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Minneapolis/St. Paul Spotlight: June 2011

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A scene from 5th Avenue Theatre's Guys and Dolls
(© Chris Bennion)
In June summer finally arrives in the Twin Cities, accompanied by a number of theatrical favorites. In collaboration with Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre, St. Paul's Ordway Theater presents Guys and Dolls (June 15-26). With music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, the musical brings together gamblers, showgirls, and Salvation Army officers amidst the colorful background of Damon Runyon's New York.

Rapture unforeseen is imminent at the Guthrie's production of Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, directed by Joe Dowling (June 18 - August 28). The Guthrie's production features Twin Cities performers Robert O. Berdahl and Christina Baldwin as Captain Corcoran and Little Buttercup joined by Constantine Germanacos, Seri Johnson, Heather Lindell, Jason Simon, J. Tyler Whitmer, Robb McKindles, and Peter Thomson. Guthrie favorite Barbara Bryne hops aboard for a special appearance as Queen Victoria.

This year's University of Minnesota Showboat features The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, directed by Peter Moore and Vern Sutton (June 17-August 27). This chilling tale of revenge, murder and tasty meat pies is based on the original 1846 penny-dreadful tale by George Dibdin Pitt, and tells the tale of Sweeney Todd, who seeks revenge for the crimes committed against him. The Minneapolis Musical Theatre presents the area premiere of the hilarious musical comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (June 10-26), directed by Alan Sorenson and based on the film by Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning, with book by Jeffrey Lane and music and lyrics by David Yazbek. The Riviera is not big enough for two crafty con artists whose attempts to one-up each other leads to a winner-take-all wager over the fortunes of a naïve American soap heiress.

The Gonzo Group Theatre presents a much darker duo in a production of Jean Genet's The Maids (June 16-25), running at St. Paul's Gremlin Theatre. Park Square Theater presents Joseph Goodrich's Panic (June 10-July 10), winner of the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Play. This Hitchcock-style thriller is set in Paris, 1963. Director Henry Lockwood has come to La Ville-Lumière for the premiere of his new film, only to discover the real-life version of the dark places, desperate women, power-hungry men, and murders that fill his scripts.

Psychiatry and personal ads complicate the lives and loves of bisexual Bruce and homophobic Prudence in Theatre in the Round's production of Christopher Durang's popular screwball comedy Beyond Therapy (June 3 - 26). If your taste for farce takes a more musical turn, come revel in the zany madness of Jungle Theatre's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum directed by John Command (June 10-July 31). With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, the show infuses Plautus with music, slapstick, and other shenanigans.

The original musical comedy, Got It Made by Maureen Kane Berg and Thomas C. Berg, continues its run at the Pillsbury House Theatre until June 12. The show brings in a wide variety of musical styles from Broadway-style tunes to reggae to tell the story of Molly Merriweather and her attempts to make a mark in real estate, complete with romance, identity theft, office politics, and corporate scandal.

At St. Paul's Lowry Lab Theatre until June 5 is British playwright Andrew Bliss's satire, Suburban Redux, a witty satire that turns the average coming-out-of-the-closet story on its head. Magic Lantern Puppet Theater presents Children and Other Optical Illusions at Dreamland Arts (June 17-19). Darkly humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, this innovative show created and directed by Anne Sawyer Aitch combines live actors, puppetry, stop-motion animation and live-feed video to depict two couples' roller-coaster experiences with pregnancy and miscarriage.

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