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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

Meet Sonya Berlovitz, Rule of Thumb Costume Designer

Meet Sonya Berlovitz, Rule of Thumb Costume Designer

 Bringing a Classic Murder Mystery to Life — It’s All in the Details!

Agatha Christie: Rule of Thumb written by critically acclaimed mystery writer Dame Agatha Christie will be performed at Park Square Theatre July 12-August 25. The play includes three thrilling one-act murder mysteries with steamy love triangles, sinister plot twists and of course — murder and mayhem! We know you love coming to the theater to see exciting plays like this one, but did you know the process of bringing it all together is just as interesting? We spoke to Sonya Berlovitz (costume designer for Rule of Thumb) about how fashion, historical research, and vintage photography helped her capture the essence of the characters in the story and its themes.

What inspired your costume concept for the show? Is there anything in particular that you are utilizing (a specific historical era, object or piece of artwork) to inform your thinking about costumes?

Sonya: I did a lot of background research on film noir and early black and white films — Austene was very interested in that feeling for the first two scenes. She and I spent time looking at different eras and fashions of the time. We landed on the late 50’s for The Rats, the 30’s and 40’s for The Patient, and the 1910s for The Wasp’s Nest. The Rats needed to have a black and white and angular feel to it. The Patient has the coldness and sterility of a medical setting and The Wasp’s Nest takes place in a garden. Each scene takes place in a different season, which was also a factor in the costume concepts. For The Patient, there are lots of coats because it’s winter.

Sonya BerlovitzWas there anything challenging about this show or finding the appropriate costumes to support the story?

Sonya: I looked at vintage photographs; there are so many from these eras available. I sometimes find a personality in them that have the same feel as the character, and that’s inspiring. The challenge is: how do you give each piece a period feel without being spot on in every detail? I often play with modern elements in my designs, even for period shows. It’s a way of letting the audience into the story so they’re not just watching a museum piece.

 

Sonya BerlovitzWhat motivated you to become a costume designer and what advice would you give someone considering becoming one?

Sonya: My mother was a professional seamstress and I was involved in community theater very early on, so it’s always been a second home for me. I studied painting and fashion in school, which I worked in for a while, but eventually found my way back to theater. I would tell future costume designers to study what inspires you the most; for me it was painting and fashion. And on a more practical level, work as much as you can. There is something to learn from every job no matter how big or small.

Sonya Berlovitz is also costume designer for Park Square’s upcoming production of Pride & Prejudice, which will be performed on our proscenium stage Nov 15-Dec 22.

Interview by Rebecca Nichloson, Marketing Manager

Meet Leslie and Zach of Jefferson Township

Meet Leslie and Zach of Jefferson Township

Jefferson Township’s Delightful Journey from the Minnesota Fringe Festival to Park Square Theatre: Conversations with Actors Leslie Vincent and Zach Garcia

An irreverent, bold musical satire about a talent show in a small town opened Friday, June 21 on Park Square’s Boss stage. Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant, a new play about a pageant competition in rural Jefferson Township, tells the story of Frannie Foster Wallace — a thirty-something who must come to terms with her own personal failures after moving back to her  hometown. We reached out to Leslie Vincent and Zach Garcia, who play “Val” and “Travis” in the show, to talk about what it was like developing this musical comedy at Park Square after its first premiere at The Minnesota Fringe Festival in 2017.

Jefferson Township was first presented at the Minnesota Fringe Festival and has gone through an extensive workshop process here at Park Square. How has it and you, as performers and theatre makers, evolved along with it?

Leslie: The production value that Park Square can add to a piece really makes it special. This version has so many elements that we couldn’t pull off in a Fringe setting. The costumes, lights, and set we have now are magical. I’ve grown so much during this process. I’ve become a more flexible, confident, and joyful performer. I’ve learned to take wild risks with abandon because it’s more fun that way. When I’m out there on stage, singing Keith’s beautiful harmonies or cracking one of his jokes, I’m truly in heaven.

Headshot of actor Zach GarciaZach: In a Fringe festival setting, we had to challenge the audience to suspend their disbelief with certain plot points and character relationships due to the confinement of time. With this full-length version of the play, it felt great to evolve and deepen our characters, their relationships to each other and their stories. The cast has lived with these characters for two years, and to begin to adjust and refine the way we think about them was the biggest thrill and challenge in this workshop process.

