Press Release

ANNOUNCING FALL ONLINE PLAYS

FALL PLAYS AT PARK SQUARE OFFER COUNTERPOINT OF ONLINE FUN AND CONTEMPLATION

Media Contact – Connie Shaver
shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

Saint Paul, Minn., Sept 8, 2020 – With on stage performances on hiatus, Park Square Theatre’s new team of Artistic Associates is springing in to action with virtual programs to keep audiences connected with friends and family and with the greater community through the autumn. Two online programs, a Halloween variety show and a poetic reflection on racial violence, offer different ways to enjoy theatre – while safely at home – in the coming months.

Theatre of the Macabre 

For families looking for new experiences to fill the vacuum of Halloween parties and haunted houses, Park Square presents THEATRE OF THE MACABRE, a three night online variety series of ghoulish horror and fun-filled terror (Oct 29-31, 2020), with live and recorded performances hosted by Twin Cities actor/director Craig Johnson. Three unique nights will feature local true ghost stories by Twin City storytellers, actors and singers, and an array of monologue readings, scenes and songs that range from Edgar Allan Poe to William Shakespeare to Stephen Sondheim, along with other folkloric tales and poems.

Local performers include Tinne Rosenmeier and Dane Stauffer, with special appearances by Robert Francis Cole and Zachary Zito. The program will be co-directed by Kim Vasquez and Craig Johnson.

Buy Tickets to Theatre of the Macabre

Tears of Moons

A young man in a black hoodie. Next to him is an African mask.

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, its called a Griot. In Greece; Homer. On Franklin and Chicago; Crazy.” 

Antonio Dukes poetic tour-de-force travels through time-on the 5 bus – chronicling Americas ongoing epidemic of violence against Black people. Deeply personal and profoundly epic, Duke interweaves Haitian, Nigerian, and Ghanian spiritual figures and mythology to reckon with rage in the face of ceaseless bloodshed. Written and performed by Antonio Duke and directed by Ellen Fenster, the play was part of the 2018 Guthrie Emerging Artist Celebration and is being updated to conjure the present moment.

“Well trained and highly charismatic, Duke uses his craft to give this piece light and pathos.” Star Tribune, 2018.

Buy Tickets to Tears of Moons

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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“Plotting” out Theatre

PLOTTING OUT THEATRE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS INTERMISSION
PARK SQUARE ANNOUNCES NEW INTERACTIVE ONLINE MYSTERY

Media Contact – Connie Shaver shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

Saint Paul, Minn., June 23, 2020 – As theatres in Minnesota and around the country face an ongoing “intermission,” Park Square Theatre continues to create projects that keep audiences and artists connected. The latest is RIDDLE PUZZLE PLOT, an online interactive mystery written by acclaimed playwright Jeffrey Hatcher (SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SUICIDE CLUB; SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE ICE PALACE MURDERS), and directed by Warren C. Bowles (A RAISIN IN THE SUN; MY CHILDREN, MY AFRICA). The theatre would have been producing Hatcher’s play HOLMES AND WATSON on stage this summer, but rather than adapt an existing play that relies on stage tricks for a distanced production, this show is written expressly for the video chat medium. The story begins with an all-too-familiar premise: when a pandemic puts the kibosh on their annual summer scavenger hunt (as well as their acting gigs) a close-knit band of thespians take their game online.  But that is where the familiar ends. When someone winds up dead, the actors – and the audience – have to rush find the killer before the next life gets “disconnected.”  Full of secrets, clues and twisting plotlines the play will be a thrill for mystery lovers and theatre fans alike.

In a nod to classic mystery novels which were often serialized in magazines or newspapers, RIDDLE PUZZLE PLOT will be revealed in four episodes released weekly from July 24 –August 14. Audiences have the choice of streaming the episodes on their own schedule, or zooming in on Friday or Saturday nights for live introductions and post-play discussions (including hints to whodunit) with the cast and playwright, the episodes themselves being pre-recorded. One ticket will invite the ticketholder to all four episodes.

“Taking the summer mystery online in just a few weeks is a fun challenge,” notes Park Square’s executive director Michael-jon Pease. “We couldn’t have better partners than Jeffrey and Warren. Our core audience and new patrons around the country have been so engaged with our online productions – they keep pushing us to serve the mission in every way possible as we all endure the current health crisis.”

