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Minneapolis/St. Paul Spotlight: July 2009

On the Fringe

By New York City
Funny Bunny in The Underpants Show
at the 2008 Lili's Burlesque Revue
(© Scott Pakudaitis)
Funny Bunny in The Underpants Show
at the 2008 Lili's Burlesque Revue
(© Scott Pakudaitis)
The 16th Annual Minnesota Fringe Festival begins at the very end of the month (July 30 - August 8) and takes place all over the Twin Cities. This summer theater extravaganza lasts a little over a week and features over 150 productions. Unlike many fringe festivals, the Minnesota Fringe is not juried; rather, participants are chosen by a random lottery. This year's list of shows includes titles such as Rumspringa the Musical, Burning Man and Reverand Nuge, Horace Greeley the Lesser, Angelina Jolie is a Zionist Whore! Or Plan 9 from Baghdad, Boobs, Crescendo, and Lily's Burlesque Revue, which is returning for a second year at the Fringe.

The Guthrie pays tribute to the great Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald with the new bio-musical Ella starring Tina Fabrique (July 21 - September 6). Originally titled Ella - Off the Record, this musical portrait features more than twenty of Fitzgerald's signature songs including "That Old Black Magic." The Guthrie also presents a new production of J.B. Priestley's 1938 Farce When We Are Married (July 4 - August 30). Best known for his play An Inspector Calls, Priestley challenges Edwardian morality and the entire institution of marriage in this classic comedy.

Theatre in the Round also has a classic comedy from the 30s with their production of Room Service (July 3 - August 2), about a group of 19 hungry actors holed-up in a midtown New York City hotel room. Relatively new company Girl Friday Productions presents Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth at the Minneapolis Theater Garage (July 2 - 25). The mythic merges with the domestic in this 1942 classic about the Antrobus family of suburban New Jersey. Pat O'Brien's Vanity Theatrics presents Glen Berger's Underneath the Lintel about a librarian who discovers a book that is 123 years overdue (Mixed Blood Theater, July 1 -25).

Illusion theatre hosts a variety of new plays in Downtown Minneapolis this month with the 22nd annual Fresh Ink Series (July 9 - 26). As part of the Series, playwright Allison Moore has penned an adaptation of Willa Cather's novel My Antonia (July 9 - 12); Jenna Zark's A Great Miracle Happened Here (July 16 - 19) explores what happens when the 18 year old son of a Midwestern couple leaves home to join the Israeli army; and writer-director Marion McClinton has staged his adaptation of Nobel laureate Toni Morrison's novel Jazz (July 23 - 26).

The Bryant Lake Bowl presents Brenna Jones' Dawn's Inferno: A Divine Comedy (July 9 - 25). Based on Dante's Inferno, the play takes place at a high school reunion. Finally, St. Paul's SteppingStone Theatre explores the eternal conflict of man versus machine in The Nightingale (July 10 - August 2), about an Emperor who replaces his beloved Nightingale with a mechanical version, only to find there is no substitute for the real thing.


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