News

Stars of MARIE AND ROSETTA to play the Dakota!

On April 21st, Jamecia Bennett and Rajané Katurah Brown will return to the Dakota Jazz Club for a one-night-only performance of the music from Park Square’s hit production Marie and Rosetta, a tribute to gospel and rock legend, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and her protege Marie Knight.

In the play, Sister Rosetta states, “I brought a little church to the nightclub, and a little nightclub to the church,” making it a perfect show for a family outing on Easter Sunday.

Sunday April 21. 7:00 pm
Dakota Jazz Club
1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
For tickets visit www.dakotacooks.com

Jamecia Bennett and Rajané Katurah Brown at The Dakota in January 2019. Photo by Connie Shaver.

“Stars from Sister Rosetta Tharpe play adapt wonderfully to the Dakota”
Star Tribune

Bringing fierce guitar playing and swing to gospel music, Sister Rosetta Tharpe influenced rock musicians from Elvis to Jimi Hendrix and Ray Charles. Jamecia Bennett (lead singer of Sounds of Blackness) and Rajané Katurah Brown (Star Tribune “9 Artists to Watch in 2019”) present an a tribute not to be missed!

PRIME PRODUCTIONS brings the future to the stage.

PRIME PRODUCTIONS BRINGS THE FUTURE TO THE STAGE WITH MARJORIE PRIME AT PARK SQUARE THEATRE

 

Continuing their mission to tell more stories about women in their second act, PRIME Productions opens Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime directed by Elena Giannetti, April 26, 2019 on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage at Park Square Theatre.

“Science fiction is here…Every day is science fiction. We buy these things that already know our moods and what we want for lunch even though we don’t know ourselves…”
– Tess in Marjorie Prime

Laura Stearns (left) and Candace Barrett Birk*. Photo By Joseph Giannetti.

It’s the age of artificial intelligence, and 85-year-old Marjorie – a jumble of disparate, fading memories – is living with her adult daughter and son-in-law, but also has a handsome new companion who’s programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance? In this richly spare, wondrous new play Harrison explores the mysteries of human identity and the limits – if any – of what technology can replace.

“Jordan Harrison’s elegant, thoughtful and quietly unsettling drama that keeps developing in your head, like a photographic negative, long after you have seen it…At some point, you realize that its been landing skillfully targeted punch after punch, right where it hurts.”
Ben Brantley, NY Times

Director Elena Giannetti says: “Although this play is set in the not-too-distant future, the themes of memory, loss and grief and how we confront them is very much in the now. By using artificial intelligence as a backdrop for a conversation around relationships and memory, Jordan gives us a smart and unsettlingly current setting to debate the issue of how much we need to remember, and who decides the value of those memories and the role of technology is used to preserve them. I’m so excited to tell a story that helps PRIME put mature actors on stage, while also giving voice to the struggle people face when dealing with their own mortality.”

“You don’t really believe that living is a distraction from death.”
– Jon in Marjorie Prime

The cast features Candace Barrett Birk* (Marjorie), Laura Stearns (Tess), Andre Shoals* (Jon), and James Rodriguez (Walter). The production design team includes Costume Designer Amy Kaufman, Sound Designer Katie Korpi, Lighting Designer Mike Kittel, Set Designer Joseph Stanley and Stage Manager Jamie Kranz.   * Member, Actors’ Equity Association

Marjorie Prime is made possible by the Saint Paul Cultural Star Grant Program and is being produced by PRIME Productions as a part of Park Square’s “Theatres in Residence” Series.

Searching for Justice with Ellen J. Kennedy Ph.D.

Searching for Justice with Ellen J. Kennedy Ph.D.

In the early 1990s, the country of Yugoslavia imploded, collapsing into genocide and mass atrocities. This May, Park Square Theatre presents Flying Foot Forum’s  Heaven, a theatrical look into war-torn Bosnia told through percussive dance, music, and storytelling.

To deepen our collective understanding of the conflict, Park Square Theatre and Flying Foot Forum are collaborating with World Without Genocide to offer a series of programs that include films, talks, and a compelling personal story of a survivor of one of the 20th-century’s worst massacres. We’ve invited Ellen J. Kennedy Ph.D., Executive Director of World Without Genocide to share a personal account of her visit to Bosnia, and to invite you to the programs.

For tickets and information about Heaven, click HERE.
For a more a detailed history of the Bosnian Genocide, click HERE.
For a complete listing of the Justice After Genocide programs, click HERE.

 

Searching for Justice

By Ellen J Kennedy, Ph.D.

In the summer of 2010 I went to a funeral for 775 people.

Bosnian Serb troops had massacred more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, Bosnia in July 1995. Their bodies were buried and hidden in mass graves. In the years since that tragedy, remains have been discovered, exhumed and, through painstaking DNA analysis, nearly 6,000 individuals have been identified and buried at a memorial site in Srebrenica.

In July 2010 I was at the memorial ceremony when 775 bodies, identified by DNA since the past year’s mass funeral, were held aloft in a parade of coffins and grief and brought to rest in row after row of graves.

I had met women at the Association of the Mothers of Srebrenica, some of the mothers, wives, and daughters who lost husbands, fathers, and sons at the massacre. These women, most of whom are from small villages, developed a strong network and a vigorous political presence.  They created Srebrenica’s annual ceremony of remembrance, pressed for ongoing exhumation and identification of remains, and advocated for government support for the widows and children of the men who perished.