What is the most important takeaway for the show (how do you want the audience to feel when they leave the theatre)?

Leslie:  I hope people can feel a sense of camaraderie with us. Everyone feels lost in their lives at some point. Everyone struggles with life’s unexpected shifts. These characters are over the top, but at the end of the day their struggle to find success and meaning in their lives isn’t that far-fetched.

Zach: I hope the audience walks away feeling that they’re exactly where they’re supposed to be in life. The beautiful thing about Keith’s writing is that he works with universal themes that span generations. Everybody has felt anxiety or uncertainty about where they are or what they are supposed to have accomplished by a certain point. My sincere hope is that every audience member can leave the theater knowing that it’s okay to not have all the answers and to remember to laugh their way through their own journey.

What character in the story do you most identify with and why?

Headshot of actor Leslie Vincent

Leslie Vincent

Leslie:  “Val” was written with me in mind, so obviously I most identify with her (#TEAMVAL). I love her brashness, wit, determination, and fearlessness. I also love all of my costumes — I want to wear more hot pink track suits in my day-to-day life.

Zach: The greatest gift in my career has been working with Keith, who writes stories specifically for the actor in that role.  “Travis” was loosely based on me and my life. He has a huge heart, is immensely loyal and cherishes the people close to him; I relate to all of these qualities. I spent a large portion of my childhood in rural Wisconsin. I know the pleasure of kicking it on the back of a truck bed with friends or hanging out in a parking lot. Another huge link to me is the role of being a father. When we first performed this piece at the Fringe Festival two years ago, my wife and I had just begun the discussion about starting a family. Fast forward to now and we’ve welcomed our son Oliver — three days before we went into rehearsals at Park Square!  Art imitates life I guess.

Tickets for Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant are available HERE!

Picture of girl putting a tiara on her head and looking surprised.Interview by Rebecca Nichloson, Marketing Manager.

Small Town Talent Show Turns to Mayhem

Small Town Talent Show Turns to Mayhem

SMALL TOWN TALENT SHOW TURNS TO MAYHEM in

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP SPARKLING JUNIOR TALENT PAGEANT

World Premiere Musical Comedy

 Park Square Theatre’s summer fare kicks off on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage with the world premiere of Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant (June 14 – July 28, 2019), with book, music and lyrics by Keith Hovis. Described as Avenue Q meets The Book of Mormon with a little bit of Heathers mixed in, this newly created irreverent, hummable, and heartfelt musical reflects the quirks of small-town life. In 1997, a contestant died onstage and permanently ended the popular local talent pageant. Twenty years later, Frannie Foster Wallace still blames all her failures in life on losing out on the chance to become Jefferson’s Sparkling Junior Champion. That is, until she gets the chance for a rematch with the surviving contestants.

The work, which had its first stage of development as part of the 2017 Fringe Festival, will be directed by Park Square’s Laura Leffler. “When I saw Jefferson at the Fringe, I was elated,” says Leffler. “Here was this hilarious musical with a story that really is as heart-wrenching as it is heart-warming, and it was just shimmering with potential. There was this lightning energy in the room, and I wanted to bring that to Park Square. It’s been so rewarding to workshop the piece with Keith and the performers over the last nine months. The music is fun, catchy, and down-right gorgeous.”

The original cast of Zach Garcia (Travis Hernandez), Kelly Houlehan (Frannie Foster Wallace) , Ryan London Levin (Liam Ackermann), and Leslie Vincent (Valerie Hutchinson) returns in the new full-length version with added songs and plot twists. “When Keith and his cast came to the theatre a year ago to give our staff (most of whom are under 40, if not under 30), a sample of the script and a few songs, they laughed until they had tears in their eyes,” says Executive Director Michael-jon Pease. “We knew we had to take on this sweet story that speaks to today’s young adults. Regardless of generation, so many of us can relate to those moments when you feel like you’re not getting where you want to go in life and remember back to that ‘on top of the world/endless possibilities’ feelings of childhood.”

