News

Blue Ribbon State Fair Specials!

Blue Ribbon State Fair Specials!

Big Savings during Park Square’s GREAT STATE FAIR SALE!
It is Minnesota State Fair time, and the only things better than corn on the cob and chocolate chip cookies are Park Square’s Blue Ribbon Specials!

  • The best in live theatre presented in innovative and audacious ways.
  • Offers good Aug 22 through Labor Day only!
  • $25 Area 2 / $45 Area 1 tickets. See our new seating charts!*
  • Order online or call 651.291.7005 (Tues- Fri, 12-5 pm)

AUBERGINE
Sep 20 – Oct 20, 2019
Nothing says love like a home-cooked meal.

$25 Area 2 / $45 Area 1 tickets for one special weekend. Use code MIN

  • Friday Oct 4, 7:30pm
  • Saturday, Oct 5, 7:30pm
  • Sunday, Oct 6, 2:00pm
  • Wednesday, Oct 16, 7:30pm

BUY TICKETS to Aubergine



THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
Sep 27-Nov 2, 2019

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again!

$25 standard/$45 premium tickets on four Wednesdays. Use code MIN

  • Wednesday, Oct 9, 7:30pm
  • Wednesday, Oct 16, 7:30pm
  • Wednesday, Oct 23, 7:30pm
  • Wednesday, Oct 30, 7:30pm

BUY TICKETS to The Rocky Horror Show



PAIGE IN FULL: A B-Girl’s Visual Mixtape
Oct 25-27, 2019
A powerful storytelling experience that blends poetry, dance, music and visual arts. 
$20 tickets. All seats. One day only! Use code PIF

  • Sunday, Oct 27, 2:00pm

BUY TICKETS to Paige In Full



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Nov 15-Dec 22, 2019
Love is a serious game and the Bennets are playing for keeps!
$25 standard/$45 premium tickets during Thanksgiving Weekend. Use code MIN

  • Friday, Nov 29, 7:30pm
  • Saturday, Nov 30, 7:30pm
  • Sunday, Dec 1, 2:00pm

BUY TICKETS to Pride and Prejudice


*To make your theatre experience even better, Park Square has reorganized our seating charts into Area 1 and Area 2 price tiers.
Graphic Seating Chart for Proscenium Stage - Please phone the ticket office at 651.291.7005 for assistance with accessibility and seat selectionGraphic Seating Chart for Boss Thrust Stage - Please phone the ticket office at 651.291.7005 for assistance with accessibility and seat selection

Announcing Season Changes

To our valued Park Square Theatre Patrons,

The sets for Aubergine and The Rocky Horror Show are being built and rehearsals begin soon. We can’t wait to welcome you to the innovative, transformative and audacious new season!

We are writing to share some significant changes to the 2019-2020 season program.

  • Due to audience demand, we will be launching an encore presentation of last year’s smash hit, Marie and Rosetta on our Andy Boss Stage (June 19 to August 2, 2020). Jamecia Bennett will be reprising her powerful performance of songs including “This Train” and “Didn’t it Rain” in the intimate embrace of the Boss Stage. Talk about spine tingling!
  • In order to accommodate important script development and artist schedules, the world premiere of Un (the completely true story of the rise of Kim Jong Un) and The Revolutionists will move to Fall 2020. We have also canceled the three performances of A Raisin in the Sun.

These changes will help make each production stronger and assure a successful season ahead for all of us. It has been very rare in our history when we’ve had to invoke the “all dates, titles and artists subject to change” clause in our season listings. We know this may be an inconvenience for some and we are very truly sorry to have to change our announced plans.

For those who have tickets to or packages that include the cancelled performances, here are the options available for your tickets to the affected shows:

  • Exchange your tickets to a different production in the season – including Marie and Rosetta – at no additional charge
  • Receive a credit to your account in the amount of the purchased tickets, which can be redeemed for any future ticket purchase (including a 2020-2021 season package)
  • Donate your tickets as a tax-deductible contribution to Park Square Theatre

We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work with you to handle your season tickets. Please contact the Ticket Office at 651-291-7005, or by email at tickets@parksquaretheatre.org to let us know how you would like to proceed.