This is part of the process of finding justice after genocide – locating the loved ones and caring for those who remain.

Justice also involves documenting the truth.  This is the function of a trial, which punishes the perpetrators and creates an accurate record of the events.

Hasan Hasanović survived that massacre in 1995. His father, his uncle, and his twin brother perished. He lives in Srebrenica and he is dedicated to shining light onto the truth – not only onto what happened to him and his family, but to those who suffer in conflicts today.

Meet Mr. Hasanović at Mitchell Hamline School of Law on Tuesday, April 16, 7:00 pm. Joining him will be Dr. Andrew Baker, forensic pathologist who conducted exhumations in the region, and John Docherty, prosecutor of genocide perpetrators at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia.  Hear about the search for justice after genocide.

Ellen J. Kennedy is the founder and Executive Director of World Without Genocide, a human rights organization headquartered at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, St. Paul, MN.

Through World Without Genocide, Kennedy promotes Holocaust and genocide education in high schools, colleges, faith-based organizations, and civic groups and advocates with elected officials at city, state, and national levels. Kennedy was a professor at the University of St. Thomas for nearly twenty years and the Interim Director at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota, for three years. She began as an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in September 2006 and remains today.

Announcing the 2019 Artist Fellowship Recipients

Program aims to increase the pipeline for under-represented artists

Saint Paul, Minn., March 13, 2019 – Flordelino Lagundino, Park Square Theatre’s John W. Harris Artistic Director, has announced the eight recipients for the pilot year of a new Artist Fellowship program at Park Square: Ricardo Beaird, Ernest Briggs, Mary Capers, Maxwell Collyard, Ashawnti Sakina Ford, Sophie Peyton, Lindsey C. Samples, DJ Kool Akiem Scott.

“Fellowships gave me an inside track at some of the best theatres in the country, advancing my artistry and building my network,” says Lagundino. “We were delighted to receive 58 applications this year. It’s important to me that in our work at Park Square we find ways to open doors and build a pipeline for all early career theatre artists, especially for marginalized communities such as indigenous, people of color, and LGBTQA artists, in order to create a greater sense of belonging for everyone in our community.”

The first year of the new theatre fellowship program is made possible by major grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Saint Paul’s Cultural STAR program. Fellows will deepen and develop new skills over the upcoming year in residence by participating in projects which will connect them to Park Square and the Saint Paul/larger Twin Cities’ community.

For the 2019 fellowships, there were five assistant directing tracks and three assistant designer tracks assigned (design may be in any theatrical design medium: set, costume, lights, props, sound, or projections). Each fellow will assist on two shows from early stages through final production, and will have a voice in production meetings, planning, rehearsals, and direct collaboration with lead production staff and the Artistic Director.

Collectively, the fellows will form a self-directed cohort of emerging leaders and may participate in the various department functions at Park Square in areas such as casting, season planning, carpentry, electrics, wardrobe or run crew, and in budgeting, human resources or marketing. Additionally, there will be opportunities to meet with artistic leaders at Park Square’s partner theatres as well as other area theatrical institutions. To involve the fellow cohort with the wider community, staff support, and dedicated resources will be provided to help each fellow create an engagement experience as a part of Park Square’s mission to center artmaking within the ongoing dialogue we have with our community.

At the end of the fellowship year, the cohort will participate in an Evening Cabaret Performance in which Twin Cities Artistic Leaders will be invited. This culminating event will be co-hosted with the MN Theatre Alliance. Feedback will be considered for the planning of future iterations and development of the program.

Park Square’s community partners in this program include Springboard for the Arts, the MN Theatre Alliance, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Theatre Mu, the History Theatre, PRIME Productions, and the East Side Freedom Library.

Headshots of recipients HERE  BIOS follow below.

Ricardo Beaird [Director Track] is a theatre maker and teaching artist from Nashville who recently performed at Park Square in Dot and Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. Currently, Ricardo is an actor/presenter at the Science Museum of Minnesota. This year, he was selected to be a Red Eye Theater Works-In-Progress artist with his collaborator, Megan Burns.

Ernest Briggs [Director] is a professional actor and Twin Cities native who has worked in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and Florida. Ernest received his Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Florida. He has worked locally as an actor with Mixed Blood Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Girl Friday Productions, Minnesota History Theatre, Artistry Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Teatro Del Pueblo, Pillsbury House Theatre, Turtle Theatre Collective, South Coast Repertory (CA), Tilted Windmills Theatricals (FL) and various feature films. He has also directed productions for the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Nimbus Theatre and various short films.

Mary Capers [Design] is a wig designer from South Jamaica Queens, New York. She has a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Fredonia and a pending Master of Fine Arts in Theatrical Design and Production from Brooklyn College. She has worked at various theatres around the country and is happy to finally call the Twin Cities home.

Maxwell Collyard [Design] is an interdisciplinary theatre/film artist based in the Twin Cities working mainly with digital content and live performance. Maxwell designed projections for Turtle Theater Collective, Theatre Novi Most, Frank Theatre, and the Playwrights’ Center. He also works as a cinematographer/editor for various fundraisers, Mixed Blood Theatre/Project 154, and with Fox and Coyote, Annie and the Bang Bang, Daniel Bonespur, and Porno Wolves to create music videos. He enjoys making movies in his spare time and is currently preparing a feature-length film for festivals. Maxwell also works as an actor and assistant director for theatres in the Twin Cities.

