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Revolting children rock the house in ‘Matilda’
- Author Roald Dahl is known for creating wildly eccentric children’s stories with dark humor, bizarre plots and reprehensible adult characters. That is on full display in the musical version of his 1988 book Matilda that opened on Thursday night (March 5) at the Playhouse Family Theatre.
‘The Arsonists’ confronts a world already on fire
Questionable truth, class division and manufactured fear have become overwhelming political themes of the day, but while the endless arguments and devious power plays are troubling, the lessons from these pointed battles can also produce great art. Anyone exhausted by the national scandals played out on television, over Twitter and in the daily newspaper should probably avoid the Duluth Playhouse production of The Arsonists.
For the rest: Grab a seat at the dining room table, light up a smoke and watch the city burn.
‘Steel Magnolias’ offers laughter, tears
- As soon as I saw the cast that director Julie Ahasay had assembled for Steel Magnolias, I looked forward to the production that opened Thursday night at the NorShor Theatre. I was eager to see what those six actresses would do with these parts and I was not disappointed, because each breathes fresh life into these familiar characters.
‘Wizard of Oz’ rules with lion and munchkins and dog (oh my!)
- The Wizard of Oz is hardwired into our psyches. When we hear “Yellow Brick Road,” half of us are thinking, “OK, Dorothy, walk to the painted backdrop, turn, wave, and then fade to the second commercial break.” So think how high the bar was set when the stage version of The Wizard of Oz opened Thursday night (Dec. 5) at the NorShor Theatre.
‘Dracula’ is back to horror basics at the Underground
- The Underground Theatre entered the October country as Dracula crept out of his crypt to creep out Thursday’s opening night audience. Steven Dietz’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel avoids the weirdness afflicting most recent versions of the Count (Dracula is really Judas. What?!), to get back to the basics and remind us why Dracula is the classic Gothic horror story.
‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe’ musical revue creates a concert-like atmosphere
- Smokey Joe’s Cafe, which opened Thursday night (9/19) at the NorShor Theatre, is a musical revue, which is like a jukebox musical only without a plot. Or characters. Just talented musicians, singers, and dancers making for an enjoyable evening of song. Director-choreographer Michael Matthew Ferrell certainly makes the most of the opportunities afforded by a musical revue. He cuts songs, moves songs and uses “Yakety Yak” and “Charlie Brown” to end intermission with the audience shouting out the refrains.
THE PLAYHOUSE IN THE NEWS (PRINT)
For Duluth artists and entertainers, the internet is their venue (4-2-2020)
- Amber Burns is among the people tuning in to watch Neff’s work. But the actor-choreographer isn’t just a content consumer; she’s adding to the mix. Burns, through her work at the Duluth Playhouse, has been offering virtual tap dance lessons, workouts and dance-alongs.
Duluth Playhouse director steps down after 20 years boosting area art scene (2-19-2020)
Christine Gradl Seitz is stepping down from her position as executive and artistic director of Duluth Playhouse after 20 years helming the community theater that saw the local arts scene transform. As leader of the nonprofit, which is more than a century old, Seitz oversaw the restoration of the historic NorShor Theatre downtown. After eight years and $30 million, the revamped 630-seat venue opened in February 2018.
Best Best: Dark Folk, Celebrities Dancing, Star-Gazing (2-13-2020)
- In 1934, a screwball comedy starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable won all the major Academy Awards, starting with Best Adaptation and ending with Best Picture.
Duluth Playhouse adds new artistic director (1-20-2020)
- The Duluth Playhouse’s new hire has been an artist in residence at the oldest arts organization in Arizona, is a member of the Lincoln Center Theatre’s Directors Lab and was once described by a Tony Award nominee as “detail-oriented” and “self-motivated,” according to a news release.
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