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Posts Tagged The Guthrie

The Game’s Afoot with McKenna Kelly-Eiding!

When you take your seats at Park Square this summer, prepare to be delighted to a new mystery featuring the one and only Sherlock Holmes. Be sure to expect the unexpected, however, as this isn’t just any Holmes but one brought hilariously to life by local actor, McKenna Kelly-Eiding, as she uncovers the mystery on the moors with her trusty friend, Watson (Sara Richardson). Along the way, they will encounter dozens of allies and enemies in a madcap romp of adventure, suspense and humor!

Leading the pack, of course, is Kelly-Eiding who is making her Park Square Theatre debut with Baskerville. While originally from warm Los Angeles, her roots run cold as her parents met in Minneapolis and she grew up to attend the University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA program, where she graduated in 2013. In fact, her parents are theatre vets themselves, having worked at such theaters as Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Brave New Workshop and Theatre in the Round (where they happened to meet!).

As for Kelly-Eiding, she was just seen in the very successful production of The Wolves over at the Jungle Theater. When not performing on local stages, she can be find making ends meet with a variety of different jobs. Now, however, the games afoot with Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville, which fell onto her plate after auditioning and speaking with director, Theo Langason.

So what is it like playing the world’s most famous detective? Kelly-Eiding states:

Sherlock is fascinating to me- I remember first being introduced to the genre through ‘The Great Mouse Detective’. I also love the Benedict Cumberbatch series. Ken Ludwig compares Sherlock and Watson to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza which I love- their relationship is one of my favorite elements of the entire mythology. The way they balance and challenge and learn from each other is really inspiring and often so, so funny.

That humor, ultimately, is what she wishes audiences go home with. Inspiring others to laugh is one of her favorite parts of being an actor, as well as sharing the joyful experience of theatre.

Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery runs June 15 – August 5, closing the 2017-2018 season at Park Square Theatre. You can buy those tickets online here, and considering just how much joy there’s bound to be, I’d recommend doing so sooner than later!

Flying Foot Forum celebrates an American’s View of Paris

PARK SQUARE PRESENTS FRENCH TWIST
Flying Foot Forum’s 25th Anniversary production celebrates
an American’s view of Paris from the Can-Can to Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron

Park Square Theatre’s Andy Boss Thrust Stage is once again the home to Flying Foot Forum’s signature storytelling with FRENCH TWIST, a cabaret of gorgeous music, theatrical storytelling and percussive dance set in a Paris Nightclub that runs from June 22 to July 15, 2018. This 25th anniversary production starts with the premise of the company’s original production which premiered at The Guthrie in 2008, but now includes new characters, melodic new songs and inventive dances. Director/choreographer Joe Chvala fuses vaudeville, tap, cabaret, follies, opera, and percussive art forms to evoke American’s wildest imaginings of life in the City of Light.

The piece opens with “All Creatures Are Now Merry-Minded,” a riotous medley of caricatures of familiar characters from a myriad of operas. With boundless energy, the company dances its way through an amazing variety of classical music, including a Bach fugue danced on and off chairs. Act II introduces a medium who conjures up the spirits of bygone Paris, from the jazz artists of the 1920’s American expat scene to Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier. “It’s eclectic, fun, wild, and of course there’s the Can-Can,” says founding Artistic Director Joe Chvala. “Some of us oldsters in the company have been doing the Can-Can for decades, so we have to remember to give the young dancers the truly gymnastic moves and try not to kill ourselves,” he laughs.

One of the new numbers depicts Loie Fuller, considered by many to be the godmother of modern dance, even before Isadora Duncan. Loie was an American actress who became a sensation at the Exposition Universelle with her Serpentine Dance, using long flowing fabric and colored stage lights. In Joe Chvala’s talented hands, her swathes of fabric suddenly turn into the sky above the city and the setting for a great tap number in the spirit of Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron from the 1950s movie AMERICAN IN PARIS. There will even be a little Flamenco woven into the evening courtesy of Molly Kay Stoltz of Zorongo Flamenco.

“This show is perfect for the Boss Stage,” says Chvala. “It transforms beautifully into an intimate nightclub setting, as we learned with PASSING THROUGH PIG’S EYE last summer. More than that, the lobby, its proximity to the Dakota’s Vieux-Carrė jazz club and the whole ambiance of the Historic Hamm Building put you in the right mood for the atmosphere we’re creating.”

The fact that Flying Foot Forum is celebrating 25 years comes almost as a surprise to its founder. “What became a company started first as a big performance, and then we just kept going,” Chvala says. “Once we established ourselves as a company, I remember going to the 20th anniversary concert of an African Dance company and thinking ‘I wonder if we’ll ever make it 20 years.’ It’s truly wonderful that three of our original dancers and musical collaborators like rhythm-wizard Peter O’Gorman are still creating with us. Each generation of new dancers, like the amazing Brandon Jackson who plays La Bijoux in French Twist – keep adding to our aesthetic as they bring their unique energies to the process.”

Flying Foot Forum’s unique style of percussive dance continues to ripple out through choreographers and companies in Minnesota and beyond. “Over the years, we’ve worked with so many great dancers and choreographers like Brian Sostek and Tamara Kangas Erickson,” confirms Chvala. “Sometimes I see a show and think ‘I wonder if that idea was inspired by something we did?’ After 25 years, we are still finding new ways to explore our art form. It’s been a tremendous gift to have this crazy idea take off.”

***

Celebrate 25 years of Flying Foot Forum with their new production of FRENCH TWIST, featuring the fabulously furious feet of founding members Jan Campbell, Joe Chvala, Karla Grotting and veterans Jeremy Bensussan, Peter O’Gorman and Charles Robison are joined by Brandon Jackson, Falicia Cunningham, Molly Kay Stoltz, Kaleena Miller and Michael Hasenmueller.

The creative team for the production includes Cynthia Forsgren (Costume Designer), Robin McIntyre (Scenic Designer) and Eric Jensen (Music Director)

Flying Foot Forum’s FRENCH TWIST Performance Schedule: Previews begin Friday, June 22, and continue through Thursday, June 28. June 29 is Opening Night, and the run continues through July 15. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. except for Saturday and Sunday matinees, which begin at 2 p.m. All performances are on Park Square’s Andy Boss Thrust Stage in Saint Paul’s historic Hamm Building, 408 St. Peter Street.

There will also be two nights of works in progress created by Joe Chvala and company members including a work in progress premiere of a Flying Foot Forum film project Mondays, July 2 and 9.

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