News

OF EQUALITY World Premiere Nov 19-21

Katha Dance Theatre Announces World Premiere of New Cross-Cultural Collaboration with J.D. Steele

At left, photo of several women dancing in classical Indian gowns. At right, a photo of J.D. Steele.

At left, KDT performers onstage. At right, J.D. Steele. Photo credits L to R: Ashwin Chopra, John Wagner.

Crystal, MN – Katha Dance Theatre (KDT) has announced the world premiere of Shaamya – Of Equality, their latest collaboration with composer J.D. Steele. The event will take place at the Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, MN on November 19 – 21, 2021. It is choreographed by Rita Mustaphi, KDT’s Artistic Director, and features original poetic contributions from artist and playwright Ifrah Mansour.

Inspired by the poetry of writer and activist Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976), Of Equality attempts to draw parallels between the experiences of today’s communities of color and those expressed by Nazrul Islam back in the early 20th century. Using a mixture of dance, music, and spoken word poetry, it juxtaposes past and present fights for racial, cultural and gender equity.

Through his writing and activism, Nazrul Islam shared his anger about and attempted to find solutions to various forms of oppression. By enacting his ideas decades after his death, Of Equality demonstrates that this great writer’s work is relevant to today’s artistic and political climates, transcending time and place.

Picture of Rita Mustaphi. She is wearing a green and gold gown and has her hands extended to the sides.

Rita Mustaphi. Photo courtesy of the artist.

With her choreography, Rita Mustaphi aims to seamlessly blend the various cultural and thematic ideas at play into a cohesive dance piece incorporating traditional Kathak idioms. Of Equality is just one in a long line of original works choreographed by Rita over the course of KDT’s three-decade history. Her work’s quality speaks for itself, having won her three McKnight Fellowships for choreography, a 2011 Lifetime Achievement award from the India Association of Minnesota, a 2012 Education award from the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, and a 2021 Nari Shakti Award for Women’s Empowerment from the Urvashi Dance, Music, Art and Culture Society in New Delhi.

Equality will be set to a live rendition of original compositions by Twin Cities musical legend J.D. Steele, with whom KDT previously collaborated back in 2013 on the critically acclaimed Karna – The Abandoned Hero. Steele, an accomplished musician who has performed with Prince, Mavis Staples, and others, will be accompanied by pianist Billy Steele, drum artist Abhinav Sharma, and vocalist Tonia Hughes. Steele’s compositions include elements of North Indian, East African and African American musical styles. They were also inspired by taals, which are rhythm cycles used in North Indian classical music and dance. His intent as composer is for all of these elements to unify in support of the dancers’ performance.

Ifrah Mansour

Ifrah Mansour. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Equality will also include written contributions by Somali poet and playwright Ifrah Mansour, who will perform original works (including the poem “I am a Refugee”) onstage alongside Mustaphi and Steele. Mansour is perhaps best known for her autobiographical play How to Have Fun in a Civil War, which details her memories of her childhood in war-torn Somalia.

Contributions from dancers of multiethnic backgrounds will fill out the show, including ballet, flamenco, tap, and hip-hop. Incorporating cross-cultural artistic and narrative elements within a classical Indian dance performance is in keeping with Rita Mustaphi’s mission to expand upon the Kathak tradition while preserving its authenticity and cultural integrity.

The premiere comes following a 2020 work-in-progress showing at Minneapolis’s Southern Theater. For more information about this production and other KDT programming, please visit https://kathadance.org.

Shaamya – Of Equality. November 19 – 21, $16-35, 80 minutes, Park Square Theatre, Historic Hamm Building, 20 W. Seventh Place, St. Paul, 55102.

Tickets are available now at https://parksquaretheatre.org/box-office/shows/2021-2022/shaamya-of-equality/

Read about the Park Square’s health and safety policies before you attend.

About Katha Dance Theatre

Katha Dance Theatre (KDT) creates, performs and educates through the art forms of dance, music, poetry and storytelling. Rooted in Kathak, the classical dance style of Northern India, KDT is dedicated to making dance accessible, inclusive and relevant. It enhances the local community by bridging diverse cultures and audiences to contribute to life’s infinite artistic expressions. Learn more at https://kathadance.org

About Kathak Dance

Kathak (pronounced “Kah-tahk”) is an Indian classical dance tradition native to North India. Its origins can be traced back to as early as 400 BCE, when it began as a form of sharing stories, myths, and Hindu scripture in temples and royal courts. Characterized by both rhythmic and lyrical elements, it features graceful hand gestures, pirouettes, and complex footwork, performed with expressiveness and precision. Over the centuries, it has grown to incorporate diverse influences and viewpoints with KDT at the forefront of its artistic evolution.