Ashawnti Sakina Ford [Director] is an actress, teaching artist, improviser, playwright, poet and director born and raised in the Twin Cities. Her work is typically centered in social change and arts accessibility. She recently co-founded The Black Ensemble Players theatre company to give rising black artists the opportunity to work on classical and new theatre. She is also a member of Blackout Improv which was recently recognized as a Minnesota Change-maker by MPR. Ashawnti has been seen on stages including the History Theatre and the Guthrie Dowling studio and has worked with companies including Full Circle Theatre, Sandbox Theatre and Combustible.

Sophie Peyton [Director] is a freelance director, dramaturg, and community engagement coordinator. Originally from Boston, she moved to Minneapolis to further her career in new play development and artistic administration. She holds a B.A. from Temple University and has worked on the administrative and producing staff at McCarter Theatre Center, Wilma Theater, and PlayPenn: New Play Development Conference. Regional credits include Minnesota Opera, Trademark Theater, History Theatre, Park Square Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, and Wilma Theater. She’s had the pleasure of assisting directors Emily Mann, Adam Immerwahr, Jamil Jude, Peter Rothstein, and Doug Scholz-Carlson.

Lindsey C. Samples [Director] is a multidisciplinary theater artist. She believes art is a critical ingredient in fostering a healthy society and creating necessary social change. As a director, performer, teaching artist, and arts administrator, she has used theater as a bridge to be in conversation across communities, geography, cultures, languages, abilities, and identities. Lindsey holds a B.A. in Theater from Loyola University Chicago and an M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership from the University of Minnesota.

DJ Kool Akiem Scott [Design] is an educator, teaching artist, renowned DJ, composer, sound designer, and producer. Widely recognized as a pioneer of the Twin Cities Hip-Hop community, he’s produced for the legendary Micranots, was DJ for MF Doom’s domestic and European tours, and has performed with artists such as Public Enemy, De La Soul, The Roots, Grandmaster Flash, and Jazzy Jeff. Kool Akiem has produced seven albums, many of which are critically acclaimed that released on Rhymesayers Entertainment, Subverse Records, and Mental Madness Wreckords. He has held DJ residencies in New York and Atlanta, and hosted radio shows including The Panther Power Hour on WRFG (Atlanta) and WEQY (Saint Paul). His expertise and philosophies on Sampling and Hip Hop pedagogy have been featured in several books including Five Percenter Rap by Felicia Miyakawa and Making Beats by Joseph Schlosh. He composed original scores for the award-winning stage play Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals (Theater Mu), was DJ for Illyria (Theater Latte Da), a sound designer for The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up (Theater Mu) and was recently commissioned to compose the theme song for Kung Fu Zombies vs Shaman Warrior (Smithsonian). He taught Hip Hop Music History at McNally Smith College of Music and conducts DJ and recording residencies and workshops for all ages as a teaching artist through COMPAS, East Metro Integration District and Intermedia Arts.

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

Park Square Announces 45th Season

Park Square Announces 45th Season

First Season for new Artistic Director Flordelino Lagundino Features Big Scale, Big Heart, Three Musicals and One World Premiere

MEDIA CONTACT

Connie Shaver, shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

 

Saint Paul, Minn., Feb. 14, 2019 – Park Square Theatre announced its 45th theatre season for 2019-2020 today. This is the first season to be created by Artistic Director Flordelino Lagundino, who took the reins of the theatre on August 1, 2018, after a national search. Flordelino will direct two shows in his first season, both by Korean American playwrights: AUBERGINE by Julia Cho and UN (the completely true story of the rise of Kim Jong Un) by John Kim.

Flordelino is building on Park Square’s commitment to new work with regional premieres, as well as one world premiere. He is also continuing former Artistic Director Richard Cook’s legacy of guaranteeing that every season includes at least one directing debut by introducing Park Square audiences to nationally recognized directors Mark Valdez, Ilana Ransom Toeplitz and Madeline Sayet, as well as local powerhouses Marcela Lorca and Lisa Channer.

“I wanted my first season to have an emphasis on community and to show as many people as possible that they have a place at Park Square and that they belong here,” said Flordelino. “I’ve been listening carefully to our community my first five months in town and am working to provide us all with stories that uplift, entertain, prod, and ultimately help us understand each other as fellow humans. And I think this is a moment in time when we all need to get up and dance!”

The season opens with that exact counterpoint: a delicious human drama on the Boss and plenty of dance moves on the Proscenium.

First on the Boss Stage will be the area premiere of AUBERGINE (Sept 20 – Oct 20, 2019) by Julia Cho, author of The Language archive, directed by Flordelino Lagundino. 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.”

The season continues on the Park Square Proscenium Stage 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. “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!”

Ilana Ransom Toeplitz

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.”

A special one-week only presentation of PAIGE IN FULL by Paige Hernandez will take to the Boss Stage (Oct 25– 27, 2019). This unique experience blends poetry, dance, media and music to share a multicultural girl’s journey through hip-hop to self-discovery. Since its premiere in 2010, this “visual mix-tape” has sold out performances throughout the country and garnered praise from critics and audiences alike for its energy, intelligence, and originality.

Paige in Full

Warren Bowles

Park Square will offer just one weekend of general audience performances of its critically acclaimed production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN, directed by Warren Bowles (Boss Stage, Dec 6-8, 2019), with student matinees playing (Nov 18 – Dec 20, 2019).