We look forward to seeing you at Park Square this season!

All our best,

Flordelino Lagundino,  Artistic Director

C. Michael-jon Pease, CFRE, Executive Director

Statement against Sexual Harassment and Abuse

We, the staff of Park Square Theatre, wish to acknowledge the pain and suffering endured by the victims of sexual abuse during the 1970s and 80s as young students at the Children’s Theatre Company. We grieve the deep damage and destruction of life that has occurred in the wake of this abuse. As a part of the larger theatre community, we are grateful to the victims for their courageous fight to be heard and to help guide us to solutions for ways true healing can begin to occur.

We see survivors of harassment, abuse and trauma as strong, whole human beings and important partners in the work to create a positive and healthy theatrical culture. We promise to listen and learn from all that has happened and we offer our hand in any way we can be of help.

We recognize that Park Square Theatre, as an institution, has not until this time spoken out against the culture of complicit silence around sexual abuse that was the industry norm for generations. That silence has allowed those in positions of power to harass and abuse artists, technicians and staff who are dependent on them for work. We also recognize that our art form itself – with its depictions of human behaviors including romantic intimacy, and physical, emotional and sexual violence –  creates situations where abuse can occur. Therefore, it is our responsibility to promote policies and procedures that protect those who work at Park Square Theatre.

We are determined to continue to learn and make changes to improve our workplace culture. For our part, we wish to submit the following measures that we at Park Square plan to take to create a healthier climate in our own organization.

  • Continue to develop and improve our code of conduct, anti-harassment policies and practices.
  • Discuss our behavior expectations and policies at job orientations, first rehearsals, and start of technical rehearsals for all productions
  • Promote a culture where those who experience or observe harassment feel safe reporting it to company leadership.
  • Hire trained intimacy directors when a play’s content calls for it.
  • Participate in ongoing conversations about sexual abuse prevention within the greater Twin Cities and national theatre community.

In addition to these internal actions, Park Square and its staff will make a financial contribution and encourage others to contribute to the Memorial for Sexual Assault Survivors at Boom Island Park.

We are determined to make our practice and our spaces safe from harassment and abuse for all of us who create and contribute to the art of theatre. We will not tolerate harassment and abuse at Park Square Theatre.

Call for Participants

CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS – TELL YOUR STORY ON STAGE!
New theatre production will explore St Paul’s Hmong story
though the voices of community members.

Face to Face: our Hmong community

Application Deadline: Tuesday, Oct 1, 2019
Performances: March 5-16, 2020
Rehearsals: Feb 8th-Mar 4, 2020

Fill out an online application form HERE
Download a printable form HERE

Translation services and assistance filling out the form is available as needed with one week notice.

Project Description

Park Square Theatre is partnering with Ping Chong + Company, and Twin Cities artist Katie Ka Vang, to present Face to Face: our Hmong community, an interview-based theatre production exploring the diverse experiences and histories of Minnesota’s Hmong population.

Ping Chong + Company is an internationally acclaimed theater company known for bringing unheard voices to the stage. Sara from Ping Chong + Company, and Katie will conduct extensive interviews with Hmong community members with Minnesota stories. The interviews become the basis of a script which will be performed by the interviewees themselves. The production will weave together personal, historical and political narratives.

The goal of Face to Face is to use theater and personal testimony to foster greater understanding among Hmong and other communities in Minnesota.We are looking for stories that reflect a wide range of Hmong experiences – interests, ages, stories and identities.

No previous performance experience required!
Those chosen to perform in the March production will receive a $1000 stipend + $200 parking stipend.

