Posts Tagged Shanan Custer

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

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

2019-2020 Season opens with AUBERGINE

Park Square Theatre opens its 2019-2020 Theatre Season with the area premiere of Aubergine by Julia Cho — a poignant and lyrical new play

Saint Paul, Minn., July 29, 2019 – Park Square Theatre opens its 2019-2020 Theatre Season on the Andy Boss Trust Stage with the area premiere of Aubergine (SEPT 20 – OCT 20, 2019) by Julia Cho, author of The Language Archive. Aubergine will be directed by Park Square’s Artistic Director Flordelino Lagundino – his Park Square directing debut.

In this poignant and lyrical new play, a son cooks a meal for his dying father to say everything that words can’t. Since this first generation Korean American speaks English and only limited Korean, the making of a perfect meal is an expression more precise than language, and the medium through which his love gradually reveals itself.

“This was one of the most beautiful plays I have ever read,” says Flordelino. “When I encountered it for the first time, I felt it was the best play I had read by an Asian American author in the last ten years. The writing feels so personal. It is a humorous and sensitive play about memories, food, and a relationship fractured by the loss of native language and the distance created between families because of war and the resulting Korean diaspora.”

“This play is also personal to me and plays out in my own history” Flordelino continues. “My father is Filipino, I am Filipino-American. I don’t speak his dialect, Ilocano. This is something that immigrants from any country feel.  I also think it’s a fascinating exploration of men as caregivers since Ray’s father in the play is in hospice care. The personal aspects hit home.”

The cast includes, Sun Mee Chomet*, Shanan Custer, Song Kim, Glenn Kubota, Kurt Kwan*, and Darrick Mosley*.

The Production team includes: Lindsey Cacich Samples (Assistant Director Fellow), Deb O (Set Designer), Amber Brown (Costume Design), Matt Otto (Sound Designer), Karin Olson (Light Designer), Kenji Shoemaker (Properties Designer), Kathy Maxwell (Video Designer), Annie Enneking (Fitght Choreographer), Ruth Coughlin Lencowski (Vocal Coach), Akiem Scott (Assistant Sound Design Fellow), Maxwell Colliard (Assistant Video Design Fellow).

*Member, Actors Equity Association

Picture of a man in a chef jacket surrounded by vines and eggplants. Heading says "Nothing says love like a home-cooked meal."

Ticket prices: Previews: $20-$37. Regular Run: $25-$55. Discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square Ticket Office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.   #PSTAubergine

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

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Previews: Sep 20 – Sep 26, 2019

Opening Night: Sep 27, 2019

Regular Run: Sep 27 – Oct 20, 2019

Tickets: Previews: $20-$37; Regular Run: $25-$55

Ticket office: 651.291.7005 or www.parksquaretheatre.org

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. www.parksquaretheatre.org

 

2 SUGARS TAKEOVER: It’s Like Real Life, But Funnier!

The Wine Chronicles, Chapter 2: It’s Like Real Life, But Funnier. 

Shanan and Carolyn continue their backstage conversation:

We often remark that the two hours we spend performing a show qualifies as a “totes legit” happy place, because we just get to exist in the world of the play. And “play” becomes a verb as well as a noun. We laugh so often in response to each other’s discoveries and deliveries that people usually wonder what is “real” and what is “the show”?

A little of both, actually. We’ve always written for ourselves, for each other, for aspirational circumstances as well as gritty, very “in the moment” spaces.

But, we like to laugh, too. The very best feeling in the world is knowing you genuinely made someone you care about laugh.

This is what we do offstage too!

And, that brings us to our audience…these people that are coming to see what our brains cooked up and are putting out here on the Andy Boss Stage. A lot of time, our creative process starts with, “Do we think it’s interesting? Does it make us laugh? Maybe it will make someone else laugh too. “

Shanan will often say, the very best sound is “the laugh of recognition.” And, that recognition is probably what makes our show work. One of the greatest compliments we’ve gotten from audiences is “this is just like my life, but funnier”. We love hearing that because it’s exactly what we set out to do. Taking real-life circumstances and finding the uniquely remarkable and hilarious moments and elevating them in the scene. It makes our job really fun. We are so happy you’re here to share it and laugh along with us.

P.S. THE SHOW HAS BEEN EXTENDED!!! The response to Sometime’s there’s Wine has been so wonderfully positive that we’ve added 4 MORE SHOWS! We’re now on stage through Oct 21. Get your tickets now!