In May, Park Square released a Zoom-created production of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK – acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal – as well as a virtual festival of scenes from plays that will eventually be on stage. A monthly online residency with THE MYSTERIOUS OLD RADIO LISTENING SOCIETY easily transitioned from on stage to online.

The cast for RIDDLE PUZZLE PLOT includes local theatrical favorites: Aimee K. Bryant (A RAISIN IN THE SUN; NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN); Alessandra Bongiardina (ROMEO AND JULIET); Sun Mee Chomet (AUBERGINE); Pearce Bunting* (HOLMES AND WATSON); Shanan Custer (2 Sugars, Room for Cream, SOMETIMES THERE’S WINE); Rodolfo Nieto; and E.J. Subkoviak* (THE RED BOX, MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD, OF MICE AND MEN).

The production team includes Aaron Fiskradatz (Zoom Technician) and Lizzie Streif* (Stage Manager) *member, actors’ equity association

MORE ABOUT JEFFREY HATCHER:
Jeffrey Hatcher is a local playwright and screenwriter, beloved for home-grown work like the musical GLENSHEEN, with music by Chan Pohling. He wrote the stage play Compleat Female Stage Beauty, which he later adapted into a screenplay. He also co-wrote the stage adaptation of Tuesdays with Morrie with author Mitch Albom, and Three Viewings, a comedy consisting of three monologues – each of which takes place in a funeral home. He wrote the screenplay Casanova for director Lasse Hallström, as well as screenplays for The Duchess (2008); MR HOLMES (2015); and THE GOOD LIAR (2019). 

TICKET PRICES: All tickets $30.

Tickets are on sale at the www.parksquaretheatre.org.  
The ticket office is temporarily closed due to coronavirus. Please email tickets@parkquaretheatre.org with questions.

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Performances:

Friday Night Series: July 24, 31, Aug 7, 14 at 7:30 pm

Saturday Night Series: July 25, Aug 1, 8, 15 at 7:30 pm

Or streaming online through August 16.

Tickets: $30

Ticket office:  www.parksquaretheatre.org

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

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

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MORLS Summer Dates Announced

A 1940's radio, the dial is replaced with an image of the god, Pan. In the background are photos of Egyptian pyramids.

THE MYSTERIOUS OLD RADIO LISTENING SOCIETY
 ADDS DATES AND LOWERS TICKET PRICES FOR ONLINE SHOWS

Media Contact
Connie Shaver, shaver@parksquaretheatre.org 

Saint Paul, Minn., May 14, 2020 – After an exciting in-theatre launch earlier this year and now with two sold out online performances under their belt, The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society at Park Square Theatre is announcing new dates, new ticket prices and increasing the capacity of their virtual forays into old-time radio. With performances necessarily happening online for the foreseeable future, the Society has developed a rotation of lost episodes, original works and literary adaptions. Kicking off on Monday, June 15, the shows will feature live introductions and a post-show discussion along with pre-produced radio shows. “We’ve been seeing people dress up to come to the performances, they really get into it,” notes company member Joshua English Scrimshaw. “We’re thinking of sending out cocktails recipes for drinks featured in the shows, maybe have guest artists from around the country. We can do that now in this online world.”

Every month, the Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society revisits the greatest horror and suspense shows from the golden age of radio. Performed in the style of a classic radio broadcast, each show includes original commercials, eerie music and live sound effects. Asked why they are pre-recording the scripted part of the radio shows, company member Eric Webster commented, “it is taking us approximately five times longer to produce shows this way than it would to do them live, but at the end of the day it is a quality issue. We want to give patrons the best product possible and with the limitations of making a show through Zoom, we can make it so much better with editing.” The company relies heavily on the skills of an online technical specialist, Aaron Fiskradatz, perhaps one of busiest people working in Twin Cities theatre during the pandemic.

Having released lost episodes and original works in their spring shows, the June 15 performance will be the first to feature two never-before-heard audio plays adapted from the pages of classic literature, each presented in the format of a fictional old-time radio show. The first play will be “The Great God Pan” from The Weird Library, adapted by Tim Uren from the novella by Arthur Machen. Young Helen Vaughan is plagued by strange happenings and mysterious deaths. Is she the victim of tragic circumstances or the perpetrator of supernatural crimes? Second will be a classic mystery, “The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb” from A Toast to Murder, adapted by Joshua English Scrimshaw from the short story by Agatha Christie. Belgian detective Hercule Poirot must abandon the logic of his little grey cells and embrace the power of superstition in order to break the terrible curse of Pharaoh Men-her-Ra!