Watch this short documentary for an example of Ping Chong + Company’s previous project: Beyond Sacred
Click for more information about Ping Chong + Company

Interviews (lasting approximately 2 hours) will take place approximately between Oct 12-23. If you are chosen for an interview, we will contact you and do our best to work with your schedule.

For more information contact:
Katie Ka Vang, katieka.vang@gmail.com – or –
Rachel Wandrei, wandrei@parksquaretheatre.org. 651.767.8485

Important Dates

Oct 1, 2019 – Application Deadline

Oct 12-23. Interviews with applicants

Feb 8th-Mar 4, 2020. Rehearsals (evenings and weekends, 3-4 days/week, 3-4 hours/day. Schedule will be developed based on availability of participants)

March 5-15 Performances:

  • Thurs, Mar 5, 10 or 10:30 am
  • Thurs, Mar 5, 7:30 pm
  • Fri, Mar 6, 7:30 pm
  • Sat, Mar 7, 7:30 pm
  • Sun, Mar 8, 2:00 pm
  • Tues, Mar 10, 10 or 10:30 am
  • Wed, Mar 11, 10 or 10:30 am
  • Thurs, Mar 12, 10 or 10:30 am
  • Thurs, Mar 12, 7:30 pm
  • Fri, Mar 13, 7:30 pm
  • Sat, Mar 14, 7:30 pm
  • Sun, Mar 15, 2:00 pm

Requirements

Participants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Identify as Hmong.
  • Be comfortable speaking and reading in English, as well as their first language, if English is not their first language.
  • Be willing to talk openly about their lives, family, culture and customs, and share their thoughts in a public forum.
  • Be willing to talk openly about cultural differences and identity issues, and make observations about the culture and communities in which they currently live.
  • Be willing to allow others to express contrary opinions or political views.
  • Be available for an initial interview lasting approximately 2 hours between the dates of Oct 12-23, 2019
  • Selected participants must be available for 1-2 additional interviews lasting approximately 2 hours each, plus some hours of research, possibly about their family or the history and culture of their place of origin.
  • Be available for 3-4 weeks of evening and weekend rehearsals (about 3-4 days/week, 3-4 hours/day) in the period leading up to production (3-4 weeks leading up to March 5th, 2020, the show premiere date). Please note that you will be compensated for your time.
  • Be available for all technical rehearsals and performances.

PLEASE NOTE: This project does not require that participants have previous performance, dance, or singing experience, but they must be willing to share their personal experiences on stage and in public. No memorization is involved in the performance.  The script will be read on stage in English except for a potential song or poem in one’s own language.

Not all people interviewed will be selected to participate in the final project. For those who are selected, not every experience shared in the interview process will be included in the final production.

Application Deadline Tuesday, Oct 1, 2019

Fill out an online application form HERE
Download a printable form HERE

Let’s do the Time Warp Again!

Let's do the Time Warp Again!

PARK SQUARE DOES THE TIME WARP WITH ROCKY HORROR MUSICAL
Naughty Fun in the Era of Trans Rights and #MeToo

Media Contact – Connie Shaver
shaver@parksquaretheatre.org 

Saint Paul, Minn., August 5, 2019 – Park Square Theatre opens its Proscenium Stage Season with the Tony Award-nominated campy rock musical THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW by Richard O’Brien (Sept 27 – Nov 2, 2019), directed by Ilana Ransom Toeplitz. “I really want to rock the house and upend the way that people think of Park Square,” says Flordelino Lagundino, Park Square’s Artistic Director. “This is a great show to bring the generations together – those that stood in line as teenagers to see the original movie in 1975 (coincidentally the year Park Square opened), and young people experiencing it for their first time. I want the walls to shake and for people to get up, dance, laugh and have a good time!”

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW will be Toeplitz’s Park Square and Twin Cities directing debut. She has served as associate director for the national tours of DIRTY DANCING: THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE and A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL!, as well as being a Drama League Director’s Project Alum (2017 Leo Shull New Musicals Directing Fellow). “The whole night should feel like a party that’s been locked up in a time machine for years, begging to come out and play,” says Toeplitz. “It all culminates in Frank-N-Furter’s epic floor show, which has all the glitz of a David Bowie concert combined with all of the glam of an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Audience participation is encouraged.”