Lisa Channer

For the holidays on the Proscenium Stage, Park Square continues its tradition of “counter programming” by featuring the regional premiere of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Nov 15 – Dec 22, 2019) adapted from the Jane Austen classic by Kate Hamill (SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, LITTLE WOMEN) and directed by Lisa Channer in her Park Square debut. This clever comedy offers a decidedly progressive take on the trials of Lizzy, Mr. Darcy, and the whole Bennet clan, with a few dance breaks thrown in for good measure. “I love it because of the emphasis on the actor and the emphasis on theatricality,” says Flordelino. “Many of the actors play multiple roles and there is a sense of joy and abandon. Like the original Austen, it also gets to the depths of what it means to really fight for love and family.”

Mark Valdez

2020 kicks off on the Proscenium with a brand-new take on the Broadway musical EVITA by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber, directed by Mark Valdez in his Park Square debut with musical direction by Denise Prosek and choreography by Joe Chvala (Jan 17 – Mar 1, 2020). “Mark is blowing the dust off this classic,” says Flordelino. “He is taking on how populism meets politics. What does it take to rise up in today’s society and make a name for yourself? And at what cost do we make our way up the ladder of success and power in any political environment?”

Valdez, who directs frequently at Mixed Blood Theatre, just received the Americans for the Arts 2019 Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities, a $65,000 award that will help Mark continue his ground-breaking work in community-based theatre engagement.

The world premiere of UN (the completely true story of Kim Jong Un) by John Kim (Feb 7 – Mar 1, 2020) will be directed by Flordelino Lagundino, who was involved in the early development of the play at Pan Asian Rep in New York City. The play is a hilarious, irreverent, and brutal take on the life and rise to power of Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. It chronicles his life as teen who loves basketball, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, through the shaping of his mythology as the Supreme Leader. “John Kim and I have known each other for about 20 years,” shares Flordelino. “We met when I directed him in David Henry Hwang’s THE SOUND OF A VOICE when John was an undergrad actor at George Mason University. His script looks at the often-insane ways in which power is given and taken, and how the western world looks and frames power from countries that do not share its Eurocentric origins.”

FACE TO FACE: OUR HMONG COMMUNITY (Boss Stage, Mar 5 – 15, 2020) is a first-ever partnership between Park Square and the internationally-renowned Ping Chong + Company, a New York-based leader in innovative community-based theatre engagement. FACE TO FACE will be a community-specific, interview-based theater piece examining issues of culture and identity within Saint Paul’s vibrant Hmong Community. This original play will feature members from the Hmong community that will tell their stories – in their own words. “Minnesota has crossed an important and exciting cultural threshold,” says Executive Director Michael-jon Pease, “with more state legislators named ‘Xiong’ than ‘Johnson.’ This project is a way to explore the many facets of a community who are woven into our Minnesota fabric.”

FACE TO FACE is a larger series of theatre-based engagement projects which lifts up different parts of our community so that we all can know each other just a little bit better,” says Flordelino.

Marcela Lorca

The community spirit continues with the Midwest premiere of MISS YOU LIKE HELL by Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes (ELLIOT, A SOLDIER’S FUGUE, WATER BY THE SPOONFUL, In the Heights) and acclaimed, genre-breaking singer/songwriter Erin McKeown (Apr 17 – May 17, 2020). Marcela Lorca is directing. The musical recently played Off-Broadway at The Public Theater in 2018, where it was nominated for five Drama Desk Awards, including Best Lyrics, Best Music and Best Orchestrations.

After living estranged from each other for years, 16-year old Olivia and her mom, an undocumented immigrant on the verge of deportation, embark on a road trip that crosses state lines. Together they meet Americans of different backgrounds, shared dreams, and complicated truths in this powerful new show with vast heart and fierce humor.

Michael Evan Haney

Summer in Saint Paul kicks off on the Proscenium Stage with Jeffrey Hatcher’s twisting, tantalizing mystery HOLMES AND WATSON (Jun 12 – Jul 26, 2020) directed by Michael Evan Haney. Sherlock Holmes has been dead three years when Dr. Watson receives a message from a mental asylum: three patients are claiming to be Sherlock Holmes. Did the world’s greatest sleuth fake his own death? Who is the real detective and who are the imposters? “Jeffrey is a local playwriting legend,” says Flordelino. “This mystery is Hatcher at his best. The writing is driving, taut, and will keep you on the edge of your seat.” Director Michael Evan Haney will make his Park Square directing debut. “Jeffrey Hatcher has built his play upon one of the most famous mysteries in English Literature—the death? (Disappearance?) of Sherlock Holmes at Reichenbach Falls” added Haney. “ He has created a Rubik’s Cube of a plot in HOLMES AND WATSON—a fast paced 90 minutes of suspense, mystery and thrills.”

The summer fun continues with guillotines and a cry for liberty on the Boss Stage with the regional premiere of THE REVOLUTIONISTS by Lauren Gunderson (Jun 19 – Jul 19, 2020). Four badass women lose their heads in this irreverent, woman-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, former queen (and fan of ribbons) Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle hang out, murder Marat, and try to beat back the extremist insanity in 1793 Paris. This grand and dream-tweaked comedy is about violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually go about changing the world.

