Park Square Theatre Hires New Executive Artistic Director, Reopens With December Events in St. Paul

Theater Announces Live at the Square Event Series, and Produces ‘Holiday Hot Chocolate’ this December

 

SAINT PAUL, MN, Monday, November 27, 2023: Park Square Theatre announced today its official reopening and the organization has hired a new Executive Artistic Director. Stephen DiMenna will now lead the organization to launch a new series of events this December ahead of the 2024/2025 season. Park Square also announced plans for a full theatrical season of performances in 2024. This follows work by the theater and its supporters to create a new vision for the organization that builds on its important history and expands its ability to engage and empower the broader community.

“Stephen brings to Park Square Theatre a wealth of expertise over the last three decades,” said Board President Mark Howlett. “His knowledge, passion and commitment to take on the challenge of leading Park Square in a new direction connects with our vision to allow for broader audiences to continue to enjoy and experience Park Square Theatre. After a time of strategic assessment by our organization, we are now in a place to execute our proactive vision, and Stephen is the right person to lead us going forward.”

“I am thrilled to join Park Square Theatre and work with the staff, board and artistic community to bring new, exciting, innovative and diverse programming to the theater,” said Stephen DiMenna. “Park Square has a long and distinguished legacy and a committed board and group of amazing supporters. I’m honored to build upon that legacy and move forward as we produce some of the best plays and musicals in contemporary American theater and beyond.” 

 

ABOUT THE 2024/2025 SEASON

DiMenna is currently planning a season set to open September 2024 with a theme of Celebrating New Beginnings, featuring plays about Redemption, Renewal, and Rebirth. As Park Square Theatre prepares to announce the 2024/2025 season this winter, DiMenna also expands Park Square’s programming to include a new event series: Live at the Square. This ongoing series of performances and social events will be produced alongside its regular season of plays and musicals. 

 

ABOUT LIVE AT THE SQUARE

Live at the Square will include concerts featuring some of the Twin Cities’ most celebrated singers and musicians, literary events, family-centered programming, comedy performances, and more. Live at the Square’s purpose is to energize its space and bring people to downtown St. Paul. This event series is part of the theater’s new strategic vision to not only stage important theatrical productions, but to also be a place that hosts and supports other creative events that invigorate the community.

The first Live at the Square event is Holiday Hot Chocolate, a festive jazz concert, on the Proscenium Stage Friday, December 15 – Saturday, December 16, 2023. Audiences are invited to immerse themselves in the jazzy sounds of the Holiday with two of the Twin Cities’ most acclaimed singers,Thomasina Petrus and T. Mychael Rambo, who frequently perform at popular Jazz spots including the Dakota Jazz Club and KJ’s Hideaway. 

Tickets for Holiday Hot Chocolate are available for $35 at www.parksquaretheatre.org. 

“Park Square is very much dedicated to continuing to be a place for important theater productions,” Howlett said. “We have a fantastic space in the Historic Hamm Building that gives us the ability to host creative events beyond our traditional productions. The December shows are just one example of how Park Square envisions being a more active part of the creative community going forward.”

 

ABOUT STEPHEN DIMENNA

With over 30 years of theater experience in both the Twin Cities and New York City, DiMenna has held many Artistic leadership positions in the entertainment industry. He has served as 

Artistic Director at InitialStage Theatre Company, Associate Artistic Director at The History Theatre, Associate Artistic Director at MCC Theatre (New York), and Co-Artistic Director at Stargate Theatre Company at Manhattan Theatre Club (New York). He has served as a company member at Pillsbury House Theatre where he directed six productions. DiMenna is also the founder and Artistic Director of The International Theatre Project, which uses theater as a means of education, self-discovery and empowerment for young people living in disenfranchised communities in developing countries. 

Executive Artistic Director of Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota and the founder and Artistic Director of The International Theatre Project (internationaltheatreproject.org) which uses theater as a means of education, self-discovery and empowerment for young people living in disenfranchised communities in developing countries. He lives in Minneapolis where he is a resident director and company member at The Pillsbury House Theatre and a free-lance director and educator. He was the Artistic  Director of Initial StageTheatre from 1989-1995 and the Associate Artistic Director of The History Theatre from 1989-1995.  