The production team for Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant includes Ursula Bowden (Set Designer), Mike Kittel (Lighting Designer), Jake Davis (Sound Designer), Brian Pekol (Music Director), Antonia Perez (Choreographer), Foster Johns (vocal coach), Abbee Warmboe (Properties Designer), Tyler Olsen-Highness (FX Designer), Hannah Holman (Dramaturg), Rubble&Ash (Co-costumers), Laura Topham* (Stage Manager) and Jared Zeigler* (Assistant Stage Manager). Sophie Peyton is the Assistant Director. *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 parksquaretheatre.org.   #PSTSparkle

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Previews: June 14 – 20, 2019

Opening Night: June 21, 2019

Regular Run: June 21 – Jul 28, 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

PHOTOS by Petronella J Ytsma 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

Flying Foot Forum Returns to Park Square

Flying Foot Forum Returns to Park Square

HEAVEN

Flying Foot Forum’s emotional, dance filled musical returns

MEDIA CONTACT
Connie Shaver, shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

Park Square Theatre and Flying Foot Forum present Heaven, on the Proscenium stage from May 31 through June 23, 2019. Created and directed by Joe Chvala, H

EAVEN is a choreographic blend of frenzied dancing, music and theatre set in war-torn Bosnia during the 1990s. The production features Orkestar Bez Ime, a Balkan party band, music by Chan Poling (The Suburbs, Glensheen) Joe Chvala, Victor Zupanc, and Natalie Nowytski, and actors who sing and speak in English and Serbo-Croatian as this story steeped in history celebrates the Bosnian culture and the dignity of those who lived through the war.

Heaven was first presented in March 2011 at the Guthrie’s Dowling Theatre. That production was ironically timed as the Arab Spring uprising was engulfing Egypt. Chvala is finding the messages of the play are as timely today as they were in 2011.

“Heaven is a show of sharp contrasts, filled with beautiful music, love stories and raucous dancing, as it brings us inside the violence of the Bosnian War,” said Chvala. “It is a cautionary tale of the need to find common ground rather than fight those who are different from us.”

The play begins in a café, the crowd singing Bosnian songs. Photo journalist Peter Adamson is documenting the war and is frustrated that his photos are not prompting the world to take action. He finds himself on a journey with his translator Faruk to save Faruk’s wife. Amid the horrors of war, there is humor, love and hope as the characters try to maintain their humanity. “This is theater that grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you in your seat.” (How Was the Show)

The production is enriched by a series of public events created in partnership by Park Square Theatre, Flying Foot Forum, World Without Genocide, The St Paul Rotary Club and the Minneapolis University Rotary Club to take audiences into the heart of the Bosnian War, genocide and through the transitional justice efforts that have followed in the decades since the war ended. Next up:

Exhumations and Justice

Post-show conversation following the Sunday, June 16 performance

A discussion following the performance will be led by Dr. Andrew Baker, Hennepin County Medical Examiner, who served as a forensic pathologist in Kosovo.

Sex Trafficking and Genocide

Film The Whistleblower and FBI talk on sex trafficking

Tuesday, June 11, 7:00 p.m.
Mitchell Hamline School of Law, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul

This 2010 biographical crime drama starring Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave is the story of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska police officer recruited as a UN peacekeeper for DynCorp International in post-war Bosnia in 1999. While there, she discovered a sex trafficking ring serving (and facilitated by) DynCorp employees, with the UN’s SFOR peacekeeping force turning a blind eye. A post-film talk will be moderated by FBI Special Agent Michael Melcher of the sex trafficking unit.

 

The production team for Heaven includes Emma Lai (Assistant Director); Jake Endres (Music Director); Robin Mcintyre (Scenic Design); Cindy Forsgren (Costume Design); Kirby Moore (Properties Design); Marcus Dilliard (Lighting Design); Cody Anderson (Sound Design); Steve Campbell (Video Design); Stela O’Center (Language and Culture Consultant); Joe Papke (Dialect Coach); Rachel Lantow *(Stage Manager);and Paran Kashani (Assistant Stage Manager)

CAST:

Jeremy Bensussan

Jan Campbell

Joe Chvala

Peter Colburn

Michelle de Joya

Ariel Donahue

Kevin Dustrude

Mary Gantenbein

Karla Grotting

Liam Hage

Christian LaBissoniere

Cooper Lajeunesse

Helena Magalhaes

Riley McNutt

Natalie Nowytski

Charles Robison

Jessica Staples

Molly Stoltz

Nicolas Sullivan

Lara Trujillo

Eric Webster

Joe Weismann

Mabel Weismann

 

BAND

Colleen Bertsch

Jeffrey Gram

Jake Endres

Scott Keever

Eric Ray

Ticket prices: Previews: $20-$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 parksquaretheatre.org.   #PSTHeaven