The first two online dates were originally scheduled to be on Park Square’s Andy Boss Thrust Stage, locking in capacity and ticket prices, but with the new dates, built for the coronavirus normal, Park Square is able to increase the number of “seats” and is reducing the ticket price to $15. Ticket holders will be emailed the invitation to a Zoom meeting the morning of the show. “With so much that is uncertain in the world right now, Park Square is excited to be able to share entertaining, meaningful and innovative experiences with a national, and even international audience,” says Park Square’s executive director Michael-jon Pease. The company’s breakout Zoom production of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK was heralded as “the first Zoom coup de theatre” by the Wall Street Journal and has been streamed from St. Paul to Singapore.

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).

MORE ABOUT THE MYSTERIOUS OLD RADIO LISTENING SOCIETY PODCAST:
The Society’s live performances are inspired by the podcast of the same name. The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society Podcast revisits the great crime, horror and suspense shows from the golden age of radio, including tales from Suspense, Lights Out, Quiet Please, The Shadow, and more. Each episode features a classic, or maybe-not-so classic story from the mysterious old-time radio vault, complete with historical notes and nerdy trivia. At the end of each podcast, your hosts, Tim, Joshua and Eric discuss the merits of the story and decide whether or not it stands the test of time.
Subscribe to The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society Podcast on iTunes, Youtube, or download episodes directly at ghoulishdelights.com.

MORE ABOUT THE CAST:
Shanan Custer
is half of the 2 Sugars Show (with Carolyn Pool) that includes their Ivey Award winning show 2 Sugars, Room for Cream, their Park Square 2018-2019 season opener hit Sometimes There’s Wine and—coming soon—Bad Things, Good Whiskey. Other original work includes the 2018 MN Fringe Golden Lanyard Winning musical Not Fair, My Lady! (with Colleen Somerville and Anita Ruth).

Joshua English Scrimshaw is the co-founder of the Twin Cities-based all-ages theater company Comedy Suitcase, and the dance and physical comedy troupe English Scrimshaw Theatrical Novelties. Joshua has been called “a clever and inventive voice in Twin Cities comedy theater” by The Star Tribune, and “a modern day Buster Keaton” by mnartists.org. When not making comedy, Joshua enjoys performing and listening to old-time radio with his Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society pals.

Tim Uren has been performing, writing, and directing theater at festivals and small venues in the Twin Cities for over 25 years. Along the way, he has worked with companies such as Theater Pro Rata, the Brave New Workshop, and Theater in the Round. In 2013, he established Ghoulish Delights, a theater company dedicated to bringing tales of horror and suspense to Twin Cities stages. Additionally, Uren has written and designed for board games, including Arkham Horror and Eldritch Horror.

Eric Webster is an actor, producer and writer for stage, radio and television for 25 years. On stage credits include; Guthrie Theater, Park Square Theatre, Artistry Theater, Workhaus Collective, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Pioneer Place Theater. He also directs Theater and Improv for the Centennial School District. He is the creator of the original radio theater drama Shades Brigade.

MORE ABOUT GHOULISH DELIGHTS:
Ghoulish Delights is a Minneapolis-based theater company that specializes in bringing tales of suspense and horror to the stage. For more information visit ghoulishdelights.com.

TICKET PRICES: All tickets $15.

Tickets are on sale at the www.parksquaretheatre.org.
The ticket office is temporarily closed due to coronavirus. Please email tickets@parkquaretheatre.org with questions.

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Performances: June 15, July 20, August 17.

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

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

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2020-2021 SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT

Park Square Announces 46th Season

Fresh and Forward Looking Series Features Artistic Collaborations and Three World Premieres

MEDIA CONTACT
Connie Shaver, shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

Saint Paul, Minn., Feb 28, 2020 – Park Square Theatre announced the Harris Family 2020-2021 Theatre Season today, the company’s 46th.  The coming season is supported by a major gift from the John W. Harris family. The series kicks off in fall with a rebellious comedy rescheduled from the summer, and continues with artistic collaborations, three world premieres, one musical and two mysteries.