In the campy, audaciously sexy story, naïve sweethearts Brad and Janet get a flat tire during a storm and seek shelter at the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a “sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania.” As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters. Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest scientific creation: a muscular man named “Rocky.”

What started as a stage musical in 1973 became a cult classic film starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Meat Loaf in 1975. Most recently, Fox remade the classic for the small screen starring black transgender activist Laverne Cox in the role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (played by Tim Curry in the original).

Photo of an androgynous actor in black corset, gloves, and fishnet tights.

Gracie Anderson as Frank. Photo by Richard Fleischman.

The cast includes local favorites Gracie Anderson (Dr. Frank-N-Furter), Marcela Michelle (Narrator), Natalie Shaw (Janet), Ben Lohrberg (Brad), Randy Schmeling* (Riff Raff), Celena Vera Morgan (Columbia), Hope Nordquist (Magenta), Rush Benson* (Rocky), Cameron Reeves (Eddie), and Sara Ochs (Dr. Scott).

The Production team includes: Ashawnti Sakina Ford (Assistant Director Fellow), Andrew Fleser (Music Director), An-Lin Dauber (Set Designer), Peter Morrow (Sound Designer), Andrew Griffin (Light Designer), Foster Johns (Vocal Coach), Mary Capers (Assistant Wigs Design Fellow). *Member, Actors Equity Association

Ticket prices: Previews: $25-$37. Regular Run: $25-$55. Discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square Ticket Office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.   #PSTRocky

SEASON TICKETS are on sale now.  Subscription package prices begin at $66.

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Previews: Sep 27 – Oct 3, 2019
Opening Night: Oct 4, 2019
Regular Run: Oct 4 – Nov 2, 2019

Tickets: Previews: $20-$37; Regular Run: $25-$55
The Ticket Office is open from noon to 5:00 pm Tuesday through Friday. Call 651.291.7005.

PHOTOS by Richard Fleischman parksquaretheatre.org/media/photos/

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

2019-2020 Season opens with AUBERGINE

Park Square Theatre opens its 2019-2020 Theatre Season with the area premiere of Aubergine by Julia Cho — a poignant and lyrical new play

Saint Paul, Minn., July 29, 2019 – Park Square Theatre opens its 2019-2020 Theatre Season on the Andy Boss Trust Stage with the area premiere of Aubergine (SEPT 20 – OCT 20, 2019) by Julia Cho, author of The Language Archive. Aubergine will be directed by Park Square’s Artistic Director Flordelino Lagundino – his Park Square directing debut.

In this poignant and lyrical new play, a son cooks a meal for his dying father to say everything that words can’t. Since this first generation Korean American speaks English and only limited Korean, the making of a perfect meal is an expression more precise than language, and the medium through which his love gradually reveals itself.

“This was one of the most beautiful plays I have ever read,” says Flordelino. “When I encountered it for the first time, I felt it was the best play I had read by an Asian American author in the last ten years. The writing feels so personal. It is a humorous and sensitive play about memories, food, and a relationship fractured by the loss of native language and the distance created between families because of war and the resulting Korean diaspora.”

“This play is also personal to me and plays out in my own history” Flordelino continues. “My father is Filipino, I am Filipino-American. I don’t speak his dialect, Ilocano. This is something that immigrants from any country feel.  I also think it’s a fascinating exploration of men as caregivers since Ray’s father in the play is in hospice care. The personal aspects hit home.”

The cast includes, Sun Mee Chomet*, Shanan Custer, Song Kim, Glenn Kubota, Kurt Kwan*, and Darrick Mosley*.