About Kazi Nazrul Islam

Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976) was a Bengali writer, musician and activist whose advocacy for India’s economic and social independence from Britain made him widely known as “the rebel poet.” He was also prolific, having written thousands of poems and songs during his lifetime. Once named the national poet of Bangladesh, he is remembered for his staunch opposition against social and cultural oppression in all forms.

National Endowment for the Arts graphic logo - black & white with shooting star graphic and textThis project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov. It is also supported by a grant from St. Paul’s Cultural STAR program.

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 (May 11 – Jun 5, 2022) 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

COVID-19 Health and Safety Information

Updated 8/30/21

Connect and Celebrate

Reopening Plans for Park Square Theatre and SteppingStone Theatre for youth

Park Square Theatre and SteppingStone Theatre for Youth are delighted to begin welcoming audiences, artists, and guest organizations back to the theatre for limited engagements this fall, and for full on-stage performances in the winter of 2021.

Our two theatres are prioritizing health and safety in our reopening plans, looking to the latest public safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health, as well as local requirements from the City of Saint Paul.  We are also observing the safety requirements put forth by the artist unions to ensure the safety of our artists, actors and musicians. 

Below are the steps we are taking to ensure we reopen in the safest way possible.

Vaccination policy

COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results are required to attend performances.

In light of the highly transmissible Delta variant and increasing case numbers in Minnesota, Park Square and SteppingStone theatre require that everyone 13 or older present proof of either full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to attending an indoor performance or event. Proof of vaccination or a negative test result must be shown when entering the theater. Children under age 13 will only be required to wear a mask.

  • Being fully vaccinated means completing your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before the performance date. Proof of vaccination includes bringing a physical card or showing a digital photo of your vaccination card.  
  • Proof of a negative test result includes bringing a printed or digital copy of your test results.

In addition to audiences, the theatres are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for artists, theater staff, and volunteers.

Mask policy

All patrons, staff and volunteers will be required to wear masks inside the venue except while eating or drinking. This follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent recommendation that everyone should wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. Masks must cover the nose and mouth. Masks with a valve, gaiters, scarves, etc. are not permitted.

Classes and camps

Young artists participating in theatre classes and camps are not required to show vaccination status or negative test results. Camps will follow the successful covid-safety policies developed for SteppingStone camps during the spring and summer of 2021. Should vaccines be made available for youth under 12, this policy will be updated to require vaccination. All adults ages 18 and older must show proof of vaccination per the guidelines above.

School Field trips

Young people attending daytime matinees (school groups, homeschoolers, day camp groups, etc.) are not required to show vaccination status or test results. All teachers, chaperones, and adults ages 18 and older will be required to present either proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to attending a field trip performance. All staff and patrons ages 2 and older will be required to wear masks inside the building.

If your school or classroom has an outbreak we ask that you notify us before your field trip so we can reschedule your trip. Please email education@parksquaretheatre.org to notify us and reschedule your trip.

Air quality

Park Square’s air system brings in fresh air from the outside to help limit the spread of airborne viruses like COVID-19. In addition, several updates have been made to further improve air safety inside the theatre:

  • The outside air handling system for all of the Park Square Theatre spaces was replaced in 2020 to improve outside air intake, mix, and filtration. Four separate air handling units maximize the intake of fresh air and independently control the air supply to each theatre and the backstage and lobby areas. This system is automated to maintain temperature, humidity and duct static pressure based on demand and scheduling.  
  • Upgrades to the Boss Theatre air exchange system have been recently completed and have improved the air exchange and refresh rate.

Capacity limits and Physical distancing 

At this time, no changes have been made to our audience capacity except at the request of partnering organizations. The Proscenium Stage seats 350 people and the Boss Stage seats 200 people. Shows through December of 2021 will be general admission seating. While there are currently no state or city indoor venue capacity restrictions in place, we will be monitoring information regarding capacity and will adhere to guidelines if they are updated.

Physical distancing will be encouraged in the lobbies, hallways, restrooms, and other areas.

