre re-opens, how likely do you think you would be to make use of a virtual performance or recording as a replacement for seeing a show if you had to miss a limited-engagement performance due to weather, illness, change of your personal schedule, etc.?

Survey conducted through surveymonkey.org and distributed through Park Square Theatre’s email and social media channels.
Survey Originated June 11, 2020.
Total Responses as of June 26, 2020: 1277
For more information regarding the survey results, contact Rachel Wandrei, Marketing Director, at wandrei@parksquaretheatre.org.

Centering Black Theatres – A Response to the Murder of George Floyd

Centering Black Theatres - A Response to the Murder of George Floyd

Dear Friends,

The last week has been a watershed moment for our beloved Twin Cities. With you, we mourn the murder of George Floyd – a man whose voice was taken from him, whose story was cruelly cut short. With you, we grieve for the waves of fear and hatred that have flooded our streets. With you, we witness and celebrate the worldwide uprising of support for Black lives and the outpouring of local support for the communities and neighborhoods that have been devastated.

We also acknowledge the systems that over centuries of pain have worked to keep Black people voiceless, to devalue their stories. 

You rely on Park Square for story, and you have always encouraged us to lift up a multiplicity of voices on our stages. But Park Square can and should do more. In addition to revisiting our Statement of Justice and Equity, we are exploring programs and initiatives to help change hearts and minds in order to bend the arc towards justice in our community.

You have been inspired by many of this community’s leading Black artistic voices and the stories they have shared on Park Square’s stages over the decades. Today, it is time to center the spotlight on the Black-led theater companies and the artists behind them – the root of the Black experience and homes of artists we all love.

In memory of George Floyd’s story, and in light of the forced “intermission” that all theatre companies are enduring, please make a donation to support one or more of these theatre companies to keep their voices strong.

Please follow them online and visit them when their curtains rise again.

#BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorge

Penumbra Theatre creates professional productions that are artistically excellent, thought provoking, and relevant and illuminates the human condition through the prism of the African American experience.

New Dawn Theatre draws brilliance out of shadows by illuminating & supporting cutting edge works of overlooked, under-represented communities of our theatrical landscape through innovative, exciting & excellent theater productions.

Pillsbury House Theatre’s mission is to create challenging theatre that inspires enduring change towards a just society. Through the Mainstage season and other community engagement programs, Pillsbury House Theatre (PHT) illuminates the differences that make each person unique and the similarities that bring people together, within an artistic environment that promotes understanding and leads to positive action.

The Black Ensemble Players seeks to empower Black artists and black communities by fostering Black representation in the theatre.
Donate via PayPal to TheBlackEnsemblePlayers@gmail.com
***
Please Note: This is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of all Twin Cities Black theatre companies. 

Tickets

To ensure the health and safety of Park Square patrons and staff, the ticket office is temporarily closed for in-person and phone service.

Please email tickets@parksquaretheatre.org, or buy online anytime.

If you leave a message at 651.291.7005, please leave an email address where you can be reached.

Thanks, and stay well!

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