Thursday, October 31, 2019

Amy Wolf and 'OperaTease' at Minnsky Theatre

Amy Wolf

Amy Wolf is with me today.  Amy is a lyric soprano performing leading roles in opera throughout the United States. Amy has performed with Utah Opera, Minnesota Opera, Opera on the James, Duluth Festival Opera, Arbeit Opera Theater, Twin Cities Fringe Opera, and Garden of Song Opera. Amy continues her drive to grow wider and younger audiences to opera.

'Feed Your Head' with butter instead at Sparkle Theatricals in St. Paul

Cast of Feed Your Head, captured by Chris McDuffie photography

I didn’t know what to expect from Feed your Head at Sparkle Theatricals but I knew the play would have something to do with butter and lots of it. Don’t let the isolated building by the side of the road intimidate you. This is a shared space with Uptop Films, a video production space in St. Paul, and this is Sparkle Theatricals’ sixth-consecutive show.  It's written by J.J. Kaiser and directed by CJ Renner. Immersive in nature, this production will have you moving and following actors. It's inspired by Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Tea Party.

 Steve Paul Carlson(above) caputured by Chris McDuffie Photography
This funny show is the writer and director's whimsical take on the modern workplace. It starts with an HR type orientation, led by Bunny, (Clara Kennedy) the guide, instructing guests to undertake the impossible feat of lining and sorting themselves according to size and alphabetical name.

After you're all lined up, the fun really starts after a short video, when you're led into a factory setting for a very, dairy hands-on experience. As cheesy as this may sound the set is very convincing and will probably remind you of field trips taken as a kid. You’ll even walk away with a souvenir picture in a form of text or email.

After the tour of the factory, shuffle to another room where you'll find overly enthusiastic Best Butter employees; Hatter (Dominic Rodgers), Harry (Christine Pietz), and Mousey (Ella Dierberger) building butter sculptures, and typing anxiously on old school typewriters while poking fun at you, the new employees. But it's all in good fun. 

Next, sleight of hand master, Steve Paul Carlson is masterful in his role as "the accountant".  He'll have you laughing with his accountancy puns and explanations in buttery financial forecasts all while dazzling you with sleight of hand tricks like the false shuffle, or the disappearing coin act.  Steve Paul Carlson has been performing for nearly 40 years and if there is anyone who can make accounting funny it is he.

There is one final experience in this buttery tour where you'll have a chance to taste the butter of Best Butter Company on fine toasted bread.

Come immerse yourself in this tospy turvy production of the Best Butter Company, you'll be happy you did.

The Show runs October 31st thru November 2nd, three times nightly (6:30), (8:00), and (9:30) for more info and to buy tickets click here

Monday, October 28, 2019

TCHF Brings Shrieking Harpies, a Trio that Aims to Scare

The Shrieking Harpies brings musical improv to the Twin Cities Horror Festival at Southern Theater located in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis.  This musical improv trio has been together for 10 years and features Lizzie Gardner, Taj Ruler, Hannah Wydeven, and Justin Nellis on the keys. 
At the top of the show the group takes suggestions for a title from the audience. The show I saw was called Slasher.
Following musical improv structure, the characters repeat a chorus by singing “Ketchup, pasta sauce, drip, drip, drip,” while miming gestures in the introduction to the scene.
Daryl, (Lizzie Gardner) is an unusual character because he can paint his way out of a situation. He sets up his easel and takes out an imaginary paint brush. Once the group has their unusual character, they’re able play ‘the game’ by adding depth to the scene and backing up like a photographer might to create a larger world view of the story.
At one point Daryl sees two stoners creeping up to his pizza parlar. Soon after, the stoners discover their friend has been killed in the stockroom freezer and they immediately accuse Daryl.
Ragatelli (Hannah Wydeven), is the boss who calls to check up on Daryl and make sure he’s making pizzas in a timely fashion. Daryl is obviously nervous due to the ensuing events of the night, and it shows as he does his best  answers his boss' questions.
The group is able to continue this slasher-like scenario because the characters they develop are highly believable, and although they are exaggerated, they portray the scenario realistically. They bring in sequences that involve an imaginary stove or a grease fire and they repeat them in order to heighten the scene in its present moment.
Eventually, the audience is aware that Ragatelli is a culprit in the murders.  As the story reaches its conclusion, the performance ends with the players returning back to the verse-chorus “ketchup, pasta sauce, drip drip drip.”
Each night will showcase a different story, so come and see where Shrieking Harpies will take their next plot.
Wednesday, 10/30 - 11:30PM, Saturday, 11/2- 2:30 PM Purchase tickets HERE 

Incarnate, a Cult Play at TCHF

Zach Morgan (left) Lauren Anderson (right) Photo by Ryan Lear
Nissa Nordland Morgan’s play Incarnate is a cult favorite at Twin Cities Horror Fest at The Southern Theater located in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. “Welcome to the Oasis” is a line you’ll hear throughout the performance and it may remind you of Ready Player One (the movie).

The Oasis is set in Northern Minnesota, a place where Marigold, (Lauren Anderson)  ensures her followers they’ll find their personal truth under Caretaker Dan (Zach Morgan). Lauren’s booming voice fills any auditorium.  You can find her performing improv at Brave New Workshop which is located in Downtown, Minneapolis.

The play points out many truths of cults in a structured format, opening with a prerecorded film with each of the characters affirming their cult membership. Next comes the introduction to caretaker Dan, followed by doubts from various followers whereby Dan does his best to reaffirm their faith. It's followed by the congregations’ expectation for the harvest season, with an introduction to Rose (Tara Lucchino), a new seed, and how Rose’s isolation and solitude make her the perfect candidate for an arranged marriage to Caretaker Dan.

The audience is given a program by Chuck (Lane Flaten) with songs and asked to follow along, making it seem as if you are not merely an observer but a participant in the congregation. The scene will have you asking ‘What did I get myself into?’ Its much like a walk although a new church or religion.

At one point, the audience or new seeds are invited by actors to come on a stage and receive a communion where caretaker Dan or Marigold streak your forehead with dirt from a potted plant.
Come and immerse yourself in this drama.

tickets at

Tuesday, 10/29 - 8:30PM, Thursday, 10/31 - 11:30PM, Sunday, 11/03 - 4:00PM


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