The Production team includes: Lindsey Cacich Samples (Assistant Director Fellow), Deb O (Set Designer), Amber Brown (Costume Design), Matt Otto (Sound Designer), Karin Olson (Light Designer), Kenji Shoemaker (Properties Designer), Kathy Maxwell (Video Designer), Annie Enneking (Fitght Choreographer), Ruth Coughlin Lencowski (Vocal Coach), Akiem Scott (Assistant Sound Design Fellow), Maxwell Colliard (Assistant Video Design Fellow).

*Member, Actors Equity Association

Picture of a man in a chef jacket surrounded by vines and eggplants. Heading says "Nothing says love like a home-cooked meal."

Ticket prices: Previews: $20-$37. Regular Run: $25-$55. Discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square Ticket Office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.   #PSTAubergine

TICKETS are on sale now.  Subscription package prices begin at $66.

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Previews: Sep 20 – Sep 26, 2019

Opening Night: Sep 27, 2019

Regular Run: Sep 27 – Oct 20, 2019

Tickets: Previews: $20-$37; Regular Run: $25-$55

Ticket office: 651.291.7005 or www.parksquaretheatre.org

The Ticket Office is open from noon to 5:00 pm Tuesday through Friday. Call 651.291.7005.

 

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

 

Park Square’s Love Affair with Mystery

Park Square’s Love Affair with Mystery – From Dial M For Murder to Rule of Thumb

Hercule Poirot, the well-known Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie, made his debut on the Park Square Theatre Proscenium Stage on July 19th along with a cast of intriguing (and often, wonderfully despicable) characters.  Agatha Christie: Rule of Thumb, by the much loved mystery writer unfolds in three intricate one-acts and runs through August 25!

E.J. Subkoviak, Michael Paul Levin and Derek Dirlam in Might as Well Be Dead: A Nero Wolfe Mystery, 2017.

Park Square has a long history of producing theatre from the diverse mystery canon, including Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Might as Well Be Dead: A Nero Wolfe Mystery, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, among others. Many of these plays were championed by our Mystery Writers Producers Club (MWPC), a devoted community of mystery genre lovers who help support our mystery show each season.

We reached out to Executive Director C. Michael-Jon Pease to talk about Park Square’s legacy of producing mystery plays and why our audiences love them.

What was the first mystery play ever produced at Park Square?

Picture of a newspaper article.

Review of Dial M for Murder, 1975.

Michael-Jon: Park Square produced its first mystery in its first season (Dial M For Murder, 1975), but didn’t produce one again until 1993 with Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. Park Square rented the Historic Hamm Building Theatre (now our current Proscenium stage) for the first time for that production to test out the location with a “Summer on Seventh” promotion in partnership with the Ordway, the City’s Cultural STAR program and (this really dates you!), Dayton’s River Room Restaurant. The show was a hit and was extended, breaking all previous PST box office records. One of the company members from that show who really made a name for herself was Teresa Sterns, who became the project manager for huge nonprofit development projects like the Science Museum of Minnesota, the new “M” (Minnesota Museum of American Art) as well as more modest projects like Park Square’s Andy Boss Stage.

Bob Davis in Spider's Web

Bob Davis in Spider’s Web, 2009.

This year’s Rule of Thumb is only the third time we’ve produced Agatha Christie, the last time was in 2009 with Spider’s Web, which also featured Bob Davis — as the murder victim.

Why do you think mystery plays are so popular?

Michael-Jon: Mystery fans tell us that they really enjoy the mental stimulation of keeping up with the clues and trying to outwit the detective. It’s also delicious when the production reveals something to the audience that it hasn’t yet been revealed to the characters themselves. Don’t be fooled though, those clues might be red herrings. A period mystery has the added layer of putting the audience in another place and time when the social and environmental cues were so different from today. We often put “Easter eggs” in a production for true fans or history buffs to find. For example, in The Red Box, the paintings on set were the exact images described in the books as being in Nero Wolfe’s study. Following one of those performances, there was a lively debate about the clue of masking tape; the audience member insisted that masking tape hadn’t been invented then. Thanks to a 3M employee who was in the audience, however, we didn’t even need to resort to Google to learn the exact year when the St Paul Company introduced masking tape.