Shanan Custer and Carolyn Pool are the 2 Sugars Show and creators of 2 Sugars, Room for Cream, Sometimes There’s Wine (currently running at Park Square Theatre’s Andy Boss Stage) and the upcoming Bad Things, Good Whiskey. When they aren’t performing, they enjoy reading, cheeseburgers, wine and planning their world domination.

 

2 SUGARS TAKEOVER: Hello From the Dressing Room

The Wine Chronicles, Chapter 1: Hello from the Dressing Room

Our dresses.

It is a true gift in life when one get’s to just do what one wants…especially with one’s very favorite person. Virginia Woolfe wrote, “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Well, that may be true for fiction, and was true for Virginia, and, in some ways, the sweet little life that Shanan Custer and Carolyn Pool have carved out at Park Square this fall fits this thesis too. Here’s a little glimpse into the “room of our own,” the Dressing Room.

Of course, there are the “costumes” we wear in the show, various shades of burgundy dominate as you probably guessed, along with adorable shoes.

Shanan is kind of a “nester” so her side of the room is beautifully decorated with photos of family, meaningful cards, various pretty things and a yummy scent diffuser for aromatherapy.

Carolyn’s side is a bit different. A couple of mementos, a make-up bag and an ever-present cup of coffee. She’s thinking she might need to embellish a little!

Shanan’s side.

 

Carolyn’s side.

Look at these cute coasters you will see at restaurants around town!

Also, there is wine. We do ENJOY wine. And, yes, it is real wine on stage with us although we drink very little of it during the show. We’re working pretty hard up there! When we’re done though, it’s nice to unwind in our dressing room with a glass or two of vino, before heading to Meritage, Vieux Carre, Kincaid’s or The Saint Paul Hotel. And, by the way, if you haven’t visited the great surrounding bars and restaurants, you should. Many of the nice downtown St. Paul establishments have partnered with Park Square to promote our show, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

So “hello” from the dressing room! Welcome to our theatrical home, we can’t wait to see you in the audience. Grab a glass of wine and get comfy. We are so glad you’re here.

PS. DID WE TELL YOU WE’VE EXTENDED??? Sometime’s there wine is selling out (we love you, thank you so much) so we’ve added 4 MORE SHOWS! Now on stage through Oct 21. Get your tickets now!

 

Shanan Custer and Carolyn Pool are the 2 Sugars Show and creators of 2 Sugars, Room for Cream, Sometimes There’s Wine (currently running at Park Square Theatre’s Andy Boss Stage) and the upcoming Bad Things, Good Whiskey. When they aren’t performing, they enjoy reading, cheeseburgers, wine and planning their world domination.

 

New Video: SOMETIMES THERE’S WINE

New Video: SOMETIMES THERE'S WINE

Looking for a little laughter as the weather gets chillier? Check out this sneak peak of the hit comedy Sometime’s There’s Wine, featuring the comedy brilliance of Two Sugars Show comediennes Carolyn Poole and Shanan Custer.

Star Tribune writes, “a delicious pairing – this piece offers all the joy of a lively conversation between two close and very clever friends.”

Tickets are going fast, get yours HERE before they sell out!

Wine, Women, and…Questionable Text Messages

Local comedy duo creates a “large pour” of laughter in SOMETIME’S THERE’S WINE

MEDIA CONTACT

Connie Shaver, shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

Park Square Theatre announces the return of renowned Twin Cities comedy duo, Shanan Custer and Carolyn Pool, to the Andy Boss Stage to open the 2018-2019 theatre season with a new production of Sometimes There’s Wine (Sept 14 – Oct 14, 2018). The follow-up to 2 Sugars, Room for Cream, which was featured in the debut season of the Boss Stage in 2014, is written and performed by Custer and Pool who are both Park Square audience favorites.  Both were featured in CALENDAR GIRLS and Pool opened last season on the Boss Stage in HENRY & ALICE: INTO THE WILD. Angela Timberman, featured in the 2016 production of THE REALISTIC JONESES by Will Eno, makes her Park Square directing debut.

The play’s debut at the 2016 Fringe Festival was a favorite for both critics and audiences, winning the coveted Fringe Encore.

“In the era of #MeToo, we feel women-driven comedy has a unique role to play,” says Custer. “Creating roles for women that say the things we normally don’t get to hear onstage is why we do what we do and, after the last couple of years, there’s even more to say.”

