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Minneapolis/St. Paul Spotlight: July 2010

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Ricardo Antonio Chavira stars in
A Streetcar Named Desire
(© Gregory Costanzo)
This month, Ricardo Antonio Chavira, most notable for playing the role of Carlos Solis on ABC's Desperate Housewives stars as Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' classic American play, A Streetcar Named Desire at the Guthrie (July 3 - August 22). Gretchen Egolf of NBC's Law & Order: SVU plays desperately homeless widow Blanche DuBois in this sweaty, pulsating new production helmed by Guthrie associate artistic director John Miller-Stephany.

Hennepin Stages hosts Bye Bye Liver: The Twin Cities' Drinking Play. This 75-minutes show features sketch comedy and drinking games for the whole audience. Also known as The Chicago Drinking Play and The Milwaukee Play in those respective locales, this Minnesota-specific version has been retooled with local comedy talent.

July also marks the return of the annual Fresh Ink Series at Illusion Theater (July 8 - 25). Marion McClinton's Beauty is a Rare Thing, about the resiliency of the African-American spirit, opens the series (July 8 - 11). This year's Fresh Ink also includes Fringe Festival favorite 2 Sugars, Room for Cream (July 15 - 18) and Madde Gibba's solo piece Confessions From the Convent which offers up the honest-to-God truth about Catholic school girls in the 21st century (July 22 - 25).

What summer would be complete without free outdoor productions of Shakespeare's classic, A Midsummer Night's Dream? Twin Cities residents have two productions from which to choose this year. The Strange Capers play Powderhorn Park (July 10 - August 1). The Upright Egg Theatre Company has a nomadic production, playing Newell Park in St. Paul (July 2 - 3) and Matthews Park in Minneapolis (July 9 - 10).

Young Artists Initiative presents Stephen Sondheim's terrifying musical Sweeney Todd (The Gremlin Theatre, July 8 - 18), about a London serial killer hell-bent on revenge. In the latter half of the month, you can experience a musicalized maritime disaster with Maury Yeston's Tony Award-winning Titanic (Burnsville Performing Arts Center, July 15 - 31).

Audiences looking for cheerier musical fare can find it with Minnetonka Theatre's production of The Drowsy Chaperone (July 16 - August 7). This meta-musical begins when a musical theater fanatic puts on the original cast recording of his favorite 1928 musical and the show bursts forth onto the stage. Also, Theatre in the Round puts up a new production of Neil Simon's very first play, Come Blow Your Horn (July 2 - August 1).

For one night only, Minnesota Public Radio hosts its wildly-popular Family Movie Party, this time with a focus on the work of Laurel & Hardy (Fitzgerald Theater, July 24). Join A Prairie Home Companion's sound effects man Tom Keith and Theater Organ Master Mike Grandchamp as they create music and sound accompaniment to four of Laurel & Hardy's classic silent films. Finally, SteppingStone Theatre presents the return of The Stinky Cheese Man, a perennial favorite based on the popular children's book by Jon Scieszka.

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