We do sometimes get caught out by a sharp eye, however. During that same production of The Red Box, one fan noticed that the telephone cord was a few years off of the time period.

With the exception of 2012, each of the last 11 seasons has included a mystery, usually in the summer. The mystery genre has also inspired three commissions: The Red Box and Might As Well Be Dead (both Nero Wolfe adaptations by Joseph Goodrich) and Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders by Jeffrey Hatcher, adapted from Larry Millett’s novel about Sherlock in Minnesota. So far, nearly 80,000 people have seen mysteries at Park Square and they have definitely become our answer to A Christmas Carol – a fun, intergenerational outing for families, literature and mystery fans. I remember when the movie Murder on the Orient Express came out starring Albert Finney as Poirot in 1974 when I was just 7. That was our family outing for Mother’s Day and my very first mystery. I was hooked!

Get tickets to Agatha Christie: Rule of Thumb HERE.

rule-of-thumb-220-by-richard-fleischman.

Audrey Park, Bob Davis and Rajané Katurah in Rule of Thumb, 2019.

Coming Summer of 2020 – Holmes and Watson. 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 impostors? Tight, clever and full of suspense, this is Jeffrey Hatcher (Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders, Mr. Holmes) at his best. Season Tickets available now.

Interview by Rebecca Nichloson.

Kelly and Ryan of Jefferson Township Speak Out!

Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant is the show Twin Cities theatergoers and critics can’t get enough of! This bold, irrelevant musical satire opened on Park Square’s Boss Stage on June 21, and audiences have been raving about it every since. The story centers on protagonist Frannie Foster Wallace, an angsty Millennial who returns to her small town after living in the “Big City” and must re-define what it means to truly succeed. Through side-splitting humor, catchy songs and zany dance moves this dynamic new work touches the heart and inspires a deeper appreciation for the joys of small town life.

We reached out to actors Kelly Houlehan and Ryan London Levin, who play Frannie and Liam, in the musical, to talk about their experiences as a performers in this wildly entertaining story and how the play— with its edgy, evocative themes— may be the beginning of more theatre that appeals to audiences under 30.

Actors dressed in grocery store uniforms. They look devious.

Ryan London Levin and Kelly Houlehan. Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma.

Now that you’re performing the show regularly before a live audience, is there a different energy to the songs?

Kelly: This show really has a fifth cast member — the audience! In a comedy like Jefferson Township, we can really feel the energy of the audience as the show unfolds. Plus the Boss Stage is so intimate. People who have seen the show often ask if it’s exhausting to carry a full musical with only four actors and my response to that is no. The energy of the audience carries us through the show; you can tell how much they want to see what will happen next, so you just let it overflow out of you.

Ryan: I tell ya, it feels so good to have this show in front of people! Doing the show in rehearsals can be a bit daunting because we don’t really know how the public will react. We had some idea during the Minnesota Fringe run, but the show is longer now and characters have been developed more — we cut jokes and added jokes, fixed and shuffled plot points, and added songs. Now that we’re open, hearing people laugh and cheer the characters on is incredibly rewarding. One night we had the entire audience laughing so hard you couldn’t hear the song.

There’s been a ton of buzz about Jefferson, why do you think audiences love it so much?

Ryan: The music is incredible. Keith Hovis is not only a clever lyricist, but also a wonderful composer — all the songs are super catchy and energetic. It’s not your typical style of musical theater either (it’s a mixture of pop, rock, folk, and country) and I think it’s musically accessible to everyone; audiences leave with a different tune stuck in their head. I also think the show is a great escape from the stressful world we live in. Sure, it has commentary on Millennial life, but the struggles of being young and trying to achieve success is the story of every generation. The show is pure joy and the characters are lovable and relatable. Anyone of any age can find something to take away from Jefferson.