DiMenna is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Theater BFA program. He lived in New York for twenty-four years where he directed extensively Off-Broadway and for television. He has directed at MCC Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout Theatre Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Young Playwright’s Festival, The Daryl Roth Theatre and the Mint Theatre and was the founder and Artistic Director of The MCC Theater Youth Company, an ensemble of NYC youth that creates original productions within a professional Off-Broadway theater. He was co-artistic director of the Stargate Company, a company within Manhattan Theatre Club that created original work for and with young actors of color. He works as a senior teaching artist for the Theatre Development Fund and conducts professional development workshops for directors and teachers in New York City.  

He was on the faculty at NYU for 15 years where he taught directing and acting. He is currently on the theater faculty at the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program where he teaches acting for the musical theater. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and an alumnus of The Drama League.

 

ABOUT THOMASINA PETRUS

Thomasina Petrus is a 30 year equity actor and premier jazz vocalist in the Twin Cities. She is a founding member of New Dawn Theatre, a company member of Penumbra Theatre, and Brownbody.org, and has collaborated with the Twin Cities’ most beloved artists, mentors and friends. James “Cornbread” Harris, Sr., Javetta Steele, T. Mychael Rambo, Stokley, Walter Chancellor, AusteneVan, and Prince. Specializing in exceptional music and theatre, select original productions include: ‘The Best of Billie & Me’, ‘Etta James… Dreams to Remember’, ‘Hot Chocolate Holiday’ (theatre musical production  and concert series), “HOLD“, a musical poem-play with incarcerated women for HCL, ‘Lady Day @ Emerson’s Bar & Grill, by Lanie Robertson BROWNBODY(.org), a celebration of the Black experience on Ice’, “SingHers” a cappella ensemble, and her popular “ThomaSingaGrams!”  Petrus is a Playwright Center McKnight Theatre Arts Fellow, African American Registry Artist, Ivey Award winner, MN Theatre Award Winner, and Star Tribune Honoree. Last but definitely not least, creator of Thomasina’s Cashew Brittle (.com), featured at the MN State Fair, local retailers and online. 

 

ABOUT T. MYCHAEL RAMBO

Emmy Award winning actor, vocalist, arts educator and community organizer; T. Mychael Rambo is a long-standing Penumbra Theater Company Member. His Penumbra credits include: Black Nativity, Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope, Dinah Was, Last Minstrel Show, Jitney, Spunk, Gem of the Ocean, Ain’t Misbeheavin, Piano Lesson, and Ballad of Emit Till to name just a few. T. Mychael has made an indelible mark here in the Twin Cities performing principal roles at such theaters as: the Guthrie, Ordway Theatre, Illusion Theatre, Mixed Blood, Park Square Theatre, Ten Thousand Things, Children’s Theatre and Minnesota Opera among others. Nationally and internationally his stage credits include Carnegie Hall and performances abroad in Africa, Europe and South America. He has appeared in local and national television commercials, feature films (including: The Cure, Justice, Crossing the Bridge, Wooley Boys) HBO mini-series (Laurel Avenue, Equinox), and other television programming. T. Mychael is an accomplished residency artist (COMPAS, Young Audiences, MN State Arts Board, VocalEssence) and an affiliate professor in the College of Liberal Arts, Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota As a recording artist, Rambo has released two popular CD’s: “Simply” – a collection of jazz standards; and “The Gift; A Christmas With Love” – a selection of original and holiday classics. T. Mychael had the great honor of singing the National Anthem for both President Barack Obama and former President Jimmy Carter. Mr. Rambo is also the proud recipient of the 2010 Sally Award in Arts Educator – presented by the Ordway Theatre and the 2010 Minnesota Black Music Award. His other honors and awards include Young Audience Art of the Year, McKnight Theatre Artist Fellowship, Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Fellowship, Bush Finalist and both the University of Minnesota Century Council Community Award and Outstanding Community Service Award in addition to others.

 

Celebrating 50-years in 2024, Park Square Theatre started in 1974 with 70 seats and has grown to a multi-stage, 550-seat professional theater offering creative programming across multiple genres. Showcasing diverse talent, inclusive programming, and student-inspired learning, Park Square offers an accessible, intimate experience in Saint Paul’s historic downtown Hamm Building with theater for all ages. 

 

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

www.parksquaretheatre.org 

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