Press Release

Run Wild with Madagascar-A Musical Adventure Jr.

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

Media Contact – Rachel Wandrei wandrei@parksquaretheatre.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Great fun for anyone 3 +

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

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

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

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

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Announcing Saint Paul Summer Sunlight

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

Media Contact – Rachel Wandrei wandrei@parksquaretheatre.org 

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

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

Ready Freddie

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

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

MsArnise

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

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

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

TaikoArts Midwest

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

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

CALENDAR INFORMATION*:

The Champagne Drops

The Champagne Drops

Thurs Jul 22, 12:00 pm – Full Circle Theater Company 
Thurs Aug 5, 4:30 pm – Ready Freddie: A Queen Experience
Thurs Aug 12, 12:00 pm – Legacy Arts Group
Thurs Aug 12, 4:30 pm – The Champagne Drops
Thurs Aug 19, 4:30 pm – MsArnise
Thurs Aug 26, 12:00 pm – TaikoArts Midwest
Thurs Sep 9, 4:30 pm – Annie and the Bang Bang
Fri Sep 10, 12:00 pm – Ben Cook-Feltz
Wed Sep 15, 12:00 pm – TBA
Thurs Sep 23, 4:30 pm – The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society 
*All performances subject to change. For continuous updates, visit parksquaretheatre.org. 

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

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

Ben Cook-Feltz

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

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

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TEARS OF MOONS Released for February Streaming

‘TEARS OF MOONS’ RELEASED FOR STREAMING BY PARK SQUARE THEATRE  

Saint Paul, Minn., January 28, 2021 – Next month, Park Square Theatre will offer its production of TEARS OF MOONS, by Antonio Duke and directed by Ellen Fenster, for a full month of streaming access. The play was filmed on Park Square’s Boss Stage and shown through Zoom in November of 2020 along with live post-show conversations. The rerelease, along with a recorded conversation between Duke, Fenster, and Rie Gilsdorf of Embody Equity, will be available at a reduced price for streaming on Park Square’s website from February 1-28, 2021. 

A young black man sits in a bus stop. He has an African mask and backpack with him.

Antonio Duke, photo by Aaron Fenster.

TEARS OF MOONS moves quickly through history – aboard the number 5 bus – bearing witness to the pervasiveness of violence against Black people in our shared history. Structured around The Poet, a Homeric narrator wrestling with his own rage and ineffectuality, Duke deftly weaves in other characters, victims of racial violence, some recognizable from news headlines and others representing the lost stories of many. Both personal and expansive, the play combines African spiritual figures and mythology with Greek epic theatre to reckon with the past and share a vision of strength. “The heartache and resiliency of the black spirit is as old as time itself,” says playwright and performer Antonio Duke, “Unfortunately, it is newly being tested time and time again. I want to ignite a fire within the audience’s spirit.” 

The streaming release corresponds with the long-planned offering of the play to Park Square’s large middle and high school audience during Black History month and the theatre expects a national reach as well. “A sociology teacher in Baltimore brought some of her students to the original shows, recounts director Ellen Fenster, who is also part of Park Square’s artistic planning cohort, and director of the theatre’s acclaimed zoom production of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK. By offering on-demand streamingTEARS OF MOONS can better serve people in and beyond Minnesota.” 

“This is a time of recognizing and reckoning,” she continues. “This play is a witness not only to our history, but how we might grapple with this moment. It is a witness to the truth and the challenge we have before us.”  

TICKET PRICES: Streaming access $10, intended for one household. 

Tickets are availalbe at www.parksquaretheatre.org.

School groups can contact education@parksquaretheatre.org for more information. 

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

CALENDAR INFORMATION: Streaming Feb 1-28, 2021 

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

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

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Park Square play honored by BroadwayWorld

Karen Landry and Edwin Strout in 33 Variations.

The 2020 BroadwayWorld Minneapolis awards were announced January 12, 2020, and Park Square was honored to have its 2015 production of 33 Variations, named “Production of a Play of the Decade.”  The public submitted the nominees and voted for their favorites. Thank you to everyone who supported Park Square!
33 Variations, by Moisés Kaufman and directed by James Rocco, followed the journey of a musicologist, Katherine, to understand why Beethoven was compelled to write thirty-three distinct variations on a simple theme. Park Square’s production featured the late Karen Landry as Katherine and Edwin Strout as Beethoven, with piano by Irena Elkina.
Among other artists and companies recognized, Park Square fans will recognize Jeffrey Hatcher (Riddle Puzzle Plot, Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders) for his Glensheen at the History Theatre, James Rocco, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts!