The season opens on the Proscenium Stage with guillotines and a cry for liberty with the regional premiere of THE REVOLUTIONISTS by Lauren Gunderson (Oct 2 – Oct 25, 2020). Produced with PRIME Productions, the show will be directed by PRIME co-founder Shelli Place in her Park Square debut. Four spirited women lose their heads in this irreverent 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 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.

Two white women sit in directors chairs. They are drinking whiskey and have two whiskey barrels at their feet.

Carolyn Pool (L) and Shanan Custer (R) in Bad Things, Good Whiskey. Photo by Richard Fleischman, hair and make-up by Jancyn Bindman.

Woman-centered writing continues on the Boss Stage with the world premiere of BAD THINGS, GOOD WHISKEY by Shanan Custer and Carolyn Pool (Oct 23 – Nov 22, 2020). Directed by Elena Giannetti and featuring music by Rhiannon Fiskradatz, this “comedy on the rocks” is the final installment in their beverage-inspired trilogy from the creators of 2 Sugars, Room for Cream and Sometimes There’s Wine. The comedic duo weave together “scenes from life and stuff we think is funny” – only this time the drink is a spirit as strong as the women who drink it!

November brings a special season add-on presentation of Katha Dance Theatre’s world premiere of SHAAMYA – OF EQUALITY (Nov 5-8, 2020) with choreography by Rita Mustaphi. Inspired by the poem “Of Equality” by Bengali revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, this multicultural dance piece infuses poetry, gospel and R&B music with original Kathak choreography. This new work, with music composed and performed by J.D. Steele and poetry by Somali poet and playwright Ifrah Mansour, makes parallels between the experiences of today’s communities of color and those of Nazrul Islam’s era.

Winter brings the regional premiere of AIRNESS (Jan 29 – Feb 28, 2021) by Chelsea Marcantel. Five oddball rock fanatics go to dingy bars and cramped stages all across the nation to express their inner shred genius as they vie for a place at the National Air Guitar Championship. Following them on their quest to achieve ‘airness’ on the long road to qualification, this righteous and smile-inducing comedy shows how community is forged in unexpected places. “This show was the unexpected and universal hit for the group of Twin Cities theatre goers who accompanied us to the 2017 Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, KY,” says Park Square executive director Michael-jon Pease.

Park Square and the Ordway, who first collaborated in 2009 on an acclaimed production of the off-beat Broadway musical Grey Gardens, present TRIANGLE (Apr 2 – May 9, 2021), with music by Curtis Moore, lyrics by Thomas Mizer, book by Curtis Moore, Thomas Mizer and Joshua Scher. Directed by Rod Kaats, this area premiere musical is original and compelling,  full of mystery and romance, with songs by two of America’s hottest new musical theatre writers. Two parallel love stories separated by a hundred years are woven together by the thread of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City.

Summer in Saint Paul kicks off with two very different mysteries by local writers. First Park Square presents the Full Circle Theatre world premiere production of FIRE IN THE NEW WORLD written and directed by R.A. Shiomi (May 28 – Jun 20, 2021). In the third installment of Shiomi’s popular noir-style detective stories, Sam Shikaze, hard boiled private eye, fights crime in Vancouver’s Japantown and beyond in the years after WWII.  This time the beautiful Japanese American wife of an ambitious real estate developer goes missing, and Sam is on the case. The show is smart and fun with a dash of social commentary and plenty of sly intrigue.

The final mystery of the season is at press time, still just that – a mystery. What is known is that the writer and director will be award-winning playwright Jeffrey Hatcher (Holmes and Watson, Sherlock Holmes and The Ice Palace Murders, Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club) and that the dates will be Jul 9 – Aug 15, 2021. “One of the projects we’re working on should get confirmed in the next few weeks,” says Pease. “It will be a treat to have Jeffrey direct one of his own edge-of-your-seat scripts. After all, Park Square has produced three of his mysteries over the years and Jeffrey even wound up making his Park Square stage debut for one weekend in Sherlock Holmes and The Ice Palace Murders, so it’s about time to get him on as a director as well to round out his Park Square resume.”

In addition to the full season of public performances, Park Square will continue to serve the region’s largest teen theatre audience with daytime matinees for students in 7th-12th grade of THE REVOLUTIONISTS and SHAAMYA – OF EQUALITY 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.