Cleaning and sanitizing

In addition to the robust cleaning practices that were already in place, we have:

  • Added a complete space sanitization protocol after each performance
  • Increased the frequency of cleaning throughout the building for high-touch areas in the front of house and back of house areas throughout the building
  • Set up hand-sanitizing stations throughout the venue
  • Trained all employees in critical hand washing and cleaning guidelines

Guest responsibility

We ask that guests stay home if they are sick or exposed to COVID-19. Please contact the box office to transfer your tickets to another performance, donate your tickets, or request a refund. Contact the ticket office at tickets@parksquaretheatre.org.

Resources for scheduling your vaccination or COVID-19 test

We will continue to update this page as we gather new information and will share pertinent updates through email and social media. Please check back as the details and requirements for reopening are subject to change as we work through this uncertain yet exciting time.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to having you engage with Park Square and SteppingStone.

Run Wild with Madagascar-A Musical Adventure Jr.

Two young people, one is wearing zebra ears and the other a lion's mane.

Media Contact – Rachel Wandrei wandrei@parksquaretheatre.org

Saint Paul, Minn., July 1, 2021 – SteppingStone Theatre for Youth invites explorers of all ages to come along on a transatlantic musical escapade with DreamWorks Madagascar – A Musical Adventure JR. Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture, the show follows an energetic group of crack-a-lackin’ friends as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to Africa. The show will be performed by SteppingStone’s summer camp students outdoors on West 7th Place, July 27 – August 8 (photo link below).

DreamWorks Madagascar – A Musical Adventure JR. features original music and lyrics by George Noriega and Joel Someillan and a book by Kevin Del Aguila.  As the show opens, we learn that Marty the zebra may be celebrating his tenth birthday at the Central Park Zoo with his friends Alex the lion, Gloria the hippo, and Melman the giraffe, yet he longs to experience life outside of the zoo’s walls. When Marty eventually escapes, his animal friends from the zoo pursue him into New York City. After reuniting, the animals are chased down, and ultimately felled by tranquilizer darts. They awake, trapped in crates, on a ship, which – through a series of events – is thrown off course.  Upon reaching land the animals discover they have been shipwrecked on the island of Madagascar.  Ultimately, it is only in being so lost that they can begin to discover where they really belong.

“As the world unmasks and ventures back out into gathering, it is an honor to be a part of a summer of renewal and re-emergence,” says the show’s director, Dane Stauffer. “How fitting to share this tale of the desire for freedom, and the redemptive power of friendship and connection. I’m looking forward to being inspired by these young artists as we bring the tale to life. I love summer theatre camp, the happy hours spent in rehearsal learning the joy of collaboration and working hard to realize a vision. Plus, “I like to move it, move it!”

“It is really special for young audiences to see performers their own age or a little older on stage. It opens up the imagination in a whole new way,” says Mark Ferraro-Hauck, SteppingStone’s Artistic and Executive Director. “At SteppingStone, we believe that all young people are artists, makers, and doers and that they need to belong and contribute to the world. The themes of this show – friendship, teamwork, adventure and forgiveness – really resonate with that vision, particularly as young people are readjusting to a post-pandemic world full of the interactions that we’ve all been missing. We can’t wait for audiences to come and engage with these fantastic young artists and have some great outdoor fun this summer.”

CAST 
The cast includes Max Perdu (Alex), Mary Slowinski (Marty), Rue Burdette (Gloria), Mady Sjoberg (Melman), Ebrima Sarge (King Julien), Adeline Halverson(Private), Juan Fiz-Torezani (Kowalski), Lauren Hyatt (Rico), Zack Nelson (Skipper), and ensemble members Keira Deiman, Za’im Dennis, Natalia Jorgensen, Annika Lewis, Grace Lilla, Spencer Lilla, Soren Miller, Ella Myhre, Kai Stolpestad, Sadie Wallace, and Mara Wells.

ARTISTIC TEAM 
The artistic team includes Dane Stauffer (Director), Andrew Fleser (Music Director), Ricky Morisseau (Choreographer), Mark Ferraro-Hauck (Set Design), Rhiannon Fiskradatz (Costume Design), Charlotte Deranek (Sound Design) Alexi Carlson (Stage Manager), Johanna Johnson (Assistant Stage Manager), and Connor McEvoy (Production Manager)

TICKET INFO: Tickets are $12 child/student/seniors, $16 adults.
Group discounts available starting with groups of 10+.
Purchase at steppingstonetheatre.org or email boxoffice@steppingstonetheatre.org.