See the full list of winners.

Upcoming Radio Shows Announced!

MYSTERIOUS OLD RADIO LISTENING SOCIETY ANNOUNCES UPCOMING SHOWS FOR MONTHLY PARK SQUARE THEATRE RESIDENCY 

Four Zoom squares with actors taking bows. They are in their homes surrounded by sound effects tools and twinkling lights.

Clockwise from upper left: Eric Webster, Tim Uren, Joshua English Scrimshaw, Shanan Custer

Saint Paul, Minn., Dec 3, 2020 – Theatre people of all stripes may miss the buzz of a full house, but the dedicated MYSTERIOUS OLD RADIO LISTENING SOCIETY continues finding new ways to entertain. Coming up, they have five new radio shows, continuing their monthly Monday night residency with Park Square Theatre. Themes will include evenings dedicated to cold weather, H.P. Lovecraft, and to dreamsPerformances are on Zoom on Jan 25, Feb 22, Mar 15, Apr 19 and May 24 at 7:30 p.m. 

The group originally pivoted to the pandemic by producing audio-only radio plays, but after applause for a zoom-recorded recreation of Orson Welles’s A Christmas Carol, all upcoming shows will be videos of the actors performing both their lines and creating the sound effects. “This is us in our homes performing on zoom,” says company member Eric Webster, “we do all the characters and all the foley and then edit it together. One audience member commented on how fun it was “seeing Tim literally change his hats to play different characters.”  

“Creating video, not just audio, gets us closer to the on-stage experience we were creating pre-pandemic,” says company member Joshua English Scrimshaw. “More than just remaking our favorites, we create something fresh from the golden-age shows that we all love so much, like Escape and Suspense.” The upcoming shows will be a combination of recreations of classic works, like a 1949 episode of Quiet Please in which scientists discover a gateway to a strange frozen dimension, and homages written by the company themselves, such as their ongoing series, Dead Men’s Tales. Full descriptions of the upcoming shows are available on the Park Square website. 

Another unforeseen benefit from the groupmove to virtual programming has been the ability to reach a national audience of mystery and radio fans. The December show reached audiences in 16 states including many delighted first-time attendees. “We knew we had some followers out there from our podcast, but it is amazing to have folks tuning in from D.C. to California,” says Webster. While some audience members are deep devotees of radio excited to have the opportunity to watch the show, otherhave shared their appreciation of being able to connect to remote friends and family through watching the shows together.  

Each evening includes live trivia-worthy introductions by the company and two prerecorded half hour radio dramas, followed by a live chat Q & A. “The Q & A’s are the best part,” says Webster. “We could just let the audience go sometimes, they are so smart and funny. We laugh and have a great time together.”  

 Members of The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society include local theatrical favorites: Eric Webster (Shade’s Brigade), Shanan Custer (2 Sugars, Room for Cream), Joshua English Scrimshaw (Comedy Suitcase) and Tim Uren (Ghoulish Delights). Online technical support and video editing by Aaron Fiskradatz.

TICKET PRICES: 
All Tickets $18. Intended for a single-household.
3-show packages also available for $36.
Tickets are on sale at parksquaretheatre.org 

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

CALENDAR INFORMATION: 
January 25, February 22, March 15, April 19, May 24. 
All performances at 7:30 pm. 
Streaming access to the pre-recorded portions of each show are available to ticket holders for one month following the initial release. 

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

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

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VISIT THE GOLDEN AGE OF RADIO (AND CHRISTMAS!)

VISIT THE GOLDEN AGE OF RADIO (AND CHRISTMAS) WITH THE MYSTERIOUS OLD RADIO LISTENING SOCIETY’S RECREATION OF THE 1939 BROADCAST OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

Gathering around the radio to listen Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was a treasured annual tradition from the 1930s to 1950s. This year, Park Square Theatre and the Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society will present recreation of the 1939 Mercury Theatre broadcast of this holiday masterpiece, along with an interactive reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas, in which children – of all ages – are invited to create the sound effects, or foley as they call it in radio lingo. THE 1939 MERCURY THEATRE ON THE AIR – A CHRISTMAS CAROL will be shared on Zoom Dec 11, 12 and 13 and will be available for streaming through December. Dim the lights and join your loved ones, near or far, to tune in to the true meaning of Christmas. 

Adults will appreciate A Christmas Carol for its redemptive themes, while children are captivated by the familiar holiday trappings and the opportunity to be gently scared by a reassuring ghost story,” says Society company member Joshua English Scrimshaw. Ghost stories are traditional around the holiday time in England,” chimes in fellow company member Eric Webster. This story, howevercomes with the powerful feelgood ending of redemption. It’s about hope that things can change  people and circumstances, Webster added. “We all need hope that things can change for the better.

