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Minneapolis/St. Paul Spotlight: August 2010

The Boys of Summer logo
Colman Domingo and Forrest McClendon
in The Scottsboro Boys
(© Carol Rosegg)
This month, the Guthrie hosts the new Broadway-bound musical The Scottsboro Boys (through September 25). Susan Stroman directs this final collaboration between Broadway legends John Kander and Fred Ebb. The story is based on the 1931 "Scottsboro rape case" in which nine black defendants were accused of raping two white women in Alabama. The case eventually led to two landmark Supreme Court decisions establishing the right of effective counsel for all criminal defendants. Ten cast members from the recent world premiere Off Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre play in this limited engagement of The Scottsboro Boys before it begins previews at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre on October 7.

August also means that for ten crazy days, the Twin Cities will be taken over by the 2010 Minnesota Fringe Festival (August 5 - 15), featuring 169 shows selected at random to perform at various locations around town. Notable titles this year include A Nice Guy's Guide to Awkward Sex, Communopoly, FW: RE: Mom Update, and The Last Straight Man in Theatre.

The national tour of Wicked returns to the Orpheum by popular demand (August 11 - September 19). Based on Gregory Maguire's eponymous novel, Wicked retells L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz from the perspective of Elphaba (a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the West). Wicked is sure to be a hot topic in Whitney Rhodes and Josh Campbell's spoof cabaret, Where's My Tony? (Hennepin Stages, August 9). Billed as "The Awards Show you Really Want to See," the piece rejects the traditional Tony categories like "Best Score" and "Best Actor" in favor of more original awards like "Worst Title for a Musical Ever" and "Best Musical That Has Absolutely No Original Music In It." Campbell and Rhodes, along with five other Twin Cities actors will perform medleys from Phantom of the Opera, Jersey Boys, and of course Wicked.

The Ordway Center for the Arts presents Lee Breuer and Bob Telson's The Gospel at Colonus (August 5 - 11). Featuring the sounds of Blind Boys of Alabama, the Legendary Soul Stirrers, and The Steeles, The Gospel at Colonus retells Sophocles' classic Oedipus at Colonus through the medium of modern gospel.

For two nights only, Hollywood and New York City-based actors with ties to Minnesota return to tell their personal stories on stage at the Pillsbury House Theatre in Twin Cities Theater Stories (August 6 - 7). Beloved Minnesota storyteller Kevin Kling returns to the Open Eye Theatre for Folks and Heroes, an new evening of story, song, and image with his favorite collaborators Simone Perrin, Michael Sommers, and Jacqueline Ultan (August 11 - 17).

Finally, after years of audience requests, the popular musical revue Always and Forever returns to the Illusion Theater (August 20 - October 3. Set in a 1970s urban barbershop, Always and Forever features classic 60s and 70s R&B hits like "Can't Get Enough of Your Love," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," and "When a Man Loves a Woman."

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