Beyond Park Square’s theatre season, its two stages will continue to be a home for productions by companies from across the Twin Cities, such as Flying Foot Forum, Trademark Theatre, Zorongo Flamenco, Theatre 55, and the Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society. “The Boss and Proscenium stages are amazing assets,” says Pease. “Sharing them with our area’s amazingly varied artists helps make Saint Paul a vibrant destination for all ages and tastes. I’m particularly excited by a brand new partnership with Metropolitan State University’s Playwriting Program that showcases staged readings and workshops of new plays by their diverse student writers on the Boss Stage. Each season and each partnership reveals new ways to center our community’s multiplicity of voices.”

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 six plays and three add-ons in the season to a choose-your-own series of three or more. Subscription package prices begin at $66.

Purchase Tickets Here

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

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

Introducing the first members of new Artistic Associates cohort!

Park Square Theatre announces the first members of its new cohort of Artistic Associates, who will help shape programming in 2022. Park Square first developed its Artistic Associates model in 2014-2018 as an intentional way to expand the range of its storytelling. An open call for additional associates will be announced this spring.

Artistic Associates confirmed to date are:

Ellen Fenster, 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, 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.

Kim Vasquez, a Saint Paul native specializing in the development of new plays and musicals. 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 16 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.

“Park Square’s Artistic Associates are working professionals who direct, write, teach, produce and perform,” says Pease. “They come to us with rich careers, distinct histories, personal networks and perspectives that will keep expanding Park Square’s circle of artistic relationships. We live among many different histories, cultures and people; the community is always enriched whenever new voices are added to the conversation.”

FACE TO FACE takes the stage

Hmong Community Members take center stage in new theatrical Production created with Ping Chong + Company

Media Contact – Connie Shaver 612.308.5785
shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

Image of 5 women in a group. They are in a mix of styles of clothing and are all smiling.

Saint Paul, Minn., Feb 24, 2020 – Park Square Theatre resumes its 2019-2020 season with the world premiere production of FACE TO FACE: HMONG WOMEN’S EXPERIENCES (Mar 5-15), an interview-based theater production co-written and co-directed by Sara Zatz (Associate Director, Ping Chong + Company) and Twin Cities theater artist Katie Ka Vang, featuring five local Hmong community members, all women, sharing their true stories on stage. Told with humor, heart, and courage, it addresses complex issues such as the history and arrival of the Hmong community in St. Paul, coming of age as a first-generation Hmong American, and finding your own voice and identity while balancing culture and family.

The project began in April 2019; then community info sessions were held, and the open call for participants started and continued through October. The script is created from extensive interviews conducted by Zatz and Vang with the five cast members, then woven together to tell performers’ individual experiences in a chronological narrative that connects the personal to the political, with final script approval maintained by the cast. Through their stories, the cast addresses topics including mental health and depression, bullying, domestic and sexual violence, gender identity, beauty standards and more.

The script is performed by the community interviewees themselves, not actors. The result is a highly theatrical and emotional story-telling experience; what Ping Chong + Company Artistic Director Ping Chong calls a “seated opera for the spoken word.”

FACE TO FACE is a partnership with the internationally renowned Ping Chong + Company, a New York leader in community-specific, interview-based theatre events. Written and directed by Sara Zatz and Katie Ka Vang, in collaboration with the performers, the project is part of Ping Chong + Company’s ongoing interview-based community–specific oral history theatre work, Undesirable Elements.

The performers include Laurine Chang, Houa Moua, Pang Chai Xiong, Pang Foua Xiong and Cydi Ywj Siab Yang.

The Production team includes Sara Zatz (Co-writer/Co-director), Katie Ka Vang (Co-writer/Co-director) Maxwell Collyard (Video Designer) Shannon Elliott (Light Designer), Ashley Raper (Stage Manager) and Akiem Scott (Sound Designer).

The project received special funding from the Saint Paul Cultural STAR program, the Marbrook Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

ABOUT THE LEAD ARTISTS

Sara Zatz (Co-writer/Co-director) is the Associate Director of Ping Chong + Company where she oversees the company’s community engagement and training programs, and is the lead-artistic collaborator with Ping Chong on the interview-based Undesirable Elements series, exploring issues of culture and identity in the lives of individuals in specific communities. She is the writer and director of Secret Survivors, a work in a series which explores the experiences of survivors of child sexual abuse. Recent productions include (Un)Conditional, with individuals living with chronic illness (Profile Theatre), Generation NYZ  with NYC teens (New Victory Theater, La MaMa ETC), Undesirable Elements: Dearborn (Arab American National Museum), and Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity (national touring). She has spoken and presented workshops on community-engaged theater at many conferences and universities. She lives in Jackson Heights, Queens with her family.