Three white men in Santa hats and Christmas sweaters holding vintage records.

The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society is left to right: Eric Webster, Joshua English Scrimshaw, and Tim Uren.

Since taking what was a monthly on-stage residency to Zoom, the group has performed adaptations ranging from Agatha Christie to Bram Stokerrecreating lost radio episodes (Scrimshaw’s Peter Lorre impression is spot on) and even writing their own original scripts. Until now, these shows have been audioonly radio dramas for the audience to listen to, but A CHRISTMAS CAROL takes it a step farther. “This will be us in our homes performing on zoom,” says Webster. “We do all the characters and all the foley and then edit it together. You’ll be able to watch us perform it, not just hear the audio of our performance.” 

As for why to tackle Christmas Carol, Webster exclaims, “It’s right up our alley! It’s a ghost story, and fits into our wheelhouse of suspense, crime and horror stories from the golden age of radioPlus, The Mercury Theater and Lionel Barrymore’s performance of Scrooge was  fantastic, and Orson Welles’s adaptation is one of the best ever done. 

Of course, some modifications will be made to adapt and translate the 1939 radio version to a 2020 Zoom production. For example, “Music – we don’t have a full orchestra like they had,” says Webster. “We have four actors playing all the parts, where they had one actor per character.  Other than that, we are staying as true as possible to the original broadcast.” And one more important thing, notes Scrimshaw, “for the sake of both variety and parity, we cast Shanan Custer in a number of roles traditionally played by men.” 

As Park Square enters a partnership with SteppingStone Theatre for Youth, the theatre wanted to bring a family element to the production. Webster has already released a video teaching young people (or anyone who wants to join in the fun) how to create a range of sound effects from “a clatter” to “reindeer on roof” using common household items. Ticket holders will receive a script with cues, and before each zoom performance, the company will perform a live reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas with prompts for the audience to use their new skills to create the sound effects themselves.  

As for how the audience can expect to feel after the show, Webster is enthusiastic. “Joyful!  Hopeful! You can’t help to examine your own life after A CHRISTMAS CAROL, to check in to make sure you are holding on to what really matters in life – family and friends. That’s the true spirit of Christmas. 

Members of The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society include local theatrical favorites: Eric Webster (Shade’s Brigade), Shanan Custer (2 Sugars, Room for Cream), Joshua English Scrimshaw (Comedy Suitcase) and Tim Uren (Ghoulish Delights). Online technical support by Aaron Fiskradatz. 

TICKET PRICES: All Tickets $30. Intended for a single-household. Tickets are on sale at www.parksquaretheatre.org 

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

CALENDAR INFORMATION: 
Dec. 11, 12 at 7:30 pm, Dec 13 at 2:00 pm
Streaming on Park Square’s website Dec 14- Jan 3. 

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

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

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TEARS OF MOONS GRAPPLES WITH HISTORY

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

Media Contact – Connie Shaver shaver@parksquaretheatre.org 

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE ARTISTS 

TEARS OF MOONS is performed entirely by Antonio Duke. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Park Square and SteppingStone Theatre to Join Forces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artistic and Executive leadership

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

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

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

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

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Thrills and Chills for Every Taste!

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

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

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

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

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

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

*member, Actors’ Equity Association

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Park Square and SteppingStone spread autumn joy for all ages!

Media Contact:
Connie Shaver  shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

Saint Paul, Minn., Sept 30, 2020 – Newly partnered Park Square Theatre and SteppingStone Theatre are springing into action with virtual programs to keep audiences connected with friends and family through the autumn, embodying their concept of being “your theatre home for life” even during the pandemic. Online programs, theatre classes, a ghoulish variety show, outdoor Halloween family day, and a one-man epic play offer diverse ways to enjoy theatre – while safely at home or socially distanced – in the coming months.

While school is out for MEA Break, SteppingStone is bringing families two full days of active moving and making with VIRTUAL MEA FUN DAYS. Young people from Pre-K through 6th-grade are invited to join in live from their living room on October 15 and 16. Pre-K & K will explore “A Monster’s Dilemma,” 1st – 3rd-grade will create “Spooky Stories and Spaces,” and 4th – 6th-graders will uncover the “Legend of the Haunted.” Activities for each age will include active theatre games, creating physical props and projects, and inventing their own original play with their virtual cohort.