*Member, Actors Equity Association

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Heaven

Park Square’s Proscenium Stage

Previews: May 31 – June 6, 2019

Opening Night: June 7

Regular Run: June 7 – 23, 2019

Tickets: Previews: $20-$37; Regular Run: $25-$60

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

Ticket office: 651-291-7005 or parksquaretheatre.org

 

UP NEXT ON THE PARK SQUARE PROSCENIUM STAGE:

The world premiere of:

Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant

Book and Lyrics by Keith Hovis

Directed by and Laura Leffler

Previews: June 14 – 20, 2019

Opening Night: June 21

Regular Run: June 21 – July 28, 2019

 

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

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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

Film and Talk, Rape: A Crime Against Humanity

Film and Talk, Rape: A Crime Against Humanity

Event Notice and Special Guest Blog by Ellen J. Kennedy, Ph.D., Executive Director, World Without Genocide

Please join Park Square on Sunday May 19 at 1:30 pm, for a screening of the documentary film I Came to Testify, followed by a conversation with Judge Peggy Kuo, one of the lead prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal of former Yugoslavia (ICTY), who is featured in the film.

Film and Talk, Rape: A Crime Against Humanity

Sunday, May 19, 1:30 pm
Park Square Theatre, Proscenium Stage

Screening: I Came to Testify. Run time, 50 minutes
Talk: Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo, Eastern District of New York
Interviewed by John Docherty, Assistant United States Attorney in Minnesota

I Came to Testify is the moving story of how a group of 16 women who had been imprisoned by Serb-led forces in the Bosnian town of Foča broke history’s great silence – and stepped forward to take the witness stand in an international court of law. This historic trial changed international law, designating rape as a crime against humanity and a crime of genocide. We are honored to be joined by Judge Peggy Kuo, who played a critical role in the trial.

This event is part of the series Justice After Genocide*, a series of events presented in anticipation of the upcoming play Heaven, Theatre in Residence Flying Foot Forum’s theatrical look into war-torn Bosnia through music, dance, and story. To deepen our collective understanding of the conflict and of the challenges faced in the war’s aftermath, Park Square is collaborating with World Without Genocide and The Flying Foot Forum to offer this series.

Tickets:
$10 general public, $5 seniors and students; $25 for lawyers’ CLE credits at most programs; ‘clock hours’ for educators. Purchase tickets at the door, no advance registration is required.

Rape Camps

by Ellen J. Kennedy, Ph.D.
Executive Director, World Without Genocide

People do unspeakable things during war. They view the ‘other’ as less than human and behave in ways that most of us could not even imagine. That was the situation during the war in Bosnia in the 1990s.

Bosnian Serbs abducted Muslim women and girls, brought them to unused schools, hotels, and other buildings, and imprisoned them for months at a time, subjecting them to sexual slavery and cruelty. These places of horror became known as ‘rape camps.’

As the war escalated, an international court was created for the first time since World War II to prosecute the worst perpetrators of the conflict. This court, known as the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, was operated by the United Nations.

One of the many cases was the trial of three leaders of the ‘rape camps.’ The prosecution team was led by three remarkable women: Tejshree Thapa from Nepal, Hildegard Retzlaff from Germany, and Peggy Kuo, an American.

These prosecutors were determined to seek justice. First, however, was the very difficult challenge of finding women survivors who were willing to testify. To speak about their horrors meant reliving the trauma. It also meant that, like women everywhere who have been subjected to sexual violence, they felt shamed and ruined; and now they were being asked to publicly acknowledge what had happened to them. In addition, these women were likely to face deadly intimidation or retribution if they testified. Ultimately, many women came forward and spoke the truth of what had been done to them.

All three defendants were found guilty. More than that, however, the prosecutors changed international law. Rape is now a crime against humanity and a crime of genocide. These women prosecutors, like other women in the legal profession, brought a gendered perspective into that courtroom – and influenced gendered justice around the world.

Peggy Kuo, one of those fierce and determined prosecutors at that trial, will be here on May 19. Join us at Park Square Theatre to meet her and to see the remarkable documentary about the trial.

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 2010 and remains today.

Information about JUSTICE AFTER GENOCIDE at: https://parksquaretheatre.org/programs-justice-after-genocide/
Information about HEAVEN at: https://parksquaretheatre.org/box-office/shows/2018-19/heaven/

Justice After Genocide 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.

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.

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!

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.