Madeline Sayet

THE REVOLUTIONISTS will be directed by Madeline Sayet in her Park Square Theatre debut. Sayet is a recipient of The White House Champion of Change Award from President Obama and a member of the FORBES 30 Under 30 in Hollywood and Entertainment for her work as a director, writer, performer and educator. “This story is biting and playful, full of passion, humor and poignant truths for all of us — not just those who die for causes, but everyone who tries to stand up,” says Sayet. “It immediately made me think of the Oscar Wilde quote, ‘If you want to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.’”

In addition to the full season of public performances, Park Square will continue to serve the region’s largest teen theatre audience with 127 daytime matinees for students in 7th-12th grade from select shows in the season as well as from its repertory of literary classics ROMEO & JULIET, adapted and directed by David Mann, and THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, directed by Ellen Fenster.

 

SEASON TICKETS are on sale now. Current subscribers have priority in ordering through March. Seating of new subscriptions will begin in April. Season packages range in size from all eight plays and three add-ons in the season to a choose-your-own series of three or more. Subscription package prices begin at $66.

 

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

PHOTO LINKS

Madeline Sayet

Ilana Ransom Toeplitz

Michael Evan Haney headshot

Flordelino Lagundino and Michael-jon Pease headshots by Amy Anderson HERE

Paige in Full

Ping Chong + Co

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

Programs, Justice After Genocide

Programs, Justice After Genocide

For Immediate Release

Programs, Justice After Genocide

(St. Paul, MN; February 22, 2019) The country of Yugoslavia imploded during the early 1990s, collapsing into genocide and mass atrocities perpetrated by individuals, government armies, and paramilitary militias against one-time friends and neighbors.

Park Square Theatre, St. Paul, is presenting Heaven, a theatrical look into war-torn Bosnia told by playwright/director Joe Chvala in music, dance, and story. The work will be produced by theatre in residence, Flying Foot Forum.

To deepen public understanding of the conflict and of the challenges faced after genocide, Park Square Theatre, in collaboration with World Without Genocide and Flying Foot Forum, offers a series of programs that include films, talks, and a compelling personal story of a survivor of one of the 20th-century’s worst massacres.

The events are open to the public:  $10 general public, $5 seniors and students; $25 for lawyers’ CLE credits at most programs; ‘clock hours’ for educators.  No advance registration is required.

Programs:

Film, Men Don’t Cry. War trauma in Bosnia.
Thursday April 4, 7:00-9:00 pm
Park Square Theatre, Andy Boss Thrust Stage.

Panel, A Survivor, a Prosecutor, and a Forensic Pathologist
Tuesday, April 16, 7:00-9:00 pm
Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Talk, Bosnia, Genocide, and Climate Change
Thursday, April 25, 7:00-9:00 pm
St. Anthony Park Public Library

Film and Talk, Rape:  A Crime of Genocide – The Foča ‘Rape Camp’ Trials
Sunday, May 19, 1:30-3:30 pm
Park Square Theatre, Proscenium Stage

Film and talk, Sex Trafficking and Genocide with FBI Special Agent
Tuesday, June 11 7:00-9:00 pm
Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Exhumations and Justice, Post-show discussion
Sunday, June 16. After 2:00 pm performance of Heaven
Park Square Theatre, Proscenium Stage

“Genocide and Justice:  From Nuremberg to the International Criminal Court,” an exhibit by World Without Genocide, will be on display at Park Square Theatre during this time.

The series is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Chapter, Federal Bar Association; the Human Rights Committee, Minnesota State Bar Association; DKG, an international women educators’ society; ILSA, the International Law Student Association at Mitchell Hamline School of Law; and the St. Paul and Minneapolis-University Rotary Clubs.

Tickets for Heaven, running May 31 – June 23, can be purchased here

More information – info@worldwithoutgenocide.org , www.worldwithoutgenocideorg , 651-695-7621.

World Without Genocide promotes education and action to protect innocent people, prevent genocide, prosecute perpetrators, and remember those affected by genocide.

Contact: Ellen J. Kennedy, Ph.D.
Executive Director
651-695-7621
kennedy@worldwithoutgenocide.org

 

      Graphic logo for Park Square Theatre - deep red type on white background      

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$10,000 Water Damage Challenge Grant! Help the show go on!

Park Square Backstage Flooded. $10,000 Challenge grant in place to double your gift and meet the $20,000 goal.

You know how cold it was during the Polar Vortex.

Saint Paul recorded its coldest temperatures since 1996 (and before that 1887)!

Imagine the shock as Park Square’s technical staff came in Wednesday morning, January 30 – bundled up against the cold, coaxing their car batteries to start – to find a cascade of water falling from the ceiling of the scene shop due to burst pipes in the building.

Water pouring in above the scene shop.

The drains were quickly overwhelmed. Water cascaded into the technical office, dressing rooms and green room, eventually forcing the sewer lines to back up. Ick. Yes, the cast’s shoes were submerged in you-know-what.

The damage is extensive. The room holding the furniture and props for our 20th anniversary production of The Diary of Anne Frank was flooded. Crews are busy rebuilding and painting set pieces, replacing shoes, drying out the stage curtains and creating temporary dressing room for the valiant cast of Girl Friday Production’s upcoming show The Skin of Our Teeth, which opens Feb 9.

Insurance will cover most of the damage, but never all. If you’ve been in an old building with water damage, you know the discovery of new problems will continue on well into the spring. (We think there’s still one of those coming!)

A large curtain being dried.

Early estimates are that there will be a $20,000 gap when all is said and done.

And you need us to be ready to welcome 25,000 more teens this spring for field trips to Antigone, The Diary of Anne Frank and Romeo and Juliet.