Monster-madness continues as The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society gets their monthly residency into the Halloween spirit with OLD-TIME RADIO: FRANKENSTEIN (October 19).  Two original stories each written and performed in the style of a classic radio series, including commercials, music and sound effects, will honor Mary Shelley’s iconic tale.  “Long Live Frankenstein,” by Tim Uren, follows the path of Captain Walton’s ship through deadly arctic conditions to capture the legendary creature, while in Joshua English Scrimshaw’s “Inglorious Monsters,” a scientist reanimates the dead to create the perfect soldier!

Keep Halloween spirits high and your family safe with FAMILY DAY OUT: HALLOWEEN EDITION, hosted by Steppingstone Theatre in collaboration with Park Square (October 25). From noon to 4:00 PM, come to the West 7th Place Plaza (outside of Park Square Theatre in Downtown St. Paul) for socially distanced trick-or-treating, a pumpkin contest, costume parade and outdoor artmaking. The cherry on top? Two performances of Mixed Precipitation’s PICKUP TRUCK OPERA in the center of the plaza. Admission will be limited for the safety of all with pre-registration available to reserve your spot.

Park Square Mainstage then presents THEATRE OF THE MACABRE, a three-chapter online variety series (Oct 29, 30 and 31, 2020) hosted by Twin Cities actor/director Craig Johnson, all to benefit Park Square. The three unique pre-recorded evening performances are filled with horrifying tales of terror, true ghost stories, and monologues and scenes from Edgar Allan Poe to William Shakespeare! Performers include local favorites Ann Daly, Hope Nordquist, Mo Perry, Tinne Rosenmeier, Laura Salveson, Eric Sharp, Dane Stauffer and The Orchard Theatre Collective: Anna Leverett, Damian Leverett, Ben Shaw and Mackenzie Shaw, with special appearances by Robert Francis Cole and Zachary Zito. “It’s a delight getting to know the work of so many talented Twin Cities artists,” says Producing Director Kim Vasquez. “Every evening a new spine-chilling chapter will haunt you with terror and thrills for every taste.” Theatre of the Macabre is produced and directed by Kim Vasquez and co-directed by Craig Johnson.

Get ready for 4 weeks of active imagination and bodies during SteppingStone’s FALL VIRTUAL STUDIOS, beginning Nov 3. These youth-driven cohorts will be captivated as they join a band of superheroes and devise their own adventure-play, explore social and climate justice through theatre, or create an original improv comedy show. Classes are available for 18-month-olds through high school students.

Early in TEARS OF MOONS (Nov 19 – 22, 2020) the vast scope of the one-man play becomes apparent. My job is called different things,” says The Poet. In West Africa, it’s called a Griot. In Greece; Homer. On Franklin and Chicago; Crazy.” Antonio Duke’s poetic tour-de-force travels through time – on the 5 bus – examining the impact and historic pervasiveness of the threat faced by Black people today. Deeply personal and encompassing an epic sweep of historical storytelling, Duke reckons with the violence and shares a vision of strength that interweaves Haitian, Nigerian, and Ghanian spiritual figures and mythology. The play will be directed by Ellen Fenster. “Well trained and highly charismatic, Duke uses his craft to give this piece light and pathos.” Star Tribune, 2018.

TICKET & REGISTRATION PRICES
Virtual MEA Fun Days: Pay-As-You’re-Able, valued at $175
Family Day Out: Halloween Edition: Pay-As-You’re-Able, valued at $25/family
Theatre of the Macabre: Individual Evenings $15, 3-Night Package $30
Fall Virtual Studios: Pay-As-You’re-Able, valued at $180
Tears of Moons: All Tickets $25

Park Square tickets are on sale at www.parksquaretheatre.org and SteppingStone registration can be found at www.steppingstonetheatre.org.
The ticket offices are temporarily closed due to corona virus. Please email tickets@parksquaretheatre.org  or education@steppingstonetheatre.org with questions.

CALENDAR INFORMATION
Virtual MEA Fun Days: Oct 15 & 16, 8:30 am —2:30 pm
Family Day Out: Halloween Edition: Oct 25 12—4 pm
Theatre of the Macabre: Oct 29, 30, 31 at 7:30 pm
Tears of Moons: Nov 19, 20, 21 at 7:30 pm, Nov 22 at 2:00 pm

PHOTOS
Available at: https://parksquaretheatre.org/media/photos/
Theatre of the Macabre: Craig Johnson. Photo by Craig Johnson
Tears of Moons: Antonio Duke. Photo by Brad Hildebrandt
Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr, performed on the 7th Street Plaza. Photo courtesy of SteppingStone Theatre

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

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Tickets

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

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

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

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