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Minneapolis/St. Paul Spotlight: June 2009

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Richard Daly, Kristine Holmgren,
and Adam Dielschneider in The Last Cyclist
(© Lou Michaels)
The Twin Cities will host a variety of new and innovative plays this June. An astoundingly large fellowship of theater companies including Blank Slate Theater and the St. Paul JCC have come together to produce the U.S. premiere of The Last Cyclist (Various Locations, June 5 - 20). Written by Jewish concentration camp inmates at Theresienstadt, The Last Cyclist is an absurdist allegory about "cyclists" being the cause of all of society's woes. Originally by Karel Svenk, this version has been adapted into English by scholar Naomi Patz. Making its world premiere is Tennessee Williams' The Enemy: Time (Gremlin Theatre, June 13 - 28). This never-before-performed one-act was Williams' inspiration for Sweet Bird of Youth, and is being produced in Association with the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, and will be performed as part of the festival on Cape Cod this coming September.

As we head into the summer months, let's hope there's no water shortage in St. Paul. Over at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, they're putting up a production of Singin' in the Rain (June 16 - 28) with real water on stage...500 gallons per performance according to director/choreographer James Rocco. Later in the month, Ordway hosts Mu Performing Arts' production of Flower Drum Song (June 27 - July 12), using the new adaptation of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical by acclaimed playwright David Henry Hwang.

June keeps singing with Minneapolis Musical Theatre's production of Zanna, Don't (Illusion Theater, June 5 - 21), a quirky musical fairytale about a high school where all of the students are gay, except one boy and one girl who fall in love and face heterophobic prejudice at every turn. Meanwhile, the Spotlight Musical Theatre Awards recognizing achievement in High School Theatre will be held a few blocks up Hennepin Avenue at the Orpheum (June 14); that sure-to-be-fun night will be followed by the national tour of A Chorus Line, also performing at the Orpheum (June 16 - 21).

Coming off of their monumental celebration of Tony Kushner, the Guthrie, in collaboration with Live Action Set, presents My Father's Bookshelf (June 18 - 28), a tragic comedy about dementia. To create this world premiere work, the company collaborated with members of the Minnesota Alzheimer's community. The Jungle Theater presents Donald Margulies' Shipwrecked! An Entertainment (through June 28), which features flying wombats, giant sea turtles, and a monstrous man-eating octopus.

Academy Award-nominated actor Chazz Palminteri brings his critically-acclaimed play, A Bronx Tale to the State Theatre (June 2 - 7). This one-man-show tells the story of a young boy seduced by organized crime in the Bronx section of New York City circa 1960. Palminteri recently completed a Broadway revival of A Bronx Tale and has been touring the country ever since. Youth Performance Company offers insight into the teenage male mind with The BoyShow (Bryant Lake Bowl, June 6 - 16). Also at Bryant Lake Bowl is Colleen Kruse in her solo show Thirty Days in Frogtown (June 11 - 19) based on her real-life experience as a single mom being courted by a very wealthy foreign banker.

Finally, if you're looking for a good Agatha Christie mystery, look no further than Theatre in the Round, where they are presenting The Unexpected Guest (through June 21). With an abusive patriarch, an illicit love affair, and a very disturbed young man, this one has it the Round!


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