The production team for Sometimes There’s Wine includes Sadie Ward (Scenic Design); Michael P. Kittle (Lighting Design); Eric Webster (Sound Design); Megan Fae Dougherty* (Stage Manager); Kyla Moloney (Assistant Stage Manager)

Ticket prices: Previews: $20-$37. Regular Run: $25-$60. Discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square ticket office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at www.parksquaretheatre.org.   #PSTWine #2SugarsShow

*Member, Actors Equity Association

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Previews: Sept 14-20

Opening Night: Sept 21

Regular Run: Sept 21-Oct 14

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

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

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

 

 

Green: 7:30 pm, Orange:  2:00 pm

P – Preview
B – 99¢ Bargain Preview
D – Post-show Discussion
O – Opening Night
ASL – American Sign Language
AD – Audio Description
C – Open Captioning

Connecting through Storytelling

When you’re young, most people grow up hearing the old adage “listen to your elders!” After all, they’re the ones with the best advice and the life wisdom, so why not? Though somewhere along the line, technology was introduced into our lives and now we have so much information at our fingertips, listening to our elders has sadly become a rare activity.  Thanks to the brilliant guidance of teaching artist Dane Stauffer, a group of older adults were able to come together for eight weeks, discover and craft an important story of their own, and ultimately perform that story for a captive audience of friends, family, and wisdom-seekers at Park Square. This was Park Square’s first foray into adult learning, and took place with support from the Vitality Arts program at Aroha Philanthropies.

I was lucky enough to follow the group from their shy, tentative introductions with one another to the culminating event, which involved a proud, confident performance in front of a live audience. Seniors who had come from all walks of life in a previous lifetime – engineers, teachers, managers, computer technicians – now retired. I had no idea how much I could relate to their journey at 32. I, too, ask the questions, “what do I want to be when I grow up?” and “what now?” or “what’s next?” These were all asked during that first introduction and continued through some of their stories; where one chapter ended, another was clearly beginning with endless possibilities in sight.

There are three things I’ve learned in the last two months from listening to these great individuals. 1.) Every story is important. Stories that make you laugh are just as powerful and meaningful as those that can bring you to tears. 2.) Never be afraid to tell your story. Words are only as good as the audience that take them in and an untold story can never truly be appreciated. 3.) Listen and experience every story older adults are willing to share. You’ll be surprised at the connections you can make with each other through storytelling.

The next Adult Theatre Workshop, Make ’em Laugh: Comedy Styles and Performance, is Sept 7 – Nov 5, taught by the inimitable Shanan Custer (Calendar Girls, The Liar, Sometimes There’s Wine). Space is limited, so register now! Click here for more information and registration.

 

Lindsay Christensen Park Square’s Group Sales Associate and a fierce freelance stage manager and graduate student pursuing a degree in Arts and Cultural Management at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. 

Park Square at the Ivey’s

Here we are, a week later and the 2016 Ivey Awards are already in our rear-view mirror as we hurtle down the highway towards a new and promising season of theatre in the Twin Cities. Park Square certainly has a full lineup including The Liar, The Realistic Joneses, A House on Mango Street, A Raisin in the Sun and The Soul of Gershwin. Who knows if those or any other Park Square shows will be featured at the ceremony next year. All we can talk about for now are the ones we had the pleasure to see from last year’s remarkable season.

Everyone's favorite blogger (on the right).

David Beukema (left) and some blogger (right).

It started with me taking my seat at the beautiful State Theatre in Minneapolis and pulling out my phone to make sure I had everything ready for the tweets to come. I assured those around me that my texting was for the greater good and I was 100% paying attention to the entertainment on stage (those friends, by the way, were the Girl Friday Productions gang whose play, Idiot’s Delights, will be taking over the Boss Stage next summer!).

The evening’s entertainment started off with a bang, with Regina Marie Williams and Mark Benninghofen hosting the show. Benninghofen was in Shooting Star at Park Square in 2015; and Williams, most recently as Nina Simone in the eponymous smash hit. The house rocked later on when Williams, Thomasina Petrus and Aimee K. Bryant came out and performed a number from the show.