Kelly: The piece is just really good! The music is phenomenal. The characters are funny, heartfelt and are pushed to grow. The story is interesting and surprising and the comedy is intelligent.  A lot of theatres only produce dated musicals, and a modern musical about modern people and the issues they face is incredibly exciting and relatable (even if you’re not a Millennial). Hopefully, we’ll see more work that tells new, contemporary stories.

 Talk about any special moment you’ve had with an audience member since the opening?

Kelly: This show surprises people. They often aren’t sure exactly what they’re getting themselves into when they sit down, but by the end they’ve been on this journey with these four characters and now they know them so well and they love them! The most common response I get is, ‘Wow! I’m blown away and I’m coming back and bringing my — parents, sister, boyfriend, daughter, best friend’, etc. They just love it.”

Ryan: HA! I’ve had a lot of special moments with the audience while performing the show. The Andy Boss Stage is great because it’s so intimate, which allows the actors to connect with everyone easily. My character goes through a wild journey and it’s not hard to see and hear all the reactions of the room. I LOVE seeing people react to the crazy stuff I do on stage, but by the end of the show I can see people tear up which is really sweet. As silly as this show can be, it also has a ton of heart. Sometimes we even get choked up singing the closing number of show.

Watch this studio session of Kelly and Ryan singing Sparkling Junior Champion.

Jefferson Township runs through July 28. Tickets at https://bit.ly/2HLGzZ0.

Interview by Rebecca Nichloson

Park Square’s Mystery Writers Producers Club

Park Square's Mystery Writers Producers Club

Executive Director C. Michael-Jon Pease on How It All Began in 2012 — Over Dinner!

Agatha Christie: Rule of Thumb, a well-crafted and newly discovered theatre piece comprised of three chilling one-acts, will grace our Proscenium Stage on July 12 and will run through August 25. Agatha Christie was an incredibly prolific creative writer and dramatist, having authored dozens of short stories and plays throughout her wildly successful career. A master of the mystery genre and all its complexity, most of her works delve into dark themes, such as revenge, betrayal, love triangles and of course — murder! All of these ingredients make for a perfect evening of edge-of-your seat theatre, which we’re excited to bring you this summer and early fall.

As the opening of Rule of Thumb fast approaches, we thought this would be an excellent time to reach out to Executive Director C. Michael-Jon Pease to get the scoop on why the mystery genre is so popular with Minnesota theatregoers and around the world. We also got some insights into the history of Park Square’s own Mystery Writer’s Producers Club (MWPC), a devoted community of mystery genre aficionados who help support our mystery show each season.

C. Michael-Jon: The MWPC started in 2012 when Richard Cook and I invited Robyn Hansen and John Clarey to dinner and asked them to make a major investment in our commission of The Red Box, a Nero Wolfe Mystery, adapted from the novel by Rex Stout by Joseph Goodrich. We knew John was a major Rex Stout fan and was coming up on a significant birthday. What a great present — to underwrite the commission in his name. But Robyn and John had a better idea (and, to be fair, they had just made a huge commitment to help us build the Andy Boss Stage).

“I always think it’s more fun to get your friends involved, especially since theatre is so social,” John said. Then Robyn quickly followed up with, “What if we create a club and ask each member to contribute? We’ll probably raise more money than any one of us could give. And what if we promise to do all the legwork so that it’s no more work on the staff than taking us to dinner?”

The club was born and has quickly grown to more than 40 households, who each contribute $1,000 annually. They are truly a social bunch who love to get together for potlucks or pre-show dinners, trade novels and scripts, and meet with artists behind the scenes. They are also really smart and we’ve come to rely on them as allies in the work, not just donors.