Katie Ka Vang (Co-writer/Co-director) is a Hmong American Theater Artist and Playwright. Her work explores the complexities of identity. Her plays include WTF, Hmong Bollywood, 5:1 Meaning of Freedom; 6:2 Use of Sharpening, Myth of Xee, Fast FWD Motions, In Quarantine, FINAL ROUND and Spirit Trust. Her work has been developed and produced at Theater Mu, Pillsbury House Theatre, CHAT, Bushwick Starr, Bedlam Theatre, Theatre Unbound, Walker Art Center, Out North Art House, Intermedia Arts, Northern Sparks, The Royal Court (London) and Brown University. She’s received support from The Jerome Foundation, Knight Foundation, National Performance Network, Metropolitan Region Arts Council, and Minnesota State Arts Board. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Brown University.

ABOUT PING CHONG + COMPANY COMMUNITY PROJECTS

“Generating empathy, defying small-mindedness, this is an inherently political show that arrives at a time of fervently uncivil discourse [and] believes in the power of storytelling to create a stronger, kinder culture.” The New York Times

“…consistently powerful and eye-opening.” The Washington Post

Ping Chong + Company produces works addressing the important cultural and civic issues of our times, creating theater that crosses boundaries of identity, community, and form.  Founded in 1975 by National Medal of Arts recipient Ping Chong, the company’s projects initiate dialogue about identity and the power of sharing individuals’ stories. This production is part of an ongoing series of community-specific oral history theater works known as the Undesirable Elements series. Created in 1992 by Ping Chong, each production is made in a specific community, with local participants testifying to their real lives and experiences. The script is based on interviews with the participants who then share their own true stories in the final production. Since 1992, over 60 productions have been made across the United States and abroad. Recent productions have explored themes as far ranging as the disability experience, Native American identity, the experiences of refugees in the U.S., and the experiences of survivors of sexual abuse. Ping Chong + Company has created documentaries, toolkits, and training workshops and arts education programs for communities who wish to use the arts to address social justice issues in their own work.

Ticket prices: $16-$30. 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. Wednesday through Friday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.   #pstFACETOFACE

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Regular Run: Mar 5-15, 2020
Opening Night Reception: Mar 6
Post-show discussions: Mar 8 and 15

Tickets: $16-30
PARK SQUARE THEATRE, 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul
Ticket office: 651.291.7005 or parksquaretheatre.org

PHOTOS by Tomas Leal at parksquaretheatre.org/media/photos/

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

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

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

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THE MYSTERIOUS OLD RADIO LISTENING SOCIETY

GOLDEN AGE OF RADIO LIVE ON PARK SQUARE THEATRE STAGE WITH
THE MYSTERIOUS OLD RADIO LISTENING SOCIETY

BUY TICKETS

Media Contact – Connie Shaver
shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

Saint Paul, Minn., January 9, 2020 –Mondays are for mystery as Park Square Theatre kicks off the New Year with a five-part residency with The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society. Shows are scheduled for January 20, February 17, March 9, April 20, and May 11 on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage beginning at 7:30 p.m. The Society will revisit the great horror and suspense shows from the golden age of radio, performed in the style of a classic radio broadcast, including original commercials, eerie music and live sound effects. The opening performance on Monday, January 20 includes live lobby music with Ben Cook-Feltz.

“We’ve been wanting to partner with this talented team of performers for ages,” notes Park Square Theatre Executive Director Michael-jon Pease. “They are a perfect fit for Saint Paul, breathing fresh life and a spirit of fun into a classic genre from the age of the ‘well-made play.’ After visiting Heimie’s Haberdashery or strolling through Rice Park, you can go back to the days of live radio with these talented artists and delightful scripts.”

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).

For their first night in residence, Monday, January 20, The Society will present The Best of Old-Time Radio with two legendary thrillers. “Sorry, Wrong Number,” from Suspense, was first broadcast May 25th, 1943. Lucille Fletcher’s famous radio play tells the story of a woman confined to her bed who overhears two men plotting a murder. No less an authority than Orson Welles called it “the greatest single radio script ever written.” Voiced by Agnes Moorehead, the radio play, was added to the National Recording Registry in 2015. In “Three Skeleton Key,” three lighthouse keepers battle a horde of rats off the coast of French Guiana in the classic story from French writer George Toudouze. First broadcast on Escape on November 15th, 1949, the show’s popularity led to multiple radio productions, famously starring Vincent Price.