You can make sure the shows go on at Park Square!

  • Please buy tickets.
  • Please make a gift to meet the $10,000 challenge match and the $20,000 goal.
  • “Party with a purpose” when you Sign up for the Cattle Call Ball or our Spring Mischief Gala. Exceeding our goals at these events will make a difference (and be fun!)
  • Volunteer to help move stuff and repaint.

When you give today, you will join the heroes of a record-breaking cold, wet, smelly, spirit-crushing day.

The entrance to the dressing rooms.

Your pantheon of heroes includes these all-stars Gaea Dill-D’Ascoli (Assistant Technical Director), Dave Peterson (Facility Director), Gabe Salmon (facility associate), Mary Mongtomery-Jensen (Interim Production Manager), Trevor Muller-Hegel, Eric Hofstead, Allison Oberg, Rachel “Olli”  Johnson, Peter Talbot, and Anna Lund.

On your behalf, they are working around the clock with the remediation company, assessing damage, making inventories, cleaning up (you don’t want to know the details), and getting your shows ready with amazing artists.

Thank you for being the friends that keep the show going for your whole community. With you on our side, we can do it!

With gratitude,

Michael-jon

Executive Director

P.S. And if you haven’t picked up on the irony, The Skin of Our Teeth follows the eternal family through the Ice Age, a great flood and a world war with their hope intact. You are our hope!

A conversation with MJ Kedrowski

A conversation with MJ Kedrowski

Marcia Aubineau, retired St. Thomas faculty member and part of Park Square’s Educator Advisory Board, connected with MJ (Meagan) Kedrowski, the director and adaptor behind the upcoming production of Antigone, to discuss what makes this production unique and why in makes sense to produce Greek tragedy today.

You can find this interview and more resources and activities in the Antigone Study Guide.

Antigone will be performed on the Boss stage Feb 1 – March 3. Buy Tickets Here.


Marcia Aubineau: What brought you to this play in the first place? Why and how do you think it will resonate with today’s audiences? What are your hopes for the production?

Meagan Kedrowski: I’ve always been drawn to classic Greek theatre. The dramatic stakes are so high, and the lessons are so rooted in the human experience. Most of the lessons being taught and examined that many years ago are still lessons that apply to a modern audience. It’s actually surprisingly easy to adapt most of them to a modern context. Meaningful topics being explored in ancient Greece, and in the world today, fill the world of this play.For this version of Antigone, we create an original, devised adaptation of the classic Greek drama but continue to explore themes of civil disobedience, fidelity, and family love. We face head-on the ever-changing and difficult debate: which law is greater— gods’ or humans’? The play also holds up a mirror to what a loving family torn apart by power, greed, and humility can look like. In addition, in a time when natural law and contemporary legal institutions so often overrun our personal fights for justice, we ask the question: For what would you be willing to die?

MJ (Meagan) Kedrowski

What goes into adapting a play from the original text?

I really love taking old works and using them as a baseline to create a new piece of theatre. This is an adaptation, but also, it’s nearly a full new script. It’s got many of the same characters and many of the same plot points, but we see people take a whole new path to get where they are going. I love to examine the things we haven’t yet seen in a story: the motivations that are deep-seated in a character and the possibilities that have not been looked at. It’s my hope that an audience seeing this version of the story experiences the characters and the story in a fresh new light. I hope people walk away with a new perspective of this timeless classic, questioning how the themes in the material resonate in their own lives.

In your adaptation, you have made several changes to the original text. For example, why did you reduce the chorus and eliminate the choral odes?

The chorus is actually four characters. I’ve combined the roles that exist in Sophocles’ original text of the Guard, First Messenger, Second Messenger, and the Chorus of Theban Elders into an ensemble of four characters who do it all. These four actors work together as an ensemble to give a nod to a traditional Greek chorus. I did this partially to pare down the cast size in order to make the piece more intimate and to utilize these actors for more of the action.

And bringing the action to these characters is actually why I’ve altered the Odes. These characters still take the agency of guiding the story and filling the audience in on things, but they do it on stage and in real time. The show is bookended in the traditional presentational style of talking right to the audience, but then it flows into a modernization that uses these characters as part of the action instead of just talking about the action.

Jamila Joiner (Ismene) and Lauren Diesch (Antigone) in rehearsal.

You also added flashbacks and references to childhood events including the use of nicknames. What was your intention here?

I really wanted to focus on the deep love of family. Often, this particular family is seen as all god-like, and they come off as cold or hard to relate to. In looking at their history and the love that keeps them going through the first two chapters of this trilogy, I wanted to illuminate these deeply nuanced, history-filled relationships. The more history we get to witness, the more context we have to the connections the characters have to each other, and the more understanding we have for why they do what they do. It forces empathy in a way. It gives more perspective to why Antigone fights so hard for her brother when we see the love they had for each other as children. We get a new look at why it’s so hard for Creon to condemn Antigone when we get to experience happy moments they have had in the past. We get to see more layers of the internal struggle they each face. It raises both the stakes and the humanity of these people, and ultimately makes the story all the more devastating.

Another change was the omission of Tieresias and the addition of the brother-monster to convince Creon to change his mind.