MWPC members have volunteered to proof drafts of new commissions for typos; sit in on dress rehearsals looking for continuity problems; and even hunt down hard to find items or information. During an early scene reading for Might As Well Be Dead, the playwright’s wife was reading the part of the father who first comes to Nero Wolfe with the case. The group loved her style and agreed that it would be more natural for the missing man’s mother to seek out the great detective. A few edits later (and a quick call to the Rex Stout estate to get permission to change the character) and Austene Van wound up playing the role of the mother in our production. I think the relationships among the members and the deep relationship with the theatre as a whole has kept the group vital and growing.

Interview by Rebecca Nichloson, Marketing Manager

Agatha Christie: Rule of Thumb Opens July 12

Agatha Christie: Rule of Thumb Opens July 12

THREE MYSTERIES IN ONE NIGHT

First time Hercule Poirot appears at Park Square Theatre

Media Contact – Connie Shaver 612.308.5785
shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

June 18, 2019 – Park Square Theatre’s summer fare continues on the Proscenium Stage with the regional premiere of AGATHA CHRISTIE’S RULE OF THUMB (July 12 – August 25, 2019). Directed by local powerhouse Austene Van*, the evening featured three one-act murder mysteries by the most-read mystery writer of all time – Dame Agatha Christie. In The Wasp’s Nest, Hercule Poirot comes between a bitter triangle of lovers to prevent a sinister murder; in The Rats, adulterous lovers find themselves lured to a flat, only to be framed for murder; and completing the triple bill is a tense thriller about a woman who is hospitalized after seemingly falling from her balcony in The Patient.

“Agatha Christie’s worked spanned and spoke to so many decades – from her first story written in 1916 to 1974,” says director Austene Van. “As we approached these three plays, we wanted to explore that impact by setting each one in a different time period to suit the nature of the story. Since Hercule Poirot appeared in her earliest work, The Wasp’s Nest is set in the elegant and formal time at the end of World War I, while The Rat’s Nest is set in the 1950’s. Each time period gives the actors – who play roles in at least two of the plays – different tools, from corseted costumes to the quick repartee we love in films from the 1930s and ‘40s. Since so many of us know Christie’s work through film, we wanted our music and design to play with the idea of black and white film emerging into the full color era.”

Casting “was a dream” says Van. “I chose actors who could each look guilty, to heighten the sense of mystery,” she laughs.

The cast of local favorites includes: Bob Davis* as Hercule Poirot, Audrey Park,* Sara Richardson* (KEN LUDWIG’S BASKERVILLE), Peter Christian Hansen*, Ryan Colbert* (GREAT EXPECTATIONS), Jamie White Jachimiec, H Adam Harris* (THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE WATSON INTELLIGENCE), Neal Beckman (ROMEO & JULIET), Rajane Katurah Brown* (MARIE AND ROSETTA).

The production team for AGATHA CHRISTIE’S RULE OF THUMB includes Sarah Brandner (Set Designer), Mike Kittel (Lighting Designer), Jeff Bailey (Sound Designer), Brent Anderson (Assistant Lighting Designer), Annie Enneking (Fight Director), Keely Wolter (vocal coach), Connor McEvoy (Properties Designer), Sonya Berlovitz (Costumer), Lyndsey Harter* (Stage Manager) Samantha Diekman* (Assistant Stage Manager) and Dallis Votava (Stage Management Intern).

*Member, Actors Equity Association

Ticket prices: Previews: $25-$37. Regular Run: $25-$60. Discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square Ticket Office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at www.parksquaretheatre.org. #PSTSparkle

CALENDAR INFORMATION
Previews: July 12 – 19, 2019
Opening Night: July 20, 2019
Regular Run: July 20 – Aug 25, 2019
Tickets: Previews: $20-$37; Regular Run: $25-$60

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

calendar-rule-of-thumb-5-30-18-17:30pm 2:00pm
P – Preview
B – 99¢ Bargain Preview
D – Post-show Discussion
O – Opening Night
ASL – American Sign Language
AD – Audio Description
C – Open Captioning

PHOTOS by Richard Fleischman parksquaretheatre.org/media/photos/
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PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. Ticket Office: 651.291.7005. www.parksquaretheatre.org