MORE ABOUT THE MYSTERIOUS OLD RADIO LISTENING SOCIETY PODCAST:
The Society’s live performances are inspired by the podcast of the same name. The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society Podcast revisits the great crime, horror and suspense shows from the golden age of radio, including tales from Suspense, Lights Out, Quiet Please, The Shadow, and more. Each episode features a classic, or maybe-not-so classic story from the mysterious old-time radio vault, complete with historical notes and nerdy trivia. At the end of each podcast, your hosts, Tim, Joshua and Eric discuss the merits of the story and decide whether or not it stands the test of time.

Subscribe to The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society Podcast on iTunes, Youtube, or download episodes directly at ghoulishdelights.com.

MORE ABOUT THE CAST:

Four performers gathered around a 1940's style radio. They are surrounded by instruments for making sound effects

Eric Webster, Shanan Custer, Tim Uren, Joshua English Scrimshaw. Photo by Ben Theitje


Shanan Custer
is half of the 2 Sugars Show (with Carolyn Pool) that includes their Ivey Award winning show 2 Sugars, Room for Cream, their Park Square 2018-2019 season opener hit Sometimes There’s Wine and—coming soon—Bad Things, Good Whiskey. Other original work includes the 2018 MN Fringe Golden Lanyard Winning musical Not Fair, My Lady! (with Colleen Somerville and Anita Ruth).

Joshua English Scrimshaw is the co-founder of the Twin Cities-based all-ages theater company Comedy Suitcase, and the dance and physical comedy troupe English Scrimshaw Theatrical Novelties. Joshua has been called “a clever and inventive voice in Twin Cities comedy theater” by The Star Tribune, and “a modern-day Buster Keaton” by mnartists.org. When not making comedy, Joshua enjoys performing and listening to old-time radio with his Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society pals.

Tim Uren has been performing, writing, and directing theater at festivals and small venues in the Twin Cities for over 25 years. Along the way, he has worked with companies such as Theater Pro Rata, the Brave New Workshop, and Theater in the Round. In 2013, he established Ghoulish Delights, a theater company dedicated to bringing tales of horror and suspense to Twin Cities stages. Additionally, Uren has written and designed for board games, including Arkham Horror and Eldritch Horror.

Eric Webster is an actor, producer and writer for stage, radio and television for 25 years. On stage credits include; Guthrie Theater, Park Square Theatre, Artistry Theater, Workhaus Collective, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Pioneer Place Theater. He also directs Theater and Improv for the Centennial School District. He is the creator of the original radio theater drama Shades Brigade.

MORE ABOUT GHOULISH DELIGHTS:
Ghoulish Delights is a Minneapolis-based theater company that specializes in bringing tales of suspense and horror to the stage. For more information visit ghoulishdelights.com

 

TICKET PRICES:

All tickets $23
Tickets are on sale at the Park Square Ticket Office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (Noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.   Tickets will also be available at the door beginning at 6:30 p.m.

BUY NOW

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Performances: January 20, February 17, March 9, April 20, and May 11 beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Andy Boss Thrust Stage

Photo by Ben Thietje Left to right: Eric Webster, Shanan Custer, Tim Uren and Joshua English Scrimshaw

Photo by Joe Weismann Left to right: Joshua English Scrimshaw, Tim Uren and Eric Webster.

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

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

PARK SQUARE THEATRE PAUSES TO RIGHT-SIZE

Park Square Theatre pauses to right-size and roll out a new vision by its new leader

Saint Paul, Minn., October 29, 2019 – To better serve its stakeholders, Park Square Theatre has made the difficult decision to revise its season and cancel its planned productions of the major musicals EVITA and MISS YOU LIKE HELL.

Financial challenges, brought on by less than expected ticket sales and fundraising shortfalls, led to this difficult decision. “Park Square is taking this valuable opportunity to regroup so that we may become a stronger organization and meet the needs of the Twin Cities theater community,” states artistic director Flordelino Lagundino. “This was a very difficult decision to make as it causes hardships, especially to the artists working with us. As an actor and director, I do not take lightly the impact it has on the talented people I came to Minnesota to work with.”