Hosts Mark Beninghofen and Regina Marie Williams. Photo credit: Ivey Awards

Hosts Mark Beninghofen and Regina Marie Williams.       Photo credit: Ivey Awards

While all of those performances serve to break up the flow of acceptance speeches, occasionally it seems to work the other way around. One of the best was from Park Square veteran Warren C. Bowles, who won an Ivey Award for his direction of The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife at Minnesota Jewish Theatre (hooray St. Paul!), who was so shocked he was begging the band for his cue-to-exit music.

My personal favorite moment of the night, however, was costume designer Trevor Bowen accepting his award for emerging artist. Having met Trevor in the halls of Park Square (where he designed the costumes for My Children! My Africa! and Nina Simone: Four Women), I can attest to the bright warming light of human being that he is. He had me cracking up through misty eyes as he could barely get through his speech, overcome with emotion on several occasions.

Example of Bowen's costumes in My Children! My Africa! featuring Ivey Recipient Warren C. Bowles.

Example of Bowen’s costumes in My Children! My Africa! featuring Ivey Award recipient Warren C. Bowles (left).   Photo credit: Petronella J. Ytsma

Bowen’s speech was definitely a highlight of a night where everyone deserved their spot in the sun. While Park Square itself wasn’t specifically recognized for any one thing, it was clear that the theatre has a far-reaching influence on the Cities. Even the co-writers of the ceremony, Shanan Custer and Zach Curtis, are frequent performers at Park Square and can currently be seen in The Liar. That to me is just as consequential as any trophy and echoes the spirit of the Ivey Awards. No nominees, no categories, no egos; just a gathering of friends and collaborators to celebrate the miracle of live theatre, because when you consider what it really takes to produce such art… whew, you wouldn’t believe it!

daytime-marquee-2015-vertical-2

Well, Park Square and its patrons believe it and we’re all looking forward to a brand new season and getting dressed up for next year’s theatre prom.

The Liar: Featuring Shanan Custer

As part of our Meet the Cast of The Liar Blog Series, let us introduce you to Shanan Custer:

custer-shanan-color

ROLES: Sabine, puritanical servant to Clarice; Isabelle, vivacious servant to Lucrece

DESCRIPTIVE LINES ABOUT SABINE IN THE PLAY:

Said by Philiste to his friend Alcippe:

. . . . I love her strictness.
She’s adamant as truth, she’s hard to rattle,
And on a picnic–expert with a paddle.

DESCRIPTIVE LINES ABOUT ISABELLE IN THE PLAY:

Said by Dorante’s servant, Cliton, about Isabelle:

I too submit me to the moon! Ah, Isabelle,
Sweet Isabelle, who really truly is a belle!
I’d find more rhymes if only she were visabelle.
Is it not risibelle how most invisabelle.
The indivisibelle Isabelle … is?

CAST QUESTION:

You have successfully played poignantly funny characters in the past, which takes great skill.  How will you approach the more directly hilarious task of playing twin sisters?

For me, there is very little difference in approaching these two styles of comedy. Trying to be funny has never been my approach because I’m not sure how to do that exactly.

It’s Acting 101 really: be in the moment, listen, be truthful and don’t be afraid to look silly or vulnerable or ugly or ridiculous. Above all, take care of the people around you; otherwise, you have no scene. There’s a great quote in the book Truth in Comedy about how, if you treat everyone around you like a genius, they will be. There are many ways to interpret this piece of advice; but, for me, the most important layer is to stop thinking about myself and just pour that energy into others and the scene. I can’t wait to play with this cast!

CAST BACKGROUND:

Park Square Calendar Girls; 2 Sugars, Room for Cream; Dead Man’s Cell Phone Representative Theatre Interact Theater: Hell is Empty and ALL the Devils are Here; Casting Spells Productions: Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune; Workhaus Collective: The Mill; Theatre Pro Rata: Emilie: Le Marquis du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight; 2016 MN Fringe Festival: Sometimes There’s Wine Training M.A., Theater History, Theory and Criticism, University of Maryland, College Park Awards/Other Ivey Award 2013 (Ensemble, 2 Sugars, Room for Cream) Upcoming Projects Park Square: Theatre Pro Rata (at Park Square): Up: The Man in the Flying Chair

Shanan Custer with Zach Curtis in a rehearsal. (Photograph by Connie Shaver)

Shanan Custer with Zach Curtis in a rehearsal.
(Photograph by Connie Shaver)

Area Premiere of The Liar – Park Square Theatre’s Proscenium Stage – September 9 to October 2

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.

Thanks, and stay well!

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