In the copy of the Sophocles text that I have, one of Tieresias’ first lines is, “This is the way the blind man comes. Princes, Princes, two heads lit by the eyes of one.” I read this over and over and over, and the more I read it, the more I wanted to explore the idea of “Two Princes” that make up “the eyes of one” otherworldly character that still has a prophetic message. In trying to keep the resonance of these dead brothers wandering the earth, I explored what it would mean to have their combined ghosts talk to the king. I was excited to create a new tension and fear for Creon. So, I asked the question, “What is the most terrifying thing this king could see?” Encountering the faceless contoured ghosts of the young boys that he had loved deeply and decided the fate for, seemed like an incredible obstacle to throw at Creon.

You’ve made Creon a more sympathetic character than he appears to be in the original. What was your motivation for this?

I very purposefully deepened the conflict in this character because I was uninterested in a two dimensional right vs. wrong argument and more interested in the struggles we face in the everyday human experience. These choices aren’t easy. Human conflict is never easy. The richer the characters are, the more difficult it is to pick a side. My hope is that both Antigone and Creon are deeply passionate, potentially both right, and potentially both wrong. They are flawed, realistic humans, and it’s interesting to see those flaws.

Actually, you added the ghosts of the dead brothers earlier on including Eteocles’ spirit saying that the gods won’t accept him without his brother. We also see the dead Polynices “reviving” during the burial scenes.

Kelly Nelson (Eteocles) and Antonia Perez (Polynices) in rehearsal.

If the dead brothers have any agency in the story, and if they are going to mean anything, they have to be more present, so the audience has the opportunity to develop some sort of relationship with them. This gives them more power in the story. In making them more present, we can better understand their relationship to Antigone and in seeing them ask her for help, the audience can feel her heart strings being pulled. We see why it’s so important to her to fight this fight. Again, it ups the stakes and lets us view these moments rather than just talking about them.

For what purpose did you move much of the action from offstage to onstage?

I believe that asking an audience to psychologically be on the same journey as the character often causes them to invest more in what the outcome of the journey is. It’s my view that an audience should experience a play, not just watch it. Audiences are explorers, not spectators.

There is great attention in the play given to the burial ritual including the symbolism of the bracelets.

I read a book in a college drama course entitled Objects as Actors: Props and the Poetics of Performance in Greek Tragedy by Melissa Mueller. Objects as Actors charts a new approach to Greek tragedy based on an obvious, yet often overlooked, fact: Greek tragedy was meant to be performed with props. The works were incomplete without physical items—theatrical props.

In this case, I wanted to create a bit of plot line that could enhance the story via a prop, and endowing that prop with power in the storytelling. After doing research into the world of materialism in ancient Greece, I found that personal possessions held great meaning. We wanted to have a personal possession that did just that. Also something that could deepen the connections between characters. I brought in several objects to a rehearsal one day, and the bracelet idea really stuck. The moments the bracelets were used were then created by the actors in the room through devised composition work.

Do students need to be familiar with the role of women in 5th century Greek society in order to understand the audacity of Antigone’s actions?

Potentially. Part of the reason for casting this iteration of the project with all women/women+ is to empower these people. There are several times in the original Sophocles text when people tell Antigone “you are only a woman” in reference to something she can’t do. Also, there are several times when a character says “women can’t” do something. I tried to keep these moments to reflect on what the culture was back then and what the culture is now. My hope is that an audience of any kind, but particularly young people, will hear this and know that they can still fight for something they think is right. No matter what their gender.

Marcia Aubineau (right) with McKenna Kelly-Eiding and Marika Proctor at the opening of BASKERVILLE.

Interview conducted and dictated by Marcia Aubineau.

 

Announcing New Artist Fellowships

PARK SQUARE ANNOUNCES ARTIST FELLOWSHIPS

Program aims to increase the pipeline for under-represented artists


UPDATE: Submissions for the 2019 fellowships are now passed. Fellows will be announced March 1, 2019. Check back on this website in December 2019 for information on the next fellowship round.


MEDIA CONTACT: Connie Shaver, shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

Director Wendy Knox with Park Square Artistic Director, Flordelino Lagundino.

Saint Paul, Minn., January 7, 2019 – Flordelino Lagundino, Park Square Theatre’s John W. Harris Artistic Director, announces that applications are now being accepted for the pilot year of a new Artist Fellowship program at Park Square. “Fellowships gave me an inside track at some of the best theatres in the country, advancing my artistry and building my network,” says Lagundino, who assistant directed Blithe Spirit at The Guthrie as a New York Directing Fellow — an opportunity created by The Drama League Directors Project. “There is an industry-wide lack of arts leadership opportunities for people of color like myself, particularly early career artists. It’s important to me that in our work at Park Square we find ways to open doors and build a pipeline for all early career theatre artists, especially for marginalized communities such as indigenous, people of color, and LGBTQA artists, in order to create a greater sense of belonging for everyone in our community.”

The first year of the new theatre fellowship program is made possible by major grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Saint Paul’s Cultural STAR program. For the first round, Park Square will select eight early career artists from a state-wide, open application process.

PURPOSE AND DESCRIPTION

To help fill an industry-wide lack in arts leadership opportunities, Park Square is piloting a theatre fellowship program in 2019. Park Square will select eight early career artists from a state-wide, open application process which seeks to elevate a cohort of diverse artistic voices for stage. Fellows will deepen and develop new skills over their year in residence by participating in projects which will connect them to Park Square and the Saint Paul/larger Twin Cities’ community.