Lagundino further states Park Square is working towards a healthy business model that supports stellar artistry for appreciative audiences. “It is a natural pattern for a 47-year-old theater to evolve, and this is part of that maturation process.”

The Park Square Theatre’s nine-show season continues with THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW and PAIGE IN FULL, both of which close this week. Upcoming productions include:  PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Kate Hamill (Nov 15 – Dec 22, 2019); FACE TO FACE: OUR HMONG COMMUNITY with Ping Chong + Co. (Mar 5 – 15, 2020); HOLMES AND WATSON by Jeffrey Hatcher (Jun 12 – Jul 26, 2020); and a remount of MARIE AND ROSETTA by George Brandt (Dates TBD).

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Your help is needed at this critical time. Make a donation today HERE.

Purchase tickets to Pride and Prejudice HERE.

For questions regarding subscriptions and ticketing, email tickets@parksquaretheatre.org.

 

PARK SQUARE’S FIRST TAKE ON JANE AUSTEN IS A FROLICSOME GAME OF GENDER POLITICS

BUT TRUE LOVE DOES WIN IN THE END

Neal Beckman, Sara Richardson, China Brickey and Kiara Jackson in Pride and Prejudice. Photo by Richard Fleischman.

Park Square Theatre rings in the winter holidays with its first ever production of a Jane Austen novel with the regional premiere of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Nov 15 – Dec 22, 2019) adapted from the 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 Park Square Theatre Artistic Director, Flordelino Lagundino. “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.”

Many consider Austen to be one of the early feminist writers. To fully mine the gender politics of Austen’s most famous story, Hamill has constructed the role doubling in such a way that some characters have to be played by an actor of the opposite gender. Neal Beckman, for example, plays both Mr. Bingley and Bennet sister Mary, while McKenna Kelly-Eiding, who delighted audiences as Sherlock Holmes in KEN LUDWIG’S BASKERVILLE, plays the bumbling Mr. Collins and the dastardly Wickham.

Hamill also plays on the idea of the “perfect match,” by constructing the action like a game and or military strategy. “As I was writing, I started thinking about when you meet someone and you fall in love or something happens that changes your life beyond your control, and I wanted a way to make that more tangible. So, I thought bells are things you can’t ignore—church bells, wedding bells, alarm bells, door bells—they let us know something has changed, and I wanted to incorporate those in the script. So, every time something happens beyond the character’s control, something happens with a bell.”

Channer sets this decidedly frolicsome world as a play within a play. The entire proscenium stage will be open to the back wall with no side curtains, allowing the audience to see the actors preparing “offstage” for their next time in the “ring” which serves as the playing space.

The cast includes Sara Richardson* (Jane, Miss De Bourgh), China Brickey* (Lizzy), Kiara Jackson* (Lydia), Paul Rutledge (Mr. Darcy), McKenna Kelly-Eiding (Mr. Collins, Wickham), Neal Beckman (Mr. Bingley, Mary), Alex Galick* (Charlotte, Mr. Bennet), George Keller* (Mrs. Bennet).

The Production team includes:  Ruth Coughlin Lencowski (Vocal Coach), Annie Katsura Rollins (Scenic Designer), Sonya Berlovitz (Costume Design), Dan Dukich (Sound Designer), Karin Olsen (Lighting Designer), Josephine Everett (Properties Designer), Scott Stafford (Choreographer) Tim Komatsu (Park Square Theatre Dramaturgy Fellow), Rachael Rhoades (Advance Stage Manager), Megan Fae Dougherty (Production Stage Manager) Jaya Robillard (Assistant Stage Manager), Rane Oganowski (Wardrobe) Charlotte Deranek (Sound Board Operator)  *Member, Actors Equity Association

Ticket prices: Previews: $27-$37. Regular Run: $40-$60. Discounts are available for students, 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, (Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.   #PSTAusten   SEASON TICKETS are on sale now.  Subscription package prices begin at $66.

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Previews: Nov 15 – 21, 2019

Opening Night: Nov 22, 2019

Regular Run: Nov 22 – Dec 22, 2019

Tickets: Previews: $20-$37; Regular Run: $25-$65

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

Ticket office: 651.291.7005 or parksquaretheatre.org

 

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