LOCATION: Outside Park Square Theatre at 20 West 7th Place, St. Paul, MN 551042

DATES 
Tuesday, July 27: 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM
Wednesday, July 28: 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM
Thursday, July 29: 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM
Friday, July 30: 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM
Saturday, July 31: Noon & 4:00 PM
Sunday, August 1:  Noon & 4:00 PM
Saturday, August 7: 10:00 AM & 2:00 PM
Sunday, August 8: 10:00 AM & 2:00 PM

SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Great fun for anyone 3 +

PHOTO LINK: Press Photos available at https://www.steppingstonetheatre.org/series/madagascar/
From left: Mary Slowinski as Marty the Zebra, Max Perdu as Alex the Lion. Photos by Rachel Wandrei.

ABOUT STEPPINGSTONE THEATRE 
We Believe: Young People are artists, makers, and doers. They need to belong and contribute to the world. When young people make art together, they change themselves, and the world around them, for the better.

We Do: SteppingStone Theatre for Youth ignites belonging, generosity, mastery, self-advocacy, and inspiration by creating art with young people to share with the world.

STEPPINGSTONE THEATRE FOR YOUTH. 20 W. 7th Place, Saint Paul. steppingstonetheatre.org  

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113 composers collective: Twin Cities New Music Festival

113 Composers Collective

Park Square Theatre is honored to be home to the 2021 Twin Cities New Music Festival,
presented by 113 composers collective.

For the full calendar of events and to purchase tickets, visit

113collective.com

This year’s Twin Cities New Music Festival aspires to change the concert music narrative by presenting live performative works that redefine the concert experience–blurring the boundaries between theater, visual media, gesture, and movement. Featuring portrait concerts of work by Steven Takasugi, Bethany Younge, Anthony R. Green, and Joe Horton.

Festival Program

Thursday, July 8

  • 7:00 pm in the Thrust Rehearsal Hall- “Zwei Acte” by Mauricio Kagel. Also featuring work by Alfred Jimenez and Dieter Schnebel. Warning: Nudity. Viewer Discretion is Advised. Children Not Permitted.
  • 8:00 pm at Studio Z – Bethany Younge Portrait Screening
  • 9:00 pm in the Thrust Rehearsal Hall- Joe Horton Portrait featuring the dream songs project
    (after-party to follow)

Friday, July 9

  • 7:00 pm on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage- Chamber Music featuring andPlay Duo, the dream songs project, T. J. Borden, Benjamin Downs, and Kyle Hutchins
  • 8:00 pm at Studio Z – Bethany Younge Portrait Screening
  • 9:00 pm in the Thrust Rehearsal Hall- Anthony R. Green Portrait.  Live ensemble in connective dialogue with an audience-generated sound installation, where the audience amplifies the voice of composer/performer Anthony R. Green

Saturday, July 10

  • 4:00 pm at Studio Z – Bethany Younge Portrait Screening
  • 7:00 pm on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage- Steven Takasugi Portrait featuring conductor Perry So
  • 9:00 pm on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage- Steven Takasugi’s “Sideshow”

Also join 113 composers collective for nightly viewings of sound art installation work by Benjamin J. Mansavage Klein in the Park Square Theater Boss Thrust Stage Lobby, and screenings of sound art films by Steven Takasugi, Anthony R. Green, Bethany Younge, Joe Horton, Elizabeth A. Baker, and the composers of 113 on Thursday and Friday night from 6:30-10:30 pm, and Saturday from 4-8 pm at Studio Z.

TICKETS:
Adults: $10 per event | Students and Seniors: $5 per event | Children: FREE
Festival Pass: $50
Purchase tickets at http://www.113collective.com/events

Note: Children will not be permitted to attend “Zwei Acte” by Mauricio Kagel.

Announcing Saint Paul Summer Sunlight

SAINT PAUL SUMMER SUNLIGHT PERFORMANCE SERIES WELCOMES WORKERS AND AUDIENCES BACK TO DOWNTOWN 

Media Contact – Rachel Wandrei wandrei@parksquaretheatre.org 

Saint Paul, Minn., June 22, 2021 – Park Square Theatre and the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance are celebrating the reopening of downtown Saint Paul with a free outdoor concert series aimed at welcoming returning workers, residents, theatre fans and music lovers back to the city’s cultural scene. SAINT PAUL SUMMER SUNLIGHT, a series of ten performances, will fill West 7th Place (the pedestrian mall between Wabasha and St Peter) with lunchtime and happy hour concerts from July 22 through September 23, 2021. 

An man in shiny red pants dancing and singing into a microphone.

Ready Freddie

“We have a varied and energetic lineup of concerts, from the glam rock-and-roll of Ready Freddie – A Queen Experience and the powerful R&B vocals of MsArnise, to Full Circle Theater Company’s recontextualization of The Mikado, a Gilbert and Sullivan opera classic,” says Park Square producer Kim Vasquez. “The Twin Cities has an array of eclectic, talented theatre makers and musicians who are ready to get back on stage, and audiences who are ready to come out and party a little. Our new team at Park Square Theatre and SteppingStone Theatre wants to play a collaborative leadership role in reconnecting community members and artists and adding to the vibrancy of downtown together.” Other acts in the series include Annie and the Bang Bang, The Champagne Drops, TaikoArts Midwest, an old-time radio show by the Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society and more (photo link below).  

A woman in red bluse and white blazer calmly looks into the distance. An industrial scene in the background

MsArnise

“As people return to downtown, we’ll be there to welcome them back and remind them of all the joy and excitement there is to be had in a vibrant urban center,” says Joe Spencer, president of the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance. “From our restaurants and shops to our music and theatre venues, our city is poised to bounce back better than ever.” Music will continue into the evenings with acoustic sets on the Loon Cafe’s patio on Thursday evenings throughout the summer.  

Park Square will be announcing their full reopening plans later in the summer, with a commitment to gradually producing shows that were canceled due to the pandemic (including a remount of the 2018 sold-out hit, MARIE AND ROSETTA), as well as sharing the Historic Hamm Building facility with other arts organizations. “The theatre may have been dark for over a year, but we’ve been busy behind the scenes and

Three drummers in blue tunics with drumsticks in the air surround three drumbs

TaikoArts Midwest

can’t wait to reconnect with people,” comments Mark Ferraro-Hauck, interim executive director of Park Square and artistic director of their partner theatre, SteppingStone Theatre for Youth. SteppingStone will be producing MADAGASCAR – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE JR, on West 7th Place from July 27- August 8. “Summer on the plaza is gonna be hoppin!” continues Ferraro-Hauck. “There will be an entertaining show for you here whether you are 3, 33, or 83. And then we’ll bring that energy inside and into the future. Join us!” 

TICKET PRICES: Free and open to the public. Limited chairs will be available, audiences are invited to bring their own chairs. Email tickets@parksquaretheatre.org with questions. 

CALENDAR INFORMATION*:

The Champagne Drops

The Champagne Drops

Thurs Jul 22, 12:00 pm – Full Circle Theater Company 
Thurs Aug 5, 4:30 pm – Ready Freddie: A Queen Experience
Thurs Aug 12, 12:00 pm – Legacy Arts Group
Thurs Aug 12, 4:30 pm – The Champagne Drops
Thurs Aug 19, 4:30 pm – MsArnise
Wed Aug 25, 4:30 pm – Victor Zupanc
Thurs Aug 26, 12:00 pm – TaikoArts Midwest

Thurs Sep 9, 4:30 pm – Annie and the Bang Bang
Fri Sep 10, 12:00 pm – Ben Cook-Feltz
Thurs Sep 23, 4:30 pm – The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society 
*All performances subject to change. For continuous updates, visit parksquaretheatre.org. 

PHOTO LINK: Press Photos available at:
https://parksquaretheatre.org/media/photos/#1603933207367-806db2dd-4e8f 

Man in black fedora playing a red electric keyboard, a man at his side plays upright base.

Ben Cook-Feltz

SAINT PAUL SUMMER SUNLIGHT is sponsored by the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance, as part of its #WelcomeBackStPL campaign to safely celebrate reopening and welcome people back downtown. From outdoor trivia and art installations to pop-up events and concerts, the Downtown Alliance is partnering with downtown institutions, businesses, artists, and musicians to host more than 300 events and activations through the fall. Follow the Downtown Alliance on Facebook and Instagram or check out the hashtag #WelcomeBackStPL for updates. For the full calendar of events, visit WelcomeBackStPL.com. 

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

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Virtual Radio Shows Saw Us Through

The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society (MORLS) had just begun their monthly residency with Park Square Theatre when the pandemic hit Minnesota. After three sold-out live performances, their final one on March 9, the group pivoted with lightning speed to entertain virtually for over a year.

From April 2020 through June 2021, the group produced 14 different shows including stories of spirits, explorers, scientists, monsters, detectives and more. With adaptations from literary classics, original works, and even a recreation of Orson Welles’ classic A Christmas Carol, the society seized the zeitgeist of the time and brought escape and entertainment throughout our days at home. Over 2,000 tickets were sold, and an average of 140 people would gather monthly to close their eyes and listen in to the “theatre of the mind!”

As Park Square transitions back to in person programs, the MORLS will be presenting a few shows on their own this summer before returning to Park Square in October of 2021! They will also be back for an outdoor show as part of Park Square’s soon to be announced outdoor summer performance series! Stay tuned!

For more about the Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society podcast and summer shows, visit ghoulishdelights.com.

Introducing our Newest Team Member

Amy Dauplaise is the new Development Director for both Park Square and SteppingStone Theatre. She is a lifelong fundraiser and thrives on helping people and organizations succeed.

“I love helping people work with organizations to realize their passions and create opportunities for the greater community.”

Amy is responsible for building meaningful relationships with donors, developing and executing fundraising campaigns and events, collaborating with our grant-writing consultant, and directing all development activities of both theatres as a member of the senior leadership team.

“The next year will be very full and challenging as Park Square and SteppingStone Theatres continue to merge. I am so grateful to the donors that support each theatre, and I look forward to working with them to maximize the impact of their gifts. Each theatre has a unique approach to fundraising, and I am excited to leverage the best practices of each organization to best utilize the resources donors entrust to us.”

Here are a few fun facts about Amy!

  • What is your favorite musical? Into the Woods
  • What life experiences most shaped your connection to the arts? Singing in harmony with my family while my mother played piano and my father played ukulele; being mesmerized by an 8-hour performance of Nicholas Nickleby when I was in grade school; playing the role of Mary in Of Thee I Sing when I was in junior high.
  • Have you continued performing as an adult? Yes! I sang with Vocal Essence for 3 seasons. I was a founding member of “Notable Women,” an a cappella women’s quintet. I enjoy recording voiceover work and occasionally dipping my toe back into the acting pool in 10-minute play festivals.

ROOTED: Hip Hop Choreographers’ Evening – Streaming from Park Square

The Sota Movement: Rooted x UprisingThe SOTA Movement is a 3-day festival dedicated to connections, dance, and culture featuring the award-winning ROOTED: Hip Hop Choreographers’ Evening and the highly anticipated Krump battle, Uprizing.

Join in, June 11-13, 2021, as artists, creators, and supporters from Minnesota and across the country come together for this one-of-a-kind event.

Park Square Theatre is excited to be hosting the first night of the festival, ROOTED: Hip Hop Choreographers’ Evening, streaming from the Boss Stage. 

Date: June 11, 2021
Time: 6 pm & 8 pm CT
Cost: Free

Brought to you by Maia Maiden Productions & Uprizing Creators, Herb “FairWarning” Johnson III & Ololade “O” Gbadamosi-Alashe.

Learn more and register for for the link to the show at maiamaiden.com/the-sota-movement

Press Release for The Sota Movement

Applications open for 2021/2022 cohort of Youth Ambassadors

Applications open for 2021/2022 cohort of Youth Ambassadors

Key elements of Steppingstone’s Core Company and Park Square’s Teen Theatre Ambassador programs can now be found in the Youth Ambassadors. This new collaboration aims to support young people as they grow into theatre leaders through professional mentorship, shared learning experiences, and the exploration of a multiplicity of stories and viewpoints in American theatre

During the 2021-2022 school year, fifteen young people in 10-12 grades will gather regularly to watch, critique, and discuss performances, participate in workshops, and be mentored in their individual areas of interest. The program is accepting applications through May 30 with a cohort announced later in the summer.

New to Park Square, the program is Pay As You’re Able, allowing families to pay partial fees as needed, or to cover the cost for someone else. This model has been used by SteppingStone for a year with great success – increasing access to arts programs while supporting the fiscal stability of the theatre.
Youth Ambassadors: Applications Now Open

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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