For the fellowship, there are four assistant directing tracks and four assistant designer tracks available (design may be in any theatrical design medium: set, costume, lights, props, sound, or projections). Each fellow will assist on two shows from early stages through final production, and will have a voice in production meetings, planning, rehearsals, and direct collaboration with lead production staff and the Artistic Director.

Collectively, the fellows will form a self-directed cohort of emerging leaders and may participate in the various department functions at Park Square in areas such as casting, season planning, carpentry, electrics, wardrobe or run crew, and in budgeting, human resources or marketing. Additionally, there will be opportunities to meet with artistic leaders at Park Square’s partner theatres as well as other area theatrical institutions. To involve the fellow cohort with the wider community, staff support, and dedicated resources will be provided to help each fellow create a engagement experience as a part of Park Square’s mission to center artmaking within the ongoing dialogue we have with our community.

At the end of the fellowship year, the cohort will participate in an Evening Cabaret Performance in which Twin Cities Artistic Leaders will be invited. This culminating event will be co-hosted with the MN Theatre Alliance.

Assistant Directing Fellows and Assistant Design Fellows will receive $4,000 for the year. Payments will made in two installments: mid-way through the year and at the culmination of the project.

Park Square’s community partners in this program include Springboard for the Arts, the MN Theatre Alliance, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Theatre Mu, the History Theatre, PRIME Productions, and the East Side Freedom Library.

This is a new program and 2019 is the pilot year. Feedback will be considered for the planning of future iterations and development of the program.

ELIGIBILITY

Applicants must to 18 years of age or older. Full-time students at any level are not eligible. Applicants must be eligible to receive taxable income in the state of Minnesota throughout the fellowship year and must have been living or working in Minnesota for at least two years. IPOC, woman+ and LGBTQIA+ peoples are encouraged to apply.

APPLICATION TIMELINE


UPDATE: Submissions for the 2019 fellowships are now passed. Fellows will be announced March 1, 2019. Check back on this website in December 2019 for information on the next fellowship round.


SELECTION

Applications are reviewed by a panel comprised of Artistic Director Flordelino Lagundino, Associate Artistic Director Laura Leffler, and two other artistic associates. Applications will be judged upon the following criteria: (1) adherence to the application guidelines, (2) artistic quality displayed in the work sample, and (3) strength of written materials.

IPOC, LGBTQIA2+, and woman+ peoples are encouraged to apply.

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

TRIPLE ESPRESSO: Friendship that endures past the failures

TRIPLE ESPRESSO: Friendship that endures past the failures

Let’s Hear it for the “Losers” 

by Michael Pearce Donley

 

I’ve done two shows at Park Square Theatre, and they have a number of things in common. 2 Pianos 4 Hands, and Triple Espresso were both written by the original performers of the show, (I, along with my partners Bob Stromberg and Bill Arnold, co-wrote Triple Espresso). I play the piano in both. Both contain an unlikely callback to the movie Chariots of Fire. Both contain all-male casts. Both are comedies with heart.

Both shows are about “losers.”

2 Pianos 4 Hands follows the story of 2 friends/rivals who strive to become renowned concert pianists, only to realize they’re just not good enough.

Peter Vitale and Michael Pierce Donley in 2 PIANOS, 4 HANDS. 2014.  Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma.

Triple Espresso follows a trio of comic performers from the 1970s hoping to make it big. One blunder after another leads them to the edge of obscurity, culminating in a career-ending performance on live national television.

Bill Arnold, Michael Pierce Donley, and Bob Stromberg in TRIPLE ESPRESSO

I’m drawn to the “losers” in these shows. I put the word in quotes because one can lose a dream but win at humanity.

2 Pianos 4 Hands ends with two friends drinking beer, listening to a Vladimir Horowitz recording. My character spits out, “I could have played Carnegie Hall!” Then reality sets in. We are not the best in the world, the best in the country, the best in the city; but maybe, just maybe, we’re the best in the neighborhood. We smile at each other, go to our pianos, and for the love of the music, play our hearts out to end the show.

Triple Espresso is a show about friendship that endures past the failures. It’s the kind of friendship that will live beyond the final number, because despite all the mistakes, these guys have a genuine affection for each other. The one thing they really share is their collective failure, and at final glance, they survived together. That’s not so bad.

Because here’s the thing. Almost none of us is the best. 99% of us are not the best athlete, the best artist, the best business leader, the best parent, friend, student, lover, human. That’s a lot of “losers,” if you think about it. We may be good, very good, even great, but there’s always someone better, right?

Fellow actor/musician Peter Vitale and I never did a perfect performance of the final piece in 2 Pianos 4 Hands. When we played that 8-minute Bach concerto, we really were coaxing each other through, leading and following, making mistakes and encouraging each other forward, and when the final chord was played, the breath we released was real. It was the feeling of being alive, the best in the neighborhood.

After performing Triple Espresso over 3500 times, my partners and I still mess up. We’re not perfect performers or comedians, but we own this little piece of stage for 2 hours every night and evoke genuine laughter, not because we’re perfect but because we’re honest.

So, let’s hear it for the 99% of us who are not the very best. I kind of like us this way.


logo for Triple Espresso - stylized coffee cup and hand drawn type in black, red, and grey on white backgroundTriple Espresso is on stage at Park Square Theatre through January 13.

Family-friendly fun for all ages!

Buy Tickets!


Michael Pearce Donley is a theater artist, singer, pianist and writer. He works full time at Eagle Brook Church as Associate Creative Director. He and his wife Joy live